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.

A Vegetation Map for Dunedin City

Wednesday 9th of February 2022, 05:20 PM (2 weeks from now)

Contact: Taylor Davies-Colley | taylordaviescolley@gmail.com

Speaker: Richard Ewans, Biodiversity Advisor, Dunedin City Council.

In 2019, Dunedin City Council commissioned a vegetation cover map for Dunedin City which was completed in 2020. The map provides a detailed picture of vegetation cover across Dunedin City that compliments and enhances data sets from regional and national agencies. Together this information will be used to identify priority areas for ecological restoration and protection, and for district-wide monitoring of the extent of indigenous ecosystems to support improved outcomes for indigenous biodiversity in the city. I will give an overview of the map and its potential utility for a range of users, show how the map is an improvement on what was previously available, and describe some of the limitations to be aware of when interpreting or using the map and underlying data.

Tautuku weekend field trip

Saturday 12th of February 2022, 09:00 AM (3 weeks from now)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein

Join us for a weekend exploring the varied vegetation around the Lenz Reserve and Tautuku. The reserve is 550 hectares of conservation land owned and managed by Forest and Bird. There is something for everyone here: old growth podocarp forests, beech forests, peat bogs, and estuaries. In February the ratas should be flowering, the fungi popping up and, if it happens to drizzle, the lichens and bryophytes will be at their best. There are numerous adventurous tracks or easy paths to ramble along and, for the aquatically inclined, a kayak option to explore the estuary. Gavin White, trapper for the reserve, will be our guide for the weekend. Gavin will show us the hidden gems he had found over many years of working the reserve. There are options for all fitness levels: from well-formed tracks on level ground to rough routes up the hills. We will stay at the Forest and Bird Lodge on Saturday night (costs $22 pp). BYO bedding, towels, etc. (more information about the lodge here: https://www.forestandbird.org.nz/our-community/lodges/tautuku-forest-cabins). You will need to bring your own breakfast, lunch and snacks. Bring a dish to share at the Saturday night potluck dinner. Space in the lodge is limited to 14 people, so book your spot early! Contact Gretchen Brownstein brownsteing@landcareresearch.co.nz for more information and to book.

What’s cooking with kānuka?

Wednesday 9th of March 2022, 05:20 PM (1 month from now)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein

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’.

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

Wednesday 6th of April 2022, 06:00 PM (2 months from now)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein

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.