Past Events

Field trip to Bethunes Gully and Mt Cargill

Saturday 4th of July 2015, 09:00 AM (4 years ago)

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

Mount Cargill is a 676-metre-high volcanic hill dominating North Dunedin. The upper slopes are clothed in regenerating cloud forest and shrubland with their associated communities of bryophytes and lichens. We willstart from Bethunes Gully at the end of Normanby Street. There is a good walking track that initially passes through exotic forest which then gives way to mixed podocarp/broadleaf forest on the mid slopes. This in turn is replaced by low forest containing a variety of species including Griselinia littoralis, Dracophyllum longifolium, Olearia ilicifolia and Coprosma foetidissima on the upper slopes. On the northern side of the ridge is a patch of mature forest with emergent Libocedrus bidwillii. Depending on the weather, as the ridge crest is rather exposed, we will explore these different communities. Another feature of interest is the hexagonal basaltic columns that outcrop below the summit. Meet at the Botany carpark at 9.00 am. Bring lunch, warm clothing, good footwear and parkas. Finish time about 3.00 pm.

Natural History of the North Andean High Mountains: the Most Diverse Alpine Ecosystems on Earth

Wednesday 1st of July 2015, 05:20 PM (4 years ago)

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

Robert Hofstede—visitor to Botany Department and Consultant to International Organisations in Tropical Nature Conservation and Environmental Policy. The Northern portion of the Andes is characterised by a tropical cool and perhumid climate, a relatively recent geological history and a geographical position at the Northern border of a continent. In this area the páramo biome is found: the natural tussock grass and herb-dominated ecosystem above the natural tree line in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and northern Peru. It is considered the most species rich alpine vegetation in the world, with a spectacular vegetative structure and an impressive level of endemism for a continental ecosystem (up to 60%). Because of the extreme climatic conditions ("winter every night, summer every day"), many species have developed an impressive set of adaptations converting them into the top-mountaineers of the global flora. These adaptations have resulted in conspicuous growth forms, some of which are shared with the New Zealand flora. Páramo's position in the tropics and connected through mountain chains with temperate areas ensure an interesting phytogeographical diversity: the flora has many elements of both tropical and temperate (holarctic and austral-antarctic) origins. Páramo is connected to the high mountain (cloud) forest through a broad ecotone; both are of key importance for the ecology and society of the Andean countries because they form the sources of, and therefore regulate, all major hydrological systems including part of the Amazon watershed. Their conservation is a major concern because of the pressure that originates from agricultural encroachment and large scale economic development. 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.

Lichen Field trip up Leith Saddle Track

Saturday 6th of June 2015, 09:30 AM (4 years ago)

Contact: Allison Knight | alli_knight@hotmail.com | 027 487 8265

The ancient and regenerating mist forest above the top of the Northern Motorway harbours a variety of old growth inner forest lichens. We will concentrate on the large 'leafy' foliose lichens that are so characteristic of New Zealand's rainforest. The Botany Department has kindly allowed us to bring specimens back to the lab to examine identifying and interesting features more closely. Bring hand lens. Meet at the Dept of Botany car park 464 Great King St. Bad weather date Sunday.

An introduction to NatureWatch NZ

Wednesday 3rd of June 2015, 05:20 PM (4 years ago)

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

Jon Sullivan, Lincoln University. NatureWatch NZ is a place where you can share what you see in nature, meet other nature watchers, and learn about New Zealand animals, plants, and fungi. It aims to build a living record of life in New Zealand that scientists and environmental managers can use to monitor changes in biodiversity, and that anyone can use to learn more about New Zealand's amazing natural history. NatureWatch NZ is run by the New Zealand Bio-Recording Network Trust, a charitable trust dedicated to bio-recording. Jon Sullivan from Lincoln University along with Colin Meurk and Jerry Cooper from Landcare Research got things underway in 2005. Starting off as NZBRN it later adopted the international iNaturalist platform and a New Zealand optimised blend of iNaturalist was launched in August 2012 as NatureWatch NZ. 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.

O' mice an' men on remote Antipodes Island: understanding the place of mice in a subantarctic island ecosystem

Wednesday 13th of May 2015, 05:20 PM (4 years ago)

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

Geoff Rogers—Science and Capability, DOC, Dunedin and Brian Rance—Conservation Services, DOC, Invercargill. Of all New Zealand's subantarctic islands, the Antipodes has a flora reflecting the tyranny of remoteness and physical uniformity—there are just a few score vascular species and very few woody ones at that. The islands also have highly distinct soils, plant biogeography, vegetation composition, birds, and insects and just one introduced pest—mice. The mice are targeted for eradication, a task that will call upon all New Zealand's globally-esteemed expertise in island pest eradication. This is an account of a team of biologists' challenging, mid winter attempts to understand the island's history and ecology and whether mice disrupt that highly distinct animal and plant life. *Of Mice and Men is a novella written by John Steinbeck and published in 1937. The title is taken from Robert Burns' poem "To a Mouse", which read: The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft agley." (The best laid schemes of mice and men / Often go awry.) 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.

Molteno's Regenerating Bush, Opoho

Saturday 2nd of May 2015, 09:30 AM (4 years ago)

Contact: Robyn Bridges | robyn.j.bridges@gmail.com | (03) 472 7330 / 021 235 8997

Tess and Anthony Molteno will host the BSO on a visit to their property at 236 Signal Hill Road, Opoho. Tess and Anthony have owned the property for the past 25 years. The property was originally a dairy farm and later a nursery but had been neglected for the 30 years or so before they bought it. At the time they fenced off a 2–3 Ha stand of kanuka on the west in the hope of regenerating the native bush. Since then that area has been little disturbed and they thought members of the Botanical Society might like to explore it, and any other part of the property that might interest them. Meet at the Dept of Botany car park 464 Great King St at 9.30 am.

Field trip to the Catlins

Saturday 18th of April 2015, 08:30 AM (4 years ago)

Contact: Marcia Dale | imaginarycrayfish@gmail.com | (03) 454 6706

One day trip to the Catlins (note: changed from overnight stay), where we will walk the Old Coach Road track at the Tahakopa River mouth (near Papatowai). We will head through a marshy sequence to the southern-most beech forest, kahikatea and then out to the dunes. If time permits we will have a look for some coastal Celmisia at the end of Tahakopa Bay. Meet at the Dept of Botany car park 464 Great King St at 8.30am.

BSO AGM and Photographic Competition

Wednesday 15th of April 2015, 05:20 PM (4 years ago)

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

Download the AGM handout here. A popular and eagerly anticipated event for anyone interested in Botanical photography. Learn what makes a good photograph and how to improve your photographic skills from our panel of expert judges. The best photographs will be chosen for the BSO Calendar so this is you opportunity to have one month of fame. Start organising your entries now and don't wait until the last minute. Note change in date from that advertised in the newsletter. 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.

Field trip to Bungtown Conservation Area and Lake Mahinerangi

Saturday 28th of March 2015, 09:00 AM (4 years ago)

Contact: John Barkla | jbarkla@doc.govt.nz | (03) 476 3686

The Bungtown Conservation Area is a small (c. 3.5ha) reserve in the headwaters of the Waitahuna River. It's a great example of an upland copper tussock bog with stands of bog pine (Halocarpus bidwillii). There's also a population of the declining Carex tenuiculmis sedge. After exploring this area we'll visit the shore of Lake Mahinerangi where some lake shore turfs have tiny herbs such as the nationally vulnerable Gratiola concinna, mudwort (Limosella lineata) and Maniototo button daisy (Leptinella maniototo). Meet at the Botany department car park at 9 am. Return by 4 pm. Leader John Barkla

QEII Covenants in Otago

Wednesday 11th of March 2015, 05:20 PM (4 years ago)

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

Robin Thomas, Coastal Otago representative for QEII will tell us how Queen Elizabeth II National Trust helps private landowners in New Zealand protect special natural and cultural features on their land with open space covenants. He will make special reference to covenants in Otago. He will also talk about aspects of management of his own protected tussock and schist tor block on the Strath Taieri. 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.

