Humble galaxiids go global on web

Centre for Science Communication lecturer Dr Jenny Rock tries out a new website on galaxiids,...
Centre for Science Communication lecturer Dr Jenny Rock tries out a new website on galaxiids, created by her students. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
A galaxiid.
A galaxiid.

They are small, mostly unknown native fish but they are being championed by a group of Otago master's students.

Galaxiids are one of New Zealand's most threatened freshwater fish and Otago is home to some of more threatened, such as the lowland longjaw, found in North Otago and the Teviot galaxiid, in the tributaries around Lake Onslow.

To help increase public awareness of the fish and encourage people to take action to help save them, a website,, has been created by Otago University of Otago European ecology exchange master's student Olga Khomenko, with help from her science communication lecturer Dr Jenny Rock, Department of Conservation ecologist Lan Pham and her fellow science communication master's students.

Ms Khomenko used it as part of an experiment in creating a web platform using only freeware that required no programming skills.

The aim was to provide a central information resource for the public with links to primary resources.

''So few people know they are right underfoot as they are not easily visible. It's filling an information gap,'' Dr Rock said.

It also provided ideas people could do to help restore the galaxiids' habitat, she said.

The website was part of a project set by Dr Rock for all her master's students to raise awareness of the fish, although they all took different approaches in doing it.

Ms Khomenko, who was from the Ukraine, had returned to Europe and Dr Rock was now overseeing the website.

''We want to maintain it as a resource.''

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