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.

Racemans Track

Saturday 7th of August 2021, 09:00 AM (1 week from now)

Contact: John Steel | john.steel@botany.otago.ac.nz | 021 2133170

The last field trip of the winter is a trip to the Racemans Track at Whare flat, 20 minutes south of Dunedin. This is a chance to become familiar with using the Dunedin Fern Key to identify some of our local ferns. It will also provide an opportunity to work on those groups, the mosses, liverworts, and hornworts, plants which so enrich our environment yet are largely ignored. A checklist of species for the area will be provided and with the extra pairs of eyes hopefully added to. The start (and end) of the track involves crossing the Silverstream weir so if wet feet are to be avoided, boots will be needed. If water flow is high the start of the McLeans Falls track may be taken as far as the swing bridge which will avoid wet feet, but this track is not in a good state at the moment and its condition will be assessed nearer the time. Leave from Botany Department car park at 9.00 a.m.

Seaweeds at the doorstep: the diversity of coastal habitats and the species that are found in the Otago region

Wednesday 11th of August 2021, 05:20 AM (2 weeks from now)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein

This talk will be held via zoom. A link to the meeting will be sent to members a few days before.

Speaker: Wendy Nelson. The Otago region has a great diversity of marine habitats and about 300 species of macroalgae have been reported from the region. I will talk about the seaweed flora of Otago – the major habitat forming species as well as some of the less well known members - and some of the human induced changes and stressors that are influencing native seaweed communities.

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

Wednesday 8th of September 2021, 06:00 AM (1 month from now)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein

Speaker: Heidi M. Meudt, Researcher Botany, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Location: Archway 2, 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.

Field trip to Portobello QEII Covenant

Saturday 25th of September 2021, 09:00 AM (2 months from now)

Contact: David Lyttle | djlyttle@gmail.com | (03) 454 5470

We have been invited to visit the QEII Covenant on the property of Peter and Jeannie Hayden at Portobello on the Otago Peninsula. The Covenant encompasses a mix of regenerating natives (it is approx. 35 years since sheep were excluded), with broadleaf species pushing up among mainly kanuka forest. Peter has a great network of tracks that take you through various ages and stages of Peninsula vegetation. The other part of the property has a mix of native and exotic species planted over last 25-30 years by a previous owner. Over the last 5 years Peter and Jeannie have been planting additional fruit trees, berry bushes and permaculture garden plots on the balance of the 22 hectare property. They are now actively involved in predator and weed control and 14 rifleman boxes were placed around property in 2020 to encourage these rare birds to breed locally. There are interesting outcrops and boulder banks as well that have a diverse assemblage of bryophytes and lichens. We will meet at the Botany Department carpark at 9.00 and travel to Portobello. Bring lunch, warm clothing, rain gear and suitable footwear. Rain day option 26th September.

Full day field trip to Herbert Forest

Saturday 16th of October 2021, 09:00 AM (2 months from now)

Contact: John Barkla | mjbarkla@xtra.co.nz | 027 362 7917

Herbert Forest is a predominantly exotic plantation forest in north Otago managed by Blakely Pacific Limited. Within its matrix, however, are significant native forest remnants that include some magnificent podocarp stands. We will do a loop track of about 10 km that links together these varied and interesting blocks of native forest. The tracks are well maintained by the North Otago Tramping & Mountaineering Club, but be prepared for numerous stream crossings. Meet at Botany Department carpark at 9am.

Modelling Niches and Phylogeny in Celmisiinae (Asteraceae)

Wednesday 10th of November 2021, 05:20 AM (3 months from now)

Contact: Lydia Turley

Speaker: Duncan Nicol. This research is part of ongoing systematic, biogeographic, and ecological studies aiming to deepen the understanding of biodiversity. The subtribe Celmisiinae Saldivia (Asteraceae: Astereae) is a hypothesis of relationships between a number of unresolved genera in the Tasman region and contains ca. 159 species. These genera have a range from New Guinea through Australia and New Zealand. Celmisiinae has a number of interesting features making it useful as a study group to investigate questions with implications for biodiversity more broadly.