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BotSoc meetings are usually held at 7.30 pm on the third Monday of each month at Victoria University, Wellington, Lecturer Theatre M101, ground floor Murphy Building, west side of Kelburn Parade.   Enter building off Kelburn Parade about 20m below pedestrian overbridge.

Non-members are welcome to come to our evening meetings.

Click here to find out how to get there by public transport

To Help raise funds for BotSoc’s Jubilee Award Fund members are encouraged to bring named seedlings/cuttings for sale at each evening meeting.

2015 Programme

Monday 16 February 2015:   Evening meeting – 1. Investigating red algae parasites, 2. Regional threat classification

1. Student presentation:   Maren Preuss.   My thesis focused on red algal parasites in NZ.   I used morphological and phylogenetic analysis to describe the new red algal parasite, Rhodophyllis parasitica, and phylogenetic studies to understand the relationships between host and the red algal parasite, Pterocladiophila hemisphaerica.
2. Jeremy Rolfe, DOC.   The Department of Conservation and regional councils are working to devise a standardised, rules-based approach for assessing the conservation status of organisms at regional scales.   Modelled on the NZ Threat Classification System, and building on the legacy of regional threat lists pioneered by Wellington BotSoc, the Regional Threat Classification System is designed to be used for any group of organisms that occur within a region.   The talk will explain how the regional system works and its application to the vascular flora of the Wellington region.

Monday 16 March:   Evening meeting – Managed honeybees in NZ native ecosystems –   what’s the buzz?

Speaker:   Catherine Beard, Science Advisor, Ecology, Terrestrial Ecosystems, Science & Capability, DOC, Hamilton.   Honeybees (Apis mellifera), native to Europe, Africa & the Middle East, have been intentionally introduced to most parts of the world, including NZ, to produce honey and to improve food-crop pollination.   Thus honeybees are seldom seen as detrimental in environments outside their natural range.   However, a growing body of evidence from around the world shows that this may be the case.   Honeybees compete with native flower visitors for floral resources (pollen, nectar), facilitate reproduction of invasive plant species, alter patterns of pollination in native flora, and may also increase risk of pathogen transfer and disease.   How does this appear in a NZ context?   Growing pressure from beekeepers wanting access to NZ’s native floral resources is compelling conservation managers to seek a better understanding of the environmental risks and advantages associated with managed honeybees.   Given a general lack of information about native pollinator networks, and of how honeybees interact with native flora and fauna, this is no easy task.   This talk will be about plants, bees, birds and bugs, and also describe how DOC is considering the challenging issue of beehives on public conservation lands.

Monday 20 April:   Evening meeting – Epiphytes, Vines & Mistletoes

Speaker:   Catherine Kirby, author of Field Guide to New Zealand’s Epiphytes, Vines & Mistletoes.   A team led by Catherine Kirby at the University of Waikato has been working on a range of research and promotion projects for New Zealand’s fascinating epiphytes.   These projects include autecological research, an epiphyte workshop, epiphyte-fauna investigations, epiphyte re-introductions, the NZ Epiphyte Network, and the Field Guide to New Zealand’s Epiphytes, Vines & Mistletoes.   This talk will describe the key aspects and findings of each project alongside stories and photographs from epiphyting adventures around the country.   Future projects will also be discussed and there will be an opportunity to purchase discounted Field Guides ($35).

Monday 18 May:   Evening meeting – Members’ evening

Please share your botanical slides and photographs taken on BotSoc trips, your paintings, drawings and your botanical readings.   Slides limited to 20 per person.   Plant specimens would add to a memorable evening.   Please donate any spare botanical or other natural history books.   Valuable books we might auction; less valuable books we shall place on a table for you to inspect, and buy for a gold-coin koha.   Either way, you will be helping to raise funds for our awards.

