Restoration of ecosystems and pest control is a big focus in Taranaki. Riparian zones are an area with little knowledge of the invertebrates present. These zones adjacent to freshwater are typically monitored in terms of water quality. What we don’t know is how important are they for the terrestrial fauna. Although we know the importance of invertebrates in ecosystems and functioning such as pollination, soil formation, productivity, decomposition and population regulation as well as a vital food source for many native species we still don’t tend to monitor invertebrate biodiversity.

The 'Fish Food Fringes' project sees the development of a simple monitoring package targeted around invertebrates as a measure of successful restoration and pest control in riparian areas.

The aim is to do this using a participatory programme that involves local schools. The goal is to develop simple techniques for invertebrate monitoring of areas that are identified as significant / important in the Restore Taranaki initiative, and could be monitored by schools (or community groups) elsewhere. Facilitating the participation of high school students in these monitoring activities will provide students with the opportunity to learn several valuable skills, get a taste of science at a higher level, and see how knowledge of biology can partner with electronics and IT technologies to provide invaluable information about our natural world.