End Peak wetlands

Wednesday 10th of March 2021, 05:00 PM (1 month 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.