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.