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2018 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.

2018 Programme

Monday 19 February 2018:   Evening meeting – Unearthing the secrets of the stone rows

Speaker:   Dr Matt Ryan, Adjunct researcher, School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington.   Matt will describe preliminary findings which shed light on early Maori agricultural practices using stone rows along the East Coast, North Island.   The rows, thought to have been formed about 600 years ago, look like long stone mounds in shallow trenches, with soil piled on top.   Macrofossil, microfossil and DNA analysis was done on small sediment samples on and surrounding the stone rows to determine what plant remains were present.   Crops may have propagated on the rows which would have had an extended growing season because of the concentrated warmth.

Monday 19 March:   Evening meeting – Discovering ferns

Speaker:   Leon Perrie, Curator of Botany at Te Papa, will talk about NZ’s ferns.   Topics include what separates ferns from other plants, the place of ferns in NZ culture, recent research on ferns, ferns in the broader context of conservation in NZ, and practical tips for identifying ferns.

Monday 16 April:   Evening meeting – Flora of NZ’s & Australia’s sub-Antarctic islands

Speaker:   Dr Alex Fergus, Ecology Technician, Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research.   Join Alex for an introduction to some of the remarkable elements of the flora of the Australasian sub-Antarctic islands.   For the most part this will entail a slideshow of botanical extravagance, centred on the suite of megaherbs (macroforbs), but also interwoven with biogeography, human history and plant ecology.   The results of four journeys in the 2017/2018 summer will also structure the evening, with particular focus on the regeneration of Macquarie Island vegetation post-rabbit eradication.

Monday 21 May:   Evening meeting – Members’ evening

Please share your botanical slides and photographs taken on BotSoc trips, your paintings, drawings and your favourite 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 18 June:   Evening meeting – A Region Redesigned – South Marlborough, Flora Response to the Kaikoura Earthquake

Speaker:   Jan Clayton-Greene, Senior Ranger Biodiversity, DOC, Renwick.   The magnitude 7.8 Kaikoura earthquake had a major effect on the people, landforms and biodiversity of the Kaikoura region.   Jan will discuss the impacts of this earthquake on the biodiversity of South Marlborough, in particular the flora.   She will then outline how some of these plants are responding and the effects of the subsequent weather events.

Monday 16 July:   Evening meeting – Update on the latest conservation status

Speaker:   Jeremy Rolfe, DOC.   The Department of Conservation recently published a new assessment of the conservation status of indigenous vascular plants.   This update includes an additional 205 taxa and unnamed entities that have not been previously assessed, and significant changes to the assessment of several taxa since 2012.   Hear about these changes and other recent developments in the New Zealand Threat Classification System.

Monday 20 August:   Evening meeting – 1.   Annual General Meeting;   and 2.   A P Druce Memorial Lecture: Botanist Tony Druce’s methods and our memories

Speaker:   Prof Bruce Clarkson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Environmental Research Institute, University of Waikato, will combine a virtual visit to some of his favourite parts of the central North Island with a field ecologist’s perspective on the frequency and abundance of native vascular plant hybrids.   He will conclude with some thoughts on the ecological and evolutionary significance of hybridism.   Along the way he will also discuss the influence of Eric Godley, Tony Druce and Brian Molloy on the approach he has followed and the interpretations taken.

Monday 17 September:   Evening meeting – Living in the rainshadow: NZ’s most distinctive and threatened ecosystems

Speaker:   Dr Susan Walker, Biodiversity & Conservation, Landcare Research, Dunedin.   For the last 20 years, Susan Walker’s research has focused on the past and present ecology of some of NZ’s driest, and most invaded and modified terrestrial ecosystems.   These mixtures of short tussock grasslands, shrublands, cushionfields and mat vegetation are the interface between high-producing pasture and “our golden tussock grasslands” in the inland eastern South Island.   These habitats have special ecological character, representing the last remaining examples of the evolutionary response of the native biota to protracted arid conditions in NZ, and are rapidly disappearing under irrigated pasture and wilding conifers.   Susan will describe the cryptic ecology of a disappearing biome, focusing on the fauna and flora of the Mackenzie Basin.

Monday 15 October:   Evening meeting – WCC, student & other presentations

1. Outer Green Belt Management Plan review.   Bec Ramsay, Manager Open Space & Recreation Planning, Parks, Sport & Recreation, WCC.   Council staff working on the review thank BotSoc for its earlier input and continuing involvement.   Bec will summarise the key changes proposed for the draft plan, then discuss formal consultation dates and process.
2. NIWA Science Fair co-winners:   Thomas Fraser, Year 7, Wadestown School:   Rongoa Maori-Native Plants: and investigation of how native NZ plants had medicinal purposes in the Maori culture.   Louis Holland, Year 8, Wadestown School:   Can a native plant be an effective insulator?
3. Matt Biddick, PhD researcher:   Life often evolves in repeated and predictable ways on isolated islands, although relatively little is known about generalities in the evolution of island plants.   My research on Mayor Island (Tuhua), shows how the same ecological mechanisms that drive size changes in insular animals may also operate in the evolution of insular plants.
4. How to be sluggish.   Dr Dave Burton:   Slugs are snails that have evolutionarily lost their shell.   This means that they can no longer withdraw into their shells to escape desiccation; it also means that they have to cram all their organ systems into the foot, in a process called compaction.   NZ slugs have taken this process to an extreme not seen in any other land mollusc, and have become the flattest slugs in the world as a result.   They are unique.

Monday 19 November:   Evening meeting – Toropapa (Alseuosmia) - NZ’s most confusing plant genus

Speaker:   Lara Shepherd, Research Scientist, Te Papa.   Toropapa (Alseuosmia) has been confusing botanists for over 100 years because some of its currently recognised species have extremely variable leaf shape.   To make identification of them even more difficult the leaves of some toropapa species resemble completely unrelated species.   Lara will discuss her research into the taxonomy and evolution of this fascinating group of shrubs.

Royal Society Brandmark

Monday 18 February 2019:   Evening meeting – Ornamental to Detrimental

Speaker:   Professor Philip Hulme FRSNZ from Lincoln University was selected by the Royal Society Te Aparangi as the 2018 recipient of the Society’s Leonard Cockayne Lecture Award (in which he has then presented the lecture Ornamental to Detrimental throughout the county).   Unfortunately a number of BotSoc members missed this opportunity and so it was suggested and agreed that the lecture be repeated.


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