Past Events

Botanical Quiz - Cancelled

Wednesday 13th of October 2021, 05:20 PM (6 days ago)

Contact: Lydia Turley | lydiamturley@gmail.com

Cancelled as we cannot use the Benhan room at alert level 2

Instead of a talk, this month we are hosting a botanically themed quiz! It’s about more than just identifying plants, so brush up on your general (planty) knowledge and come have some fun. Come as a team, or join one on the night.

Full day field trip to Herbert Forest

Saturday 9th of October 2021, 09:00 AM (1 week ago)

Contact: John Barkla | mjbarkla@xtra.co.nz | 027 362 7917

Please note new date

Herbert Forest is a predominantly exotic plantation forest in north Otago managed by Blakely Pacific Limited. Within its matrix, however, are significant native forest remnants that include some magnificent podocarp stands. We will do a loop track of about 10 km that links together these varied and interesting blocks of native forest. The tracks are well maintained by the North Otago Tramping & Mountaineering Club, but be prepared for numerous stream crossings. Meet at Botany Department carpark at 9am.

Field trip to Portobello QEII Covenant

Saturday 25th of September 2021, 09:00 AM (3 weeks ago)

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

We have been invited to visit the QEII Covenant on the property of Peter and Jeannie Hayden at Portobello on the Otago Peninsula. The Covenant encompasses a mix of regenerating natives (it is approx. 35 years since sheep were excluded), with broadleaf species pushing up among mainly kanuka forest. Peter has a great network of tracks that take you through various ages and stages of Peninsula vegetation. The other part of the property has a mix of native and exotic species planted over last 25-30 years by a previous owner. Over the last 5 years Peter and Jeannie have been planting additional fruit trees, berry bushes and permaculture garden plots on the balance of the 22 hectare property. They are now actively involved in predator and weed control and 14 rifleman boxes were placed around property in 2020 to encourage these rare birds to breed locally. There are interesting outcrops and boulder banks as well that have a diverse assemblage of bryophytes and lichens. We will meet at the Botany Department carpark at 9.00 and travel to Portobello. Bring lunch, warm clothing, rain gear and suitable footwear. Rain day option 26th September.

Seaweeds at the doorstep: the diversity of coastal habitats and the species that are found in the Otago region

Wednesday 11th of August 2021, 05:20 PM (2 months ago)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein

This talk will be held via zoom. A link to the meeting will be sent to members a few days before.

Speaker: Wendy Nelson. The Otago region has a great diversity of marine habitats and about 300 species of macroalgae have been reported from the region. I will talk about the seaweed flora of Otago – the major habitat forming species as well as some of the less well known members - and some of the human induced changes and stressors that are influencing native seaweed communities.

Racemans Track

Saturday 7th of August 2021, 09:00 AM (2 months ago)

Contact: John Steel | john.steel@botany.otago.ac.nz | 021 2133170

The last field trip of the winter is a trip to the Racemans Track at Whare flat, 20 minutes south of Dunedin. This is a chance to become familiar with using the Dunedin Fern Key to identify some of our local ferns. It will also provide an opportunity to work on those groups, the mosses, liverworts, and hornworts, plants which so enrich our environment yet are largely ignored. A checklist of species for the area will be provided and with the extra pairs of eyes hopefully added to. The start (and end) of the track involves crossing the Silverstream weir so if wet feet are to be avoided, boots will be needed. If water flow is high the start of the McLeans Falls track may be taken as far as the swing bridge which will avoid wet feet, but this track is not in a good state at the moment and its condition will be assessed nearer the time. Leave from Botany Department car park at 9.00 a.m.

The vegetation of some local volcanic domes

Saturday 24th of July 2021, 09:00 AM (2 months ago)

Contact: Robyn Bridges | 0212358997

Mt Kettle (545m) and Mt Cutten (530m) are both phonolitic lava domes formed by the third eruption of the Dunedin volcanic massif. Mt Kettle is named after Charles Kettle, Otago’s first surveyor and Mt Cutten after William Cutten, MP and co-founder of the Otago Daily Times. The vegetation around both domes has been extensively modified by early twentieth century settlement when much of the area was divided up into small farms. In the early 1950s an area below Mt Kettle was dammed to form the Cedar Farm reservoir. A good patch of mature and regenerating cedars, Libocedrus bidwillii, can be seen from the summit of Mt Kettle. The trip will follow tracks recently restored by the WEA Walking Group. Meet 9am Botany Department carpark 464 Great King Street North. Rain day will be Sunday 25 July.

