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2023 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.   Please note that the doors of the Murphy Building and lecture theatre M101 open for evening meetings at 7 p.m. to allow time for members to socialise before the meeting begins.

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.

How to join a ZOOM meeting option

1. The secretary will e-mail out the invitation to members with a link to join the meeting closer to the event.   Click on the link e-mailed to you in your internet browser.   Please contact the WBS secretary at Secretary WBS<> if you wish to have the zoom link.
2. Follow the prompt to Download the ZOOM app. which should take you automatically to the meeting.
Please note:
•   When you join the meeting, your microphone will be automatically muted.   This is so no one accidentally interrupts the speaker.   If you’re not speaking, please keep your microphone muted, so accidental background noise and playback doesn’t disrupt the meeting.
•   You can turn the video on if you like or leave it off.

On the meeting night – Please ensure you have connected to the meeting well before 7.30pm, when the meeting proper begins.

2023 Programme

Monday 20 February 2023:   Evening meeting (also via ZOOM - see above for instructions) – More than sentimental: Women and botanical publications in 19th-century Aotearoa and the Pacific

Speaker:   Rebecca Rice, Curator of NZ Historical Art, Te Papa.   The contribution of women ‘flower painters’ to the histories of botany and art have often been considered peripheral—their work readily dismissed as being of a ‘sentimental rather than a scientific nature’.   But what if the social constructs that have often been understood as limiting—the sentimental, the domestic, the amateur — actually lent themselves to an alternative way of relating to the natural world?   In this talk, Rebecca will suggest there may be different ways of thinking about these women and their work, particularly as, in the contemporary moment, we are re-assessing our relationship to nature with a degree of urgency.   Focussing on women such as Fanny Anne Charsley, Ellis Rowan, Sarah Featon and Isabel Sinclair, she considers how their watercolours, prints and associated texts register the intimacy of their encounters with flora, landscapes and people, a position from which they advocated for more meaningful engagement with the natural world.

Monday 20 March 2023:   Evening meeting (also via ZOOM - see above for instructions) – Why monitoring is hard and why we must do better: the case of the NZ Biodiversity Assessment Framework

Speaker:   Matt McGlone, Research Associate, Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research, Lincoln.   In 2004, the New Zealand Department of Conservation set up a joint DOC - Manaaki Whenua - Landcare group to explore the options for a national level monitoring scheme.   Proposals from this group led to establishment of a comprehensive Biodiversity Assessment Framework underpinned by a Biodiversity Monitoring and Reporting System.   This was not an easy task, and it was ten years before the system was fully operational.   In this talk Matt will discuss the overall rationale and structure of the Biodiversity Assessment Framework, and its progress to date.   He will also reflect on the struggles to get the monitoring system operational and the challenges it faces.   Monitoring systems are liable to fall over through neglect, deliberate defunding and obsolescence.   Much needs to be done to keep the framework alive, relevant and expanding.

Tuesday 17 April 2023:   Evening meeting (also via ZOOM - see above for instructions) – Kauri dieback disease

(this talk replaces the one earlier advertised about Redwood Bush)
Speaker:   Monica Gerth, Associate Professor, School of Biological Sciences.   Kauri dieback is caused by a microscopic pathogen: Phytophthora agathidicida.   This talk will cover some of the history of Phytophthora diseases of plants, before moving into current research on the pathogen (and how to control it), and concluding with some of the steps we can take to limit the spread and impact of plant diseases.

Monday 15 May 2023:   Evening meeting – Members’ evening

Share a pre-meeting bring-your-own supper: a flask of hot drink, cup and a small plate of ‘nibbles’ to be followed by a few speakers — limit 10 minutes / person.   For a gold-coin koha, or even ‘folding money’, buy one or more of the books we put on display, and help build up the Jubilee Award Fund which supports research on NZ plants.   Room opens at 7 p.m.

•   your botanical slides and photographs taken on BotSoc trips.   Slides on a USB stick – limit 20 / person;
•   favourite botanical readings, your paintings;
•   any spare botanical or other natural-history books you have and don’t want any more to have them auctioned.   Take them home if they don’t sell;
•   plant specimens to sell or to discuss;
•   botanical art—paintings, drawings, ceramics – to add to a memorable evening.

Monday 19 June 2023:   Evening meeting – Ecological impacts of fire in Canada and Aotearoa New Zealand

Speaker:   Dr Nicola Day, Senior Lecturer, Plant & Microbial Ecologist, VUW.   The talk will cover the ecological impacts of fire on plants and soil fungi in boreal forests of Canada and the tussock grasslands of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Venue:   NOTE that there is a change of venue for this months meeting to the Easterfield Lecture Theatre EALT206.   Use the main entrance on the eastern side of Kelburn Parade to enter Easterfield.   Go straight ahead, take the lift you will see on your right up to level 2.   Follow the wall around to your left, go straight down the corridor and you will see the theatre ahead.

Monday 17 July 2023:   Evening meeting – Further insights into our fern diversity – what the new electronic Fern Flora has revealed

Speaker:   Patrick Brownsey, Research Associate in Botany, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.   Patrick will outline the work that went into writing the Flora of New Zealand: Ferns and Lycophytes, what the online Flora offers, some of the new knowledge that has resulted, and what still remains to be done.

Monday 14 August 2023:   Evening meeting – 1. Annual General Meeting, 2. The trail from Tony Druce to the power of Lichens

NOTE this is week earlier than the normal monthly meeting date
Speaker:   Dr Allison Knight, Research Associate, Department of Botany, University of Otago.   Allison first met Tony Druce on a Wellington BotSoc summer trip in the early 1990s.   She was in awe of his willingness to share his exceptional botanical knowledge.   On the same trip, Bill Malcolm reawakened her interest in lichens. Following Tony’s example, Allison has shared her increasing knowledge of lichens in many ways.   We now know that the lichen symbiosis is a powