Future Events

Talks are held at the Otago Pioneer Women’s Memorial Assn., Inc., Building, 362 Moray Place, Dunedin Central. Please be prompt as we have to hold the door open.

Trips leave from the Department of Botany car park.

Exploration of the functional significance of serrated leaves in New Zealand forest trees

Wednesday 8th of June 2022, 05:30 PM (1 week from now)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein | brownsteing@landcareresearch.co.nz

Speaker: Bill Lee (with Jennifer Bannister and Tammo Reichgelt).

Many NZ trees have toothed/serrated leaf margins and diverse explanations exist for their functional significance, mostly derived from overseas studies on deciduous species. We survey the leaves of forest trees in NZ, investigating the presence/absence of serrations and any associated leaf pores or glands. We also compare the environmental distribution of species with either entire or serrated leaves. Serrated leaves are associated with leaf-margin and leaf-lamina hydathodes, permanent openings generally larger than stomata that are frequently attached to major veins. They may also have colletors, complex glands that appear to secrete fluid. Our previous study in New Zealand showed that trees with serrated leaves were commonly associated with high rainfall areas. The strong association between marginal hydathodes and toothed leaves supports the suggestion that serrated leaves may have a key function in regulating internal plant water pressure on regularly saturated soils.

NOTE: New meeting location! Talks are now held at the Otago Pioneer Women’s Memorial Assn., Inc., Building, 362 Moray Place, Dunedin Central.

Bull Creek Bush

Saturday 18th of June 2022, 09:00 AM (3 weeks from now)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein | brownsteing@landcareresearch.co.nz

We will explore around Bull Creek and its small attractive estuary. Southern rata dominated forest extends down the creek to the coast. There is potential to find turf communities in the estuary. We will follow a walking track up the creek to a small waterfall before returning to the coast to explore the turf communities and other coastal surprises. Grade: ~2km of walking on a well formed track, expect mud and uneven ground. Bring water, lunch, and warm clothing. Depart Botany car park at 9 am returning mid-afternoon.

What’s cooking with kānuka?

Wednesday 10th of August 2022, 05:20 PM (2 months from now)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein | brownsteing@landcareresearch.co.nz

Speaker: Matt McGlone, Manaaki Whenua-Landcare Research.

As a successional tree species after fire or other disturbance, kānuka plays a key ecological role in the lowland and montane landscapes of New Zealand. It is also highly variable, with some populations contributing to lowland forest canopies 25 m or more in height and others consisting of scattered, low-growing, multi-stemmed shrubs on gravelly soils in frosty basins. Until recently, two species and several varieties were formally recognized - along with a swag of tag names. In 2014, a comprehensive revision of the kānuka group attempted to rationalize the situation and expanded the number of species to 10. The revision has had a mixed reception with many of the species proving difficult to confidently identify whether in the field or herbarium. In this talk I will present the results of a recently published genetic study of nearly 900 kānuka specimens spanning the entire geographic range of the complex and all the current species. I will discuss the implications for kānuka taxonomy but also for how we decide what is and what is not a ‘species’.

NOTE: New meeting location! Talks are now held at the Otago Pioneer Women’s Memorial Assn., Inc., Building, 362 Moray Place, Dunedin Central.

Geoff Baylis lecture: Taxonomic revision of native New Zealand forget-me-nots (Myosotis, Boraginaceae): An update

Wednesday 14th of September 2022, 06:00 PM (3 months from now)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein | brownsteing@landcareresearch.co.nz

Speaker: Heidi M. Meudt, Researcher Botany, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Location: TBA, 6pm (nibbles at the staff club from 5:15).

New Zealand is a main centre of Myosotis diversity, with about half of the c. 90 total species worldwide. Taxonomic revision is a high priority in New Zealand forget-me-nots (Myosotis, Boraginaceae), a genus in which most of the species are classified as Threatened, At Risk-Naturally Uncommon, or Data Deficient according to the New Zealand Threatened Classification System (NZTCS). The core focus of my research is to produce a taxonomic revision of all native southern hemisphere Myosotis species using analyses of morphological, pollen, genetic and field data. We aim to answer the following questions: How many native southern hemisphere Myosotis species are there? How can they be identified? Where are they found? What is their conservation status? Since starting on this project in 2010, my collaborators and I have revised two-thirds of the southern hemisphere species, with the remaining 20 species and tag-names currently under study. This research continues to contribute fundamental data to biodiversity knowledge and databases, and to the NZTCS assessment panel. For example, of the c. 1700 Myosotis specimens at Te Papa’s herbarium (WELT), almost 30% were collected since 2010, all are databased and imaged, many have been recently curated, and most are online.(https://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/search/myosotis%20AND%20image/results). In this talk, I will give a broad overview of the Myosotis research project results, discoveries, field work, and taxonomic implications to date. I will also highlight work-in-progress and future directions.

Biography: Heidi Meudt is a Researcher in Botany at Te Papa (since 2006). She completed her PhD in Botany in 2004 at the University of Texas at Austin, and was an Alexander von Humboldt Experienced Research Fellow at the University of Oldenburg, Germany from 2012-2014. Her main research focus is on the taxonomy and systematics of southern hemisphere plants, particularly Plantaginaceae and Boraginaceae. Her research integrates data from morphology, DNA, pollen, chromosomes and other sources to revise the taxonomy and better understand the geographical, morphological and phylogenetic patterns of plant species, especially New Zealand species radiations.