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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.

2016 Programme

Monday 22 February 2016:   Evening meeting – 1. NZ Indigenous Flora Seed Bank: a national project,   2. The Puriri moth’s incredible quest: finding a tree in a forest.

1. Speakers:   Jessica Schnell and / or Craig McGill.   The “NZ Indigenous Flora Seed Bank” is a facility which aims to collect seeds of the NZ flora as part of an ex-situ conservation strategy to conserve the biodiversity held within our indigenous flora.   The NZIFSB is a collaborative project working with the different skills and facilities of the NZPCN, AgResearch, DOC, Landcare Research and Massey University, to support the collection, study and conservation of seed.   Of particular interest are the four target projects including: Plants of the Myrtaceae family; Alpine Flora and the Forget-Me-Nots; Kowhai and other Fabaceae; Podocarps and Trees of the Forest.   We hope to collect seeds and herbarium vouchers of these species and store them at the Margot Forde Germplasm Centre, once dried and cleaned.   We will give an overview of the seed bank and describe how you can help as a volunteer or trained collector.

2. Student presentation:   Speaker:   Kirsty Yule.   Puriri moth larvae have arguably the most unusual lepidopteran life-history on earth.   Unusually, it is the larvae which seek host trees before excavating dwelling tunnels, then spending up to six years as phloem-feeding parasites.   Identifying what makes a host tree susceptible to puriri moth larvae has broad-scale implications for NZ native forests, as well as how we assess the transmission and virulence of parasites in ecosystems.

Monday 21 March:   Evening meeting – 1. Otari-Wilton’s Bush,   2. The functional role of betalains in Disphyma australe under salinity stress.

1. Speaker:   Barbara Hampton.   Who were the creators - the plant collectors - the three long-term curators who set the scheme in place?   Barbara will present a selection from her recently-completed history of Otari-Wilton’s Bush, looking at forest management during the government tenure up to 1918, the origin of the plant museum, a view of the collections from the record books kept by the curators.

2. Student presentation:   Student: Gagandeep Jain.   NZ ice plant, a succulent common on coastal cliffs and dunes throughout NZ, shows marked variation in shoot colour.   The prostrate stems and erect, fleshy leaves are, in some plants, entirely green; in others, the vegetative shoot is partially or entirely red.   Red and green D. australe morphs often co-occur at coastal locations.   The red colouration in D. australe results from the production of betalains, water-soluble nitrogen-containing pigments synthesised from tyrosine.

Monday 18 April:   Evening meeting – Camping in Guadalcanal’s jungle, and other tales of Pacific fern exploration

Speaker:   Leon Perrie.   The Pacific Islands are home to many fern species, with NZ depauperate in comparison.   Some Pacific ferns are obviously related to species in NZ, but others are very different.   We’ll explore this diversity through photos Leon took during fieldwork in Fiji, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tonga and Niue.   He will also talk about the nature of fieldwork in the Pacific, particularly his participation in a recent expedition to Solomon Islands’ Guadalcanal.

Monday 16 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 Jubilee Award.

Monday 20 June:   Evening meeting – Mangere Island: Amazing people, landscapes, flora, fauna and adventures

Speaker:   Robyn Smith, Senior Land Protection Officer, QEII National Trust.   A glimpse of the remarkable restoration of Mangere Island through the eyes of a volunteer.   The restoration began in the 1970s to create a better habitat for the black robin, then the world’s most endangered bird.   The transformation of the island from mainly bare paddock, in such extreme conditions, is inspiring.

Monday 18 July:   Evening meeting – Seeds versus safe sites:   what limits recruitment of Muehlenbeckia astonii?

Speaker:   Debra Wotton, Director and Principal Ecologist at Moa’s Ark Research, providing ecological research and consultancy services to protect and restore native biodiversity.   Muehlenbeckia astonii is a nationally endangered, small-leaved, divaricating shrub found in Wairarapa, Wellington, Marlborough and Canterbury.   Almost no Muehlenbeckia astonii seedlings have ever been recorded in the wild.   Debra has been investigating the causes of this widespread recruitment failure.   Debra will present research on seed germination, seed longevity, seed dispersal and seedling establishment, and discuss factors potentially constraining regeneration and population persistence in Muehlenbeckia astonii.

Monday 15 August:   Evening meeting – 1. Annual General Meeting,   2. A P DRUCE MEMORIAL LECTURE:   The ‘missing plant’ problem.

Speaker:   Matt McGlone, Research Associate, Landcare Research.   Tony Druce was above all an indefatigablecollector of botanical data, in particular about what plants are where.   As his understanding of their distributions became more detailed, the issue of ‘missing plants’ posed more of a problem for him.   Why were some indigenous plants lacking from areas of apparently highly suitable environments?   In recent years, with massive improvements in data-handling technology, and ready availability of environmental layers, Tony’s carefully collected and documented species distributions can be used to address these and many other questions.   Matt will talk about the example of Mt Taranaki, perhaps the place where Tony did his most intensive field work, to explore what factors may have produced ‘missing’ plants.

The following AGM documents are available for downloading: 2016 AGM Notice of meeting, 2015 AGM minutes, 2016 Presidents Report, 2016 Treasurers Report, 2016 accounts, 2016 accounts new format.

Monday 19 September:   Evening meeting – Can’t tell a moss from a liverwort, don’t know a lichen?

Speakers:   Rodney Lewington, Carol West and Peter Beveridge will make three 20-minute presentations on lichens, on mosses, and on liverworts and hornworts.   Each will assume you know nothing, followed by time to get answers to any questions you may have.   The talks will cover the structure and life-cycle of each phylum / division.   The idea is to allow you to distinguish between them in the field, and make a start on identifying them at home.

Monday 17 October:   Evening meeting – Otari-Wilton’s Bush – Part 2: The Forest – Stan Reid – Call for a National Botanic Garden

Speaker 1 :   Barbara Hampton.   A look at the forest on the north-west side of the stream, managed by Lands & Survey from 1905 to 1918, when it passed to WCC.   Stan Reid’s 1934 thesis became the blueprint for future studies – his observations in 1982 & 1992 are interesting.   The call for a national botanic garden – known as ‘The Movement’ – was seen in 1902 and repeated over the years without success.   Note: This talk follows Barbara’s talk on 21 March 2015 about the creators of Otari-Wilton’s Bush, the plant collectors, and the three long-term curators.

Parasitic red algae from New Zealand
Speaker 2 :   Maren Preuss, VUW research student.   Red algal parasites are parasitic algae that grow on other red algae.   Knowledge of those parasites is still limited.   My PhD investigates species diversity, host dependence, spore development and parasite-host relationships in NZ.

Monday 21 November:   Evening meeting – The natural history of Abel Tasman National Park: Project Janszoon

Speaker:   Dr Philip Simpson, author, ecologist.   The geology, landforms, climate and serendipitous events together formed the park’s habitats.   The predominant granite landscape creates a unique range of forest, wetland and coastal ecosystems, with both common & rare plant species, and a distinctive fauna, especially in the streams.   Lowland and upland forests contrast, the former with especially well-developed rata forest, the latter with unusual acid-tolerant pakihi associations. The human hand has been extreme – regenerating kanuka & tree-fern forests are characteristic.   Orchids are a particular feature.   Philip will describe the natural history as part of Project Janszoon, and a proposed book.   He will welcome advice and information about the park.


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