Botanising in the Miocene

Wednesday 19th of March 2014, 05:20 PM (6 years ago)

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

Jennifer Bannister is a Research Associate in the Department of Botany. She studies plant macrofossils from sites in Otago and Southland in collaboration with Daphne Lees paleobotany research team in the Geology Department. A maar lake deposit of laminated diatomite has provided a wealth of evidence for a warm temperate/subtropical rainforest in Otago in the early Miocene. Fossil leaves, flowers, pollen, fruits and insects provide an amazing window into life in the surrounding rainforest. Jennifer prepares cuticles from fossil leaves and reference leaves and uses both cuticle and leaf features to help identify the fossils. New Zealand has some of the best preserved Cenozoic plant fossils in the world, and this research is yielding exciting results, with many papers and conference presentations. It is very impressive how much one retired member with a microscope, plenty of hydrogen peroxide and much ingenuity and perseverance can transform our understanding of the past. Jennifer gave the 2013 Lucy Cranwell Lecture to the Auckland Botanical Society. 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.