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Graphic illustrations tell rats’ tales

Finding ways to share research so it cuts through a cluttered media environment is an ongoing challenge. Researcher Dr Jo Carpenter has embraced a growing demand for graphic illustrations to tell stories, and has turned her most recent research findings visual.

Jo took a multi-pronged approach to communicating the results of a 2-year field study aimed at understanding what drives rat outbreaks in Aotearoa New Zealand’s forests. Initially she created a video abstract, and then collaborated with graphic illustrator Sarah Maybe Little to create a comic strip that could be shared on social media, published online, and shared with schools.

From the cover...

Ship rat comic: Immigration drives ship rat population irruptions in marginal high-elevation habitats in response to pulsed resources.

Ship rat comic 2: During a beech mast, there is abundant food and the rat population explodes.

Ship rat comic 3: Study set up near Lake Alabaster to find out what the rat population was up to.

Ship rat comic 4: Study results show that the best areas to target for rat control are the low-mid forest zones. Science like this helps us to direct mahi effectively so we can save taonga species.

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