13th Annual Geoff Baylis Lecture, Peter Johnson "Long Leaves and Fat Roots"

Wednesday 10th of September 2014, 06:00 PM (6 years ago)

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

A talk by Peter Johnson, Landcare Research, Dunedin. Long Leaves and Fat Roots. The Baylis Lecture is held annually by the Botanical Society of Otago, in conjunction with the Botany Department. It is named in honour of Dr Geoff Baylis, the first Professor of Botany at the University of Otago. My "long leaves" plant stories will be about Rhopalostylis, Cordyline, Cyathea, Freycinetia, Phormium, Astelia, Collospermum, Xeronema, Pseudopanax, Arthropodium, Austroderia, Chionochloa and Aciphylla. A sample of 110 spp that help to comprise what I see as an overlooked iconic group of the New Zealand flora, from palms to tussocks, each with its own lifestyle and morphology as it relates to wind, youth, old age, the funnelling or shedding of rain and nutrients, and competition. My "fat roots" stories will concern the likes of Griselinia and Coprosma which Geoff Baylis clearly demonstrated to be dependent on mycorrhizal fungi, a finding applicable to most plants throughout the world. As one of Geoff's PhD students in the 1970s, I reckon it is time for me to revisit this topic, so at the time of writing this abstract I have some reagents on hand to help take a further look at root morphology and stained fungi. So who knows what other stories might come out of the soil; (or from aerial roots, or as beneficial fungi in leaf bases of nest epiphytes?) Watch this space. Castle 1, University of Otago (drinks and nibbles starting from 5.15 pm in the concourse)