Past Events

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 (4 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 (4 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.

Field trip to Macraes Flat

Saturday 1st of November 2014, 08:30 AM (4 years ago)

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

A trip to Macraes Flat to explore the newly created QEII covenants established as mitigation for mining activities by Oceana Gold Ltd. Weather and time permitting we will visit all three areas, the first a tussock grassland with little gems, such as Dracophyllum uniflorum var. frondosum, Pimelea pseudolyallii, Celmisia hookeri and Anogramma leptophylla, hidden away in rocky outcrops. The second site doubles as an historical reserve, with the ruins of schist stone buildings, thought to be an inn for travellers seeking the goldfields. The ruins are surrounded by grey scrub featuring Discaria toumatou, Coprosma propinqua and Melicytus alpinus. The third site is unusual in the Macraes landscape in that it consists of a bushy gully, native trees being few and far between in the surrounding area. Tree species include Pseudopanax crassifolius, Pseudopanax colensoi var. ternatus, Griselinia littoralis, Carpodetus serratus and Sophora microphylla. Other tidbits include Carmichaelia kirkii and Gingidia grisea. Rain day Sunday 2nd Nov. Meet at the Botany car park to depart at 8.30 am.

Talks by Department of Botany Colloquium speakers

Wednesday 15th of October 2014, 05:20 PM (4 years ago)

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

Talks from the Department of Botany student colloquium winners showcasing some of the latest research by our most capable young botanists. A stimulating and varied evening is in store so please come and support the speakers. 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 Waianakarua Arboretum

Saturday 4th of October 2014, 08:30 AM (4 years ago)

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

Malcolm and Jo Douglas have invited us to visit their family property near Waianakarua. This has been in the family for a hundred years and their love of trees is obvious, resulting in an impressive and eclectic arboretum of exotic and native species in a beautiful setting—and this planting continues today. The valley of the Middle Branch of the Waianakarua River with regenerating native bush runs along the boundary and is an extension of the Waianakarua Scenic Reserve. This is a rare opportunity and privilege for us to visit something quite special. In return, Malcolm and Jo would like us to compile a species list for the property. Meet at the Botany car park to depart at 8.30 am or at 9.30 am at the intersection of State Highway One with McKerrow Road, just south of the Mill House, Waianakarua.

Moss, Liverwort and Lichen Walks and Workshops

Saturday 13th of September 2014, 10:30 AM (4 years ago)

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

Your chance to learn more about these fascinating miniature plants that live all around us. Together they contribute more New Zealand species than the flowering plants, so are an important, yet often overlooked part of our biodiversity. Meet at the Dunedin Botanic Garden information centre. Bring a hand lens or magnifying glass. Lichens of New Zealand, An Introductory Illustrated Guide and a beginner's guide covering mosses, liverworts and lichens will be available. No food or drink is allowed inside so bring a picnic lunch and thermos or eat in the Croque Café next door. Workshop space and microscopes are limited. Please register by Wednesday 10 Sept.

13th Annual Geoff Baylis Lecture, Peter Johnson "Long Leaves and Fat Roots"

Wednesday 10th of September 2014, 06:00 PM (4 years ago)

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

A talk by Peter Johnson, Landcare Research, Dunedin. Long Leaves and Fat Roots. The Baylis Lecture is held annually by the Botanical Society of Otago, in conjunction with the Botany Department. It is named in honour of Dr Geoff Baylis, the first Professor of Botany at the University of Otago. My "long leaves" plant stories will be about Rhopalostylis, Cordyline, Cyathea, Freycinetia, Phormium, Astelia, Collospermum, Xeronema, Pseudopanax, Arthropodium, Austroderia, Chionochloa and Aciphylla. A sample of 110 spp that help to comprise what I see as an overlooked iconic group of the New Zealand flora, from palms to tussocks, each with its own lifestyle and morphology as it relates to wind, youth, old age, the funnelling or shedding of rain and nutrients, and competition. My "fat roots" stories will concern the likes of Griselinia and Coprosma which Geoff Baylis clearly demonstrated to be dependent on mycorrhizal fungi, a finding applicable to most plants throughout the world. As one of Geoff's PhD students in the 1970s, I reckon it is time for me to revisit this topic, so at the time of writing this abstract I have some reagents on hand to help take a further look at root morphology and stained fungi. So who knows what other stories might come out of the soil; (or from aerial roots, or as beneficial fungi in leaf bases of nest epiphytes?) Watch this space. Castle 1, University of Otago (drinks and nibbles starting from 5.15 pm in the concourse)

Trip to Saddle Hill

Sunday 31st of August 2014, 10:00 AM (4 years ago)

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

We will visit a 20 hectare block of dry coastal Otago forest on the Orr's property on Saddle Hill, an area protected by a QE11 covenant. This regenerating forest is located in a steepish gully and has been extensively replanted and maintained by the Orrs. Aside from the flora, fauna of interest is a colony of peripatus which was first located in this area by Anthony Harris. The walk is about 1.5 hours. Good footwear is essential and there is a picnic area where we could have lunch. Meet at the Botany Department car park at 10 am.

Council Focus on Biodiversity

Wednesday 20th of August 2014, 05:20 PM (4 years ago)

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

A talk by Councillor Gretchen Robertson from the Otago Regional Council. Councillor Robertson will discuss the Councils focus and strategies for biodiversity in Otago. 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.

BioBlitz - Cryptic Corner

Saturday 12th of July 2014, 03:00 PM (4 years ago)

Contact: Dunedin City Council (DCC) | dcc@dcc.govt.nz | (03) 477 4000

Mosses, liverworts and lichens are a large, but often overlooked, part of our native flora. Luckily it's not hard to stop and take a closer look and appreciate the huge diversity of cryptic species we have in New Zealand. Come along to our workshop to have a hands-on experience alongside some experts in bryophyte and lichen identification and see this tiny flora in a whole new light! Free, bookings essential. Led by Kelly Frogley

BioBlitz - Plants and how to look at them

Saturday 12th of July 2014, 02:00 PM (4 years ago)

Contact: Dunedin City Council (DCC) | dcc@dcc.govt.nz | (03) 477 4000

We all know what plants are, but just how well do we look at them? Could you describe a plant to someone who has never seen it before? Can you even describe it to yourself? If not how can you know it? This walk will encourage you to take a closer look and think about what you are actually looking at. Free, bookings essential. Led by John Steel.

BioBlitz - Is the Leith dirty or healthy? Ask the bugs living in it!

Saturday 12th of July 2014, 01:00 PM (4 years ago)

Contact: Dunedin City Council (DCC) | dcc@dcc.govt.nz | (03) 477 4000

The organisms living in the bed of a stream or river can tell us much about how clean or dirty this stream is. Many of these organisms are excellent bioindicators because they are sensitive to pollution and also reflect the conditions over several months before they are collected. During our walk we will visit several sites at the Water of Leith where we'll collect the aquatic larvae of insect groups such as mayflies and caddis flies. You will learn what these creatures can tell us about how healthy the aquatic community is. After the walk we'll take some of these animals to the Information Centre so we can study them under the microscope—they often look very impressive! Free, bookings essential.