Almost an island - the remarkable flora and habitats of Banks Peninsula

Wednesday 14th of July 2021, 05:20 PM (3 months ago)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein

Speaker: Melissa Hutchison. Banks Peninsula comprises approximately 100,000 hectares of volcanic hill country, rising to a height of 920 metres above sea level at its highest point (Mt Herbert-Te Ahu Pātiki). The vegetation pattern is influenced by varied altitudinal and climatic gradients, which have contributed to a unique and diverse indigenous flora (>550 vascular plant species and >200 lichen species), including a number of endemic species. Prior to human arrival in New Zealand, the Peninsula was largely covered in indigenous forest, but this was rapidly cleared following European colonisation, and by 1920 was reduced to relatively small, isolated fragments, mainly on steep slopes at higher altitudes. Indigenous woody vegetation cover has increased in recent years through natural succession, with primary forest, secondary growth forest and shrubland now covering about 15% of the Peninsula. More than 2200 hectares of land is currently protected in Department of Conservation and Christchurch City Council reserves, with a further 1500 hectares on private land protected through conservation covenants (>120 covenants). The vegetation and flora of the Peninsula has been by well-documented by legendary botanist Hugh Wilson, but recent ecological surveys have shown that there are still exciting botanical (and lichenological) discoveries waiting to be found!

Lichen Foray at Orokonui Ecosanctuary

Saturday 19th of June 2021, 10:00 AM (4 months ago)

Contact: Allison Knight | allison.knight.nz@gmail.com | 027487 8265

Lichens are clever fungi that have discovered agriculture. They are very long-lived and fruit all year round, so there's a good chance of getting up close and personal with some of Orokonui's ‘hidden in full view’ wildlife. We will start at the top of the Ecosanctuary and wend our way down to the bottom gate. Copies of Allison Knight's Lichens of New Zealand: An Introductory Illustrated Guide will be for sale at the desk. A hand lens or magnifying glass would be helpful for appreciating the amazingly diverse structures, and a camera could help capture the fine detail. Photos can be entered into the Orokonui Photo Challenge or used to extend the indoor displays. Bring food and drink if you intend to stay the whole day, or take advantage of the yummy food at the Horopito Cafe at the Sanctuary. A koha to help carry on the impressive work at the Ecosanctuary would be appreciated. The Botanical Society recommends that passengers contribute 10c/km to their carpool drivers - it's a 42 km round trip from the Botany Department. Meet at Botany Department carpark, corner of Great King and Union St, at 10 am to carpool or at 10.30 am at the Ecosanctuary. The foray will end at 2 pm. Please contact Allison Knight 027 4878265, email: allison.knight.nz@gmail.co if you need a ride or can help provide transport.

Fungi at Orokonui Ecosanctuary

Wednesday 9th of June 2021, 05:20 PM (4 months ago)

Contact: David Orlovich | david.orlovich@otago.ac.nz

Speaker: David Orlovich, Department of Botany. I have had the privilege of collecting fungi at Orokonui Ecosanctuary on several occasions since it was established. The ecosanctuary hosts an interesting array of fungi, some of which are associated with particular plant species that grow there, and some that are not known from elsewhere in New Zealand. This informal talk will give an overview of the fungi at Orokonui and showcase some of the interesting finds.

BSO Fungal Foray to Waikaia Forest

Friday 14th of May 2021, 05:00 PM (5 months ago)

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

Change of Date! Please contact David Orlovich by 11th May if you wish to come (david.orlovich@otago.ac.nz)!

Waikaia Forest at Piano Flat is an isolated remnant of the mixed beech forests (red beech - Nothofagus fusca, mountain beech - Nothofagus cliffortioides and silver beech – Nothofagus menziesii) that once covered much of the area. The area supports a unique invertebrate fauna with several rare species being found there. Beech trees are dependent on various mycorrhizal fungi for their survival and growth. We plan to look at the fungal diversity of this forest in conjunction with Assoc. Prof. David Orlovich of the Otago University Botany Department as part of his ongoing research. For further details and to arrange carpooling contact David Orlovich (david.orlovich@otago.ac.nz).

BSO Annual General Meeting and Photographic Competition

Wednesday 12th of May 2021, 05:20 PM (5 months ago)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein

The photographic competition is a popular and eagerly anticipated event for anyone interested in botanical photography. Enter your best photos and learn what makes a good photograph and how to improve your photographic skills from our panel of expert judges. Your photographs may be chosen for the BSO Calendar so this is your opportunity to have one month of fame. Start organising your entries now and don’t wait until the last minute.

Seaweed communities – Responses to invasion, climate change and nutrients

Wednesday 14th of April 2021, 05:20 PM (6 months ago)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein

Speakers: Gaby Keeler-May, Isla Twigg, Ben Williams, and Nam Chand. This month we have a series of short talks from four Marine Science PhD students.

Gaby Keeler-May is assessing the impacts of the invasive kelp, Undaria pinnatifida, in the subtidal rocky reefs of southern New Zealand. Her focuses are to compare invasive and native seaweed contributions to the total biomass of kelp forest ecosystems, to evaluate the distribution and expansion of Undaria at sites of past and recent introductions, and to determine the impact of Undaria on native kelp abundance and its ability to resettle after large-scale removal.

Isla Twigg’s research revolves around the microbial communities of kelp forests. She is interested in how the productivity of different microbial communities changes with environmental conditions, and between species of macroalgae. This involves tracking seasonal patterns in environmental conditions and bacterial productivity, as well as experiments exposing these microbial communities to different types of stress. Nam Chand will discuss her research on the community habitat and ecophysiology of soft sediment red macroalgal communities in Otago Harbour, with a focus on the red endemic macroalgae Adamsiella chauvinii. Specifically the research investigates the algal habitat community and epifauna composition within A. chauvinii meadows. Moreover, it will also assess the nitrogen uptake by A. chauvinii and other dominant algae within its meadows.

Ben Williams’ will talk about the trends in kelp forest decline in New Zealand driven by climate change and anthropogenic stressors. He will also discuss the future for kelp forest reseeding and how this can be used to rebuild degraded fisheries.

Quoin Point

Saturday 10th of April 2021, 08:30 AM (6 months ago)

Contact: Robyn Bridges | 0212358997

Quoin Point. This trip offers another opportunity (a previous field trip has been to the mouth of the Akatore River) to look at the distinctive plant communities defined as coastal turfs. These salt tolerant (halophytic) plants are made up of low growing (generally less than 50mm in height), herbs, sedges and grasses, and are well adapted to living in the exposed marine shoreline locations, like this one on the southern Otago coast. Contact Robyn Bridges 021 235 8997.

Weekend Field Trip to Mahu Whenua

Saturday 27th of March 2021, 07:00 AM (6 months ago)

Contact: Matt Larcombe | matt.larcombe@otago.ac.nz | 027 919 9709

27-28th March 2021: Weekend Field Trip to Mahu Whenua. This trip will allow us to explore the flora of a spectacular part of Central Otago not typically accessible to the public. The Mahu Whenua landscape is in the midst of a huge transformation from farmland to conservation land and supports a number of interesting remnant and transitional vegetation types as well as a many rare species including Olearia lineata, Alepis flavida, Sonchus novae-zelandiae, Pachycladon cheesemanii, Carmichaelia crassicaulis ssp. crassicaulis, Azorella exigua, Carex lachenalii ssp. parkeri and Carex enysii. There will be a number of options associated with this trip which will suit all interests and abilities. We will depart Dunedin at 07:00 on Saturday, arriving at the hut where we will have lunch at ~13:30. In the afternoon we will explore the beech forest and shrublands up Highland Creek. Depending on interest a group may also head up above the bushline.

Sunday options include:

  • remaining at Highland Creek hut to continue exploring that area,
  • heading up the expansive Motatapu Valley via 4WD to explore beech patches, tussock and shrublands,
  • and visiting a spectacular high alpine patterned wetland. This last option includes helicopter flights, which will need to be paid for in advance. There will be a maximum of four people + guide (Cara-Lisa) and the cost will be $260 for the return flight.

We will be leaving at 13:00 and will stop for afternoon tea in Alexandra on our way back to Dunedin. The trip will be taking a maximum of 20 people (you must be a BSO member). You will need to provide your own breakfast, lunch and snacks. Dinner will be a potluck/BBQ. We will be camping next to a hut with toilet and cooking facilities, so you will need to BYO sleeping arrangements (tent/mat/bag etc.). Please register your interest with Matt Larcombe (matt.larcombe@otago.ac.nz, 027 919 9709) by the 22nd March.

End Peak wetlands

Wednesday 10th of March 2021, 05:20 PM (7 months ago)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein

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.