9th Annual Geoff Baylis Lecture. Plant taxonomy: how can we tell if we're wrong?

Wednesday 15th of September 2010, 06:00 PM (13 years ago)

Contact: David Lyttle | djl1yttle@gmail.com | (03) 454 5470

The 9th Annual Geoff Baylis Lecture will be presented by by Prof. Philip Garnock-Jones, School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington. Plant taxonomy is practiced in many different ways by different taxonomists, but are there any unifying or general principles that can be applied? In this lecture, I'll look at the two main types of problems that taxonomists try to solvethe delimitation of species and the classification of those species into higher-ranked taxausing examples from groups I'm familiar with. For example, in Veronica, we have new taxonomic revisions of all the New Zealand groups, but we still don't understand the relationships of many of the species, especially among the shrubby hebes. Forty years ago, we had an outline by Lucy Moore of how the different groupings might be related to each other, a new Flora treatment that included a long list of species of uncertain status (e.g., Hebe biggarii), a suspicion that hebes hybridise more than is quite decent, and an almost complete list of chromosome numbers that suggested new understandings at species and higher ranks. Field work throughout New Zealand, new data from chemistry and genetics, and the framing of questions as explicit hypotheses have helped a group of us answer some of the questions, but many puzzles remain to keep the next generation of taxonomists busy. Lecture at 6 pm in Burns 1, with nibbles and drinks from 5:15 pm in the concourse outside the Castle lecture theatres