Future Events

Talks are held at the Zoology Benham Building, 346 Great King Street, behind the Zoology car park by the Captain Cook Hotel. Use the main entrance of the Benham Building to get in and go to the Benham Seminar Room, Rm. 215, 2nd floor. Please be prompt as we have to hold the door open.

Trips leave from the Department of Botany car park.

Petrified Forests of Zealandia

Wednesday 10th of February 2021, 05:20 PM (2 months from now)

Contact: Matt Larcombe | matt.larcombe@otago.ac.nz | 027 919 9709

Petrified Forests of Zealandia. Speaker: Mathew Vanner, Department of Geology. This talk explores the history of Zealandia’s forest tree flora from a palaeontological perspective. Forests are our oldest and most persistent ecosystems and New Zealand, the Chathams and Auckland Islands have all yielded identifiable fossil wood from a range of ages and families. The fossils reveal an unbroken line of conifers, including Araucariaceae and Podocarpaceae, from the Jurassic (~170 Ma) to the Miocene (~10 Ma). New records of angiosperms, (Araliaceae, Myrtaceae, and Legumes), appear in the Eocene (~50 Ma) and other taxa (Casuarinaceae) disappear from New Zealand in the Miocene. Wood characters can be used to investigate palaeoclimate and show when key features developed in New Zealand lineages. My talk illustrates the exquisite preservation of fossil wood, the range of information that can be derived from wood features, and the history of many of the distinctive trees currently growing in New Zealand.

Weekend Field Trip to the Oteake Conservation Park

Friday 12th of February 2021, 06:00 PM (2 months from now)

Contact: David Lyttle | djl1yttle@gmail.com | (03) 454 54750

Weekend Field Trip to the Oteake Conservation Park. We plan to stay at the DOC Homestead Camp Site, Hawkdun Runs Road. The camp site has stunning views of the Hawkdun Range. The facilities are basic so you will need to bring a tent. You are responsible for providing your own food but plan to bring a meal for Saturday evening to share with the group. There are a number of tracks accessible from the Homestead Camp Site giving access to the Hawkdun Range, the St Bathans Range and the East and West branches of the Manuherikia River. The vegetation of the Oteake Conservation Park is diverse and very interesting especially in the alpine zone. There are well-developed screes which have their own specialised flora and a number of species reach their southern limit in the region. Final details will depend on the number of people attending and the number of 4WD vehicles available. We will leave Dunedin on Friday evening and return Sunday afternoon. If you wish to go on this trip please contact David Lyttle (03) 454 5470 email djl1yttle@gmail.com

End Peak wetlands

Wednesday 10th of March 2021, 05:00 PM (3 months from now)

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

End Peak wetlands. Speaker: Cara-Lisa Schloots, Masters student, Botany Department. The End Peak wetland complex is situated within the Mahu Whenua covenants near Wanaka at approximately 1800 m a.s.l. in a south facing basin. It has a variety of vegetation types including uncommon species and a number of plants not typically found at such high altitudes. It is a fine example of a southern hemisphere patterned wetland, and a unique system about which very little is known. My Masters project was carried out over the five months of summer 2018-19 when the wetland complex was free of snow. Cameras were set up at six locations to record water level throughout the growing season from mid-December 2018 until mid-May 2019. Water level patterns were found to vary largely within the wetland complex, although some seasonal changes were observed across all sites. Transects were used to investigate standing vegetation and the seed bank. Plant assemblages also varied across the wetland, although some species were present at all locations. These patterns were related to water level regimes at respective sites. From this we can see that even relatively small wetland areas can contain a remarkable variety of environments and communities, and it is unlikely that such an area will respond as one unit to the climatic changes that are taking place. There will be specific areas and communities within the system which are more threatened, in particular those sites which currently experience more stable conditions and are not adapted to as extreme environmental fluctuations.

Weekend Field Trip to Mahu Whenua

Saturday 27th of March 2021, 07:00 AM (3 months from now)

Contact: Matt Larcombe | matt.larcombe@otago.ac.nz | 027 919 9709

27-28th March 2021: Weekend Field Trip to Mahu Whenua. This trip will allow us to explore the flora of a spectacular part of Central Otago not typically accessible to the public. The Mahu Whenua landscape is in the midst of a huge transformation from farmland to conservation land and supports a number of interesting remnant and transitional vegetation types as well as a many rare species including Olearia lineata, Alepis flavida, Sonchus novae-zelandiae, Pachycladon cheesemanii, Carmichaelia crassicaulis ssp. crassicaulis, Azorella exigua, Carex lachenalii ssp. parkeri and Carex enysii. There will be a number of options associated with this trip which will suit all interests and abilities. We will depart Dunedin at 07:00 on Saturday, arriving at the hut where we will have lunch at ~13:30. In the afternoon we will explore the beech forest and shrublands up Highland Creek. Depending on interest a group may also head up above the bushline.

Sunday options include:

  • remaining at Highland Creek hut to continue exploring that area,
  • heading up the expansive Motatapu Valley via 4WD to explore beech patches, tussock and shrublands,
  • and visiting a spectacular high alpine patterned wetland. This last option includes helicopter flights, which will need to be paid for in advance. There will be a maximum of four people + guide (Cara-Lisa) and the cost will be $260 for the return flight.

We will be leaving at 13:00 and will stop for afternoon tea in Alexandra on our way back to Dunedin. The trip will be taking a maximum of 20 people (you must be a BSO member). You will need to provide your own breakfast, lunch and snacks. Dinner will be a potluck/BBQ. We will be camping next to a hut with toilet and cooking facilities, so you will need to BYO sleeping arrangements (tent/mat/bag etc.). Please register your interest with Matt Larcombe (matt.larcombe@otago.ac.nz, 027 919 9709) by the 22nd March.

Quoin Point

Saturday 10th of April 2021, 08:30 AM (4 months from now)

Contact: Robyn Bridges | robyn.j.bridges@gmail.com | (03) 472 7330 / 021 235 8997

Quoin Point. This trip offers another opportunity (a previous field trip has been to the mouth of the Akatore River) to look at the distinctive plant communities defined as coastal turfs. These salt tolerant (halophytic) plants are made up of low growing (generally less than 50mm in height), herbs, sedges and grasses, and are well adapted to living in the exposed marine shoreline locations, like this one on the southern Otago coast. Contact Robyn Bridges 021 235 8997.