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2017 Meetings

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.

2017 Programme

Monday 20 February 2017:   Evening meeting – Wetlands in the Wellington Region

Speaker:   Melanie Dixon, Consultant Ecologist, Trustee of the National Wetland Trust, and swamp fanatic, will talk about wetlands in the lower North Island.   The area has a surprisingly diverse array of wetlands.   Melanie will provide an introduction to these wetlands, why they are important, and what threats they continue to face.   See article in the December 2016 newsletter: The Untold Story of New Zealand’s wetlands.

Monday 20 March:   Evening meeting – Biodiversity plan at Victoria University

Speaker:   Frances Forsyth, generalist ecologist with specialties in streams and restoration.   Campus trees: what’s there, what’s not, what’s lost, what’s losing the battle and why?   Plus does the campus community care about campus green space?   What do they want more of and less of, and can the green space be managed for both biodiversity and social needs?

Monday 10 April:   Evening meeting – Thomas Kirk (1828–1898): leading botanist for 30+ years, but often overlooked today

Note: This meeting is on the second Monday in April.

Speaker:   Bev Abbott, a long-time member and BotSoc’s submissions coordinator, will draw on published and unpublished material to tell us more about Kirk’s contribution to NZ botany, and the challenges he faced in becoming “a leader of botanical thought in the Colony” (Cockayne, 1921).

Monday 15 May:   Evening meeting – Members’ evening

A video of the celebration of Barbara Mitcalfe’s life will be screened.   Please share your botanical slides and photographs taken on BotSoc trips, your paintings, drawings and your botanical readings.   Slides, on a USB stick, limited to 20 per person.   For a gold-coin koha, or even ‘folding money’, buy one or more books we put on display, and help build up the Jubilee Award Fund which is used to support research on NZ plants.   Plant specimens to sell, or to discuss, would add to a memorable evening.   Please donate any spare botanical or other natural-history books, so we can build up a collection to auction at a future meeting, to raise funds for the Jubilee Award Fund.

Monday 19 June:   Evening meeting – 1. Myrtle rust: facts and actions;   2. Greater Wellington's terrestrial ecology monitoring programme

1. WCC’s Rewi Elliot and Karin van der Walt will provide a 15-minute preview on Myrtle rust: facts and actions.
2. Speaker:   Dr Philippa Crisp, Environmental Science, Greater Wellington Regional Council, will talk about GWRC’s terrestrial ecology monitoring, which includes State of the Environment monitoring, and other programmes which involve the assessment of wetland health across the region, and the results of pest control at selected sites.

Monday 17 July:   Evening meeting – Monitoring the eco-restoration of Wairio wetland, Lake Wairarapa.   Tree growth and survival

Speaker:   Stephen Hartley, Senior Lecturer, Conservation Biology, School of Biological Sciences, VUW.   In 2010 Victoria University was invited by Ducks Unlimited and the Wairio Wetland Restoration Trust to undertake some research into reestablishment of woody vegetation at Wairio wetlands on the eastern shores of Lake Wairarapa.   The result was a large-scale field experiment begun in 2011.   It involved planting 2000 trees (eight species) under a variety of pre-planting and aftercare treatments, all designed to give the trees a chance against a thick sward of tall fescue grass.   Six years later the survival and growth of the trees continues to be monitored.   Initial results showed that weed-mats made little difference to most species, but scraping the topsoil with a bulldozer has resulted in slower growth for all species.   The over-riding influence on establishment, however, has been the hydrological gradient of soil moisture.   Sustained inundation in 2016/17, and drone technology, have added the latest twists to this evolving and multiplying experiment.

Monday 21 August:   Evening meeting – 1. Annual General Meeting;   2. A P Druce Memorial Lecture: Botanist Tony Druce’s methods and our memories

Speakers:   Rodney Lewington, Tony Silbery and Chris Horne.   Tony Druce’s field trips with Wellington Botanical Society began in 1948.   Until 1997, Tony was leading BotSoc, and family trips on camping holidays, to botanically interesting places.   The world has changed somewhat since then.   Rodney, Tony and Chris will talk about Tony’s field trips with BotSoc, discuss some of the camping and travel routines, and his botanical contributions.   They have a few tales and highlights to tell from this period.

The following AGM documents are available for downloading: 2016 AGM minutes, 2017 Presidents Report, 2017 Treasurers Report, 2017 accounts, 2017 accounts new format.

Monday 18 September:   Evening meeting – Seaweeds of central NZ:   what do we have at our back door?

Speaker:   Dr Wendy Nelson, Principal Scientist - Marine Biology, Programme Leader - Marine Biological Resources, NIWA.   We have been fortunate in Wellington that the macroalgae in our region have been studied over a longer period, and in more detail, than any other region of New Zealand.   I will talk about the early collectors (mid-1800s) up to the present day - and highlight some of the interesting features of our local flora.

Monday 16 October:   Evening meeting – Student and grant recipient reports.

1. Speaker:   Nathaniel Walker.   Macroevolutionary patterns of pigmentation and salt tolerance in Caryophyllales.   Carrying on from previous research into the relationship between betalain pigments, salt tolerance and stress in Disphyma australe / horokaka / NZ ice-plant, his research explored evolutionary connections between pigmentation and the evolution of salt tolerance in Caryophyllales, and suggests that betalains may be related to salt tolerance more broadly in Caryophyllales.
2. Speaker:   Stacey Bryan.   Pingao: Weaving the connections.   Pingao / Ficinia spiralis, an endemic, sand-binding sedge that grows throughout the NZ coastline, has high ecological and cultural value.   Stacey will summarise research on variation in pingao genetics and ecology in the context of NZ sand-dune ecosystems.

Monday 20 November:   Evening meeting – Three decades of research snippets on the vegetation and ecology of Tongariro National Park.

Speaker:   Jill Rapson, Plant ecologist, Ecology Group, Institute of Agriculture and Environment, Massey University, Palmerston North.   The volcanic environs of Tongariro National Park result in marked impacts on the vegetation.   These include species– absences, unusual spatial patterns in plant communities, and impacts of ash-falls and   volcanic fires, as well as responses to transient laharic events and the occasional flood.   We will look at how scientists determine the causes and effects of these events on vegetation which creates the complex mosaic making the park so botanically attractive to visit.   Jill will use a range of student projects, post-graduate research and long-term monitoring, and conclude with some thoughts on possible implications for our understanding of the dynamics of NZ–s vegetation as a whole.


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