Weekend Field trip to West Dome, Northern Southland

Saturday 14th of February 2015, 12:00 AM (4 years ago)

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

West Dome (1270 m) is a prominent feature located on the southern edge of the Eyre Mountains near Mossburn, Northern Southland. Mossburn is approximately 3 hours travelling time from Dunedin. At this stage we plan to travel to Mossburn on Friday evening and find accommodation somewhere in the Lumsden-Mossburn area so we can start on the mountain early on Saturday. People have the option of travelling back to Dunedin on Saturday evening or staying an additional day and to look at further sites on Sunday. West Dome has an area of ultramafic rocks which weather to soils that contain low concentrations of major nutrients and high concentrations of toxic metals. This has considerable influence on the vegetation growing there and a number of species are restricted to these substrates. Included amongst ultramafic endemics for the area are the rare Celmisia spedenii and a species of Myosotis.

Vegetation response to past climate change in New Zealand

Wednesday 11th of February 2015, 05:20 PM (4 years ago)

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

Tammo Reichgelt, Geology Department. With increasing concern for the stability of the climate system, ice-caps melting, change in ocean circulation, and heightened atmospheric carbon levels, one can't help but wonder: how will this affect my backyard? Past climate reconstructions often focus on ocean-based proxies, because climate systems have a strong interchange with the ocean, and the ocean provides clearly defined, well-datable archives. Terrestrial climate is often subject to small-scale variation and terrestrial geology can be a challenge to understand, not to mention find age calibrations for. Nevertheless, the terrestrial realm is our backyard, and therefore terrestrial paleoclimate reconstructions are important in providing context and constraints of the environment under differing climate regimes. Paleobotany provides an important tool in unravelling terrestrial paleoclimate. Through diversity, diversification and extinction rates, and the relation between morphology/habit and the environment in vegetation communities, plants are ideal terrestrial paleoclimate indicators. Paleoclimatic reconstructions have been made for Miocene vegetation assemblages of Otago, indicating an environment that strongly contrasts to the present. Large-scale variation appears to be in concordance with reconstructions from marine proxies, but there is evidence of small-scale variation such as is caused by topography and seasonality. 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.

End of year dinner

Thursday 11th of December 2014, 06:00 PM (4 years ago)

Contact: Robyn Bridges | robyn.j.bridges@gmail.com | (03) 472 7330 / 021 235 8997

At Zucchini Brothers Restaurant, 286 Princes Street, The Exchange. If you would like to come please contact Robyn Bridges.

Field trip to the Rock and Pillar Range

Saturday 6th of December 2014, 08:00 AM (5 years ago)

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

The Rock and Pillar Range is located northwest of Dunedin. Travelling time to the base of the Range from Dunedin is approximately 1 hour 30 minutes. The eastern side of the range rises steeply from the Strath Taieri and reaches an altitude of 1450 metres. There are extensive areas of alpine herbfield on the upper slopes with the summit plateau being dominated by cushion vegetation. At this time of the year the late snowbank species will be emerging and flowering. We can expect to see Ranunculus species, Caltha obtusa and the Rock and Pillar endemics, Kelleria villosa var. barbata, Abrotanella patearoa and Celmisia haastii var. tomentosa in addition to numerous other alpine species. There is 4WD access to Leaning Lodge hut and the top of the range. Dress warmly as the summit plateau is cold and subject to strong winds.

Plant life at the margin: colonization and survival on the northern rim of the world

Wednesday 12th of November 2014, 05:20 PM (5 years ago)

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

The speaker is Dr Pernille Bronken Eidesen, Associate Professor at the University Centre in Svalbard, who is presently visiting Botany Department University of Otago. Svalbard is a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean that was fully glaciated during the last glacial maximum. It is assumed that all current plants in Svalbard have colonized during the last 10000 years. Remarkably, many seeds have managed to cross large oceans to reach Svalbard, though few have managed to establish. The harsh climate, the short growing season and the low nutrient availability require a range of adaptations. Through pictures and video, Professor Eidesen will present how plants have recolonized the Arctic and in particular Svalbard after the glaciation and discuss some of the adaptations needed to survive on the margin. This promises to be a very interesting talk as the physical environment and vegetation of the High Arctic is very different to anything found in New Zealand. 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.