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.

Lichen Foray at Orokonui Ecosanctuary

Saturday 19th of June 2021, 10:00 AM (1 day from now)

Contact: Allison Knight | allison.knight.nz@gmail.com | 027487 8265

Lichens are clever fungi that have discovered agriculture. They are very long-lived and fruit all year round, so there's a good chance of getting up close and personal with some of Orokonui's ‘hidden in full view’ wildlife. We will start at the top of the Ecosanctuary and wend our way down to the bottom gate. Copies of Allison Knight's Lichens of New Zealand: An Introductory Illustrated Guide will be for sale at the desk. A hand lens or magnifying glass would be helpful for appreciating the amazingly diverse structures, and a camera could help capture the fine detail. Photos can be entered into the Orokonui Photo Challenge or used to extend the indoor displays. Bring food and drink if you intend to stay the whole day, or take advantage of the yummy food at the Horopito Cafe at the Sanctuary. A koha to help carry on the impressive work at the Ecosanctuary would be appreciated. The Botanical Society recommends that passengers contribute 10c/km to their carpool drivers - it's a 42 km round trip from the Botany Department. Meet at Botany Department carpark, corner of Great King and Union St, at 10 am to carpool or at 10.30 am at the Ecosanctuary. The foray will end at 2 pm. Please contact Allison Knight 027 4878265, email: allison.knight.nz@gmail.co if you need a ride or can help provide transport.

Almost an island - the remarkable flora and habitats of Banks Peninsula

Wednesday 14th of July 2021, 05:20 PM (3 weeks from now)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein

Speaker: Melissa Hutchison. Banks Peninsula comprises approximately 100,000 hectares of volcanic hill country, rising to a height of 920 metres above sea level at its highest point (Mt Herbert-Te Ahu Pātiki). The vegetation pattern is influenced by varied altitudinal and climatic gradients, which have contributed to a unique and diverse indigenous flora (>550 vascular plant species and >200 lichen species), including a number of endemic species. Prior to human arrival in New Zealand, the Peninsula was largely covered in indigenous forest, but this was rapidly cleared following European colonisation, and by 1920 was reduced to relatively small, isolated fragments, mainly on steep slopes at higher altitudes. Indigenous woody vegetation cover has increased in recent years through natural succession, with primary forest, secondary growth forest and shrubland now covering about 15% of the Peninsula. More than 2200 hectares of land is currently protected in Department of Conservation and Christchurch City Council reserves, with a further 1500 hectares on private land protected through conservation covenants (>120 covenants). The vegetation and flora of the Peninsula has been by well-documented by legendary botanist Hugh Wilson, but recent ecological surveys have shown that there are still exciting botanical (and lichenological) discoveries waiting to be found!

The vegetation of some local volcanic domes

Saturday 24th of July 2021, 09:00 AM (1 month from now)

Contact: Robyn Bridges | 0212358997

Mt Kettle (545m) and Mt Cutten (530m) are both phonolitic lava domes formed by the third eruption of the Dunedin volcanic massif. Mt Kettle is named after Charles Kettle, Otago’s first surveyor and Mt Cutten after William Cutten, MP and co-founder of the Otago Daily Times. The vegetation around both domes has been extensively modified by early twentieth century settlement when much of the area was divided up into small farms. In the early 1950s an area below Mt Kettle was dammed to form the Cedar Farm reservoir. A good patch of mature and regenerating cedars, Libocedrus bidwillii, can be seen from the summit of Mt Kettle. The trip will follow tracks recently restored by the WEA Walking Group. Meet 9am Botany Department carpark 464 Great King Street North. Rain day will be Sunday 25 July.

Racemans Track

Sunday 8th of August 2021, 09:00 AM (1 month 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 (1 month from now)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein

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 (2 months 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 (3 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 (3 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 (4 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.