Monday 15 June 2015:   Evening meeting – 1. Cliff vegetation assemblages on a remote oceanic island,   2. Whareroa Farm Reserve

1. Student speaker:   Amanda Taylor, PhD student, VUW.   Amanda will describe the assemblage of cliff plant communities growing in harsh conditions on Lord Howe Island’s southern mountains, how they are influenced by isolation, dispersal ability, and species interactions, and discuss the role of Asplenium nidus.
2. Anne Evans.   Anne will describe the reserve’s ecological zones, and Whareroa Guardians’ protection / restoration activities since 2007.   Ten remnants of native forest, ranging up to c. 5 ha - stock excluded from most since 2007 - and 14 km of streams, some fenced.   Forest areas are mainly kohekohe / tawa / podocarp, plus many other plant species.   BotSoc prepared a plant list on 3.11.2007.   Pat Enright and Chris Hopkins have been botanising recently.   The reserve is used extensively for recreation, including mountain biking.   About half remains in grazing, so there are tensions in management.   Anne will describe how a small voluntary group has developed a useful role in enhancing a reserve, and some of the challenges.   In eight years c. 44,000 native plants have been planted.   Feedback from those with more experience will be welcome.

Monday 20 July:   Evening meeting – Is the decline of bird populations threatening native plants, and can we fix it?

Speaker:   Dave Kelly, University of Canterbury.   Dave’s research is mainly on plant-animal interactions including mutualisms, herbivory, biological control.   NZ has had large reductions in the diversity and densities of native birds, which may be reducing services to plants, particularly pollination and seed dispersal.   He will review work on both these mutualisms to see whether we retain enough birds to keep the systems running properly (answer: not always).   Then he will discuss whether conservation action is able to fix any deficiencies (answer: not as easy as it looks), weed invasions, and modelling.

Monday 17 August:   Evening meeting – 1. Annual General Meeting;   2. A P Druce Memorial Lecture:   Complex interactions with friends and foes:   How native plants manage the risks

Speaker:   Bill Lee, Conservation ecologist, Landcare Research, Dunedin, Centre for Biodiversity and Biosecurity, University of Auckland, and Botany Department, University of Otago.   The world is green because plants keep one step ahead of the organisms, big and small, that want to eat them.   This may result in intense interactions between plants, fungi, invertebrates and vertebrates, involving both co-operation and avoidance.   The strength and value of these relations are often context-dependent, constrained by resource availability.   Bill will present stories about NZ plants, and how they cope in a complex and often hostile world.

The following AGM documents are available for downloading: 2014 AGM minutes, 2015 Presidents Report, 2015 Treasurers Report, 2014 accounts.

Monday 21 September:   Evening meeting – What are seaweeds?   Macroalgal diversity in NZ.

Speaker:   Joe Zucarello, Associate Professor, School of Biological Sciences, VUW, and a practising phycologist.   Seaweeds, a group of unrelated photosynthetic organisms, have received their photosynthetic capacity in different ways.   The uncovering of the acquisition of photosynthesis in the algae, and its consequences, is one of the major breakthroughs in the last 25 years, and still a major area of research.   Because they are unrelated, they differ in many characters, which makes identification complex. Joe will discuss the evolution and diversity of algae, and some of their diversity in NZ.

Monday 19 October:   Evening meeting – Zero Invasive Predators (ZIP) - who we are, and what we’re doing?

1. Ocean-atmosphere interactions from south-west New Zealand, over the last half a million years.
Student presentation:   Matt Ryan, VUW. Terrestrial pollen and spores (palynomorphs) extracted from marine sediments from the East Tasman Sea are examined to provide insights into how Westland’s vegetation, and by inference climate, has responded to global and local climatic changes over the last half a million years.

2. Speaker:   Phil Bell.   Zero Invasive Predators is a research and development entity, founded by the NEXT Foundation and the Department of Conservation.   ZIP is dedicated to developing the tools and techniques to completely remove rats, stoats, and possums from large areas of NZ, and then defend those sites from reinvasion.   This talk will outline the background to ZIP’s establishment, and detail the work ZIP is currently undertaking to develop a new approach to predator management in New Zealand - the ‘Remove and Protect’ model.

Monday 16 November:   Evening meeting – Botany of the Waikato

1. Student presentation:   Olivia Healey, Upper Hutt College, winner of BotSoc’s NIWA Wellington Science Fair prize, will describe her project:   “How ecosystems affect native plants”

2. Speaker:   Paula Reeves, Ecologist, Waipa District Council, Waikato.   To most the Waikato seems like a flat patchwork of exotic grasses, hedges and lonely clusters of kahikatea.   Look a little closer at the river terraces, and deep gullies associated with the mighty Waikato River, the western karst landscape, and venture into the extensive wetland remnants, and you’ll discover plenty to interest those with a botanical bent.   Paula will cover some of the highlights of the flora in the Waikato Region, and some of the efforts being taken to restore it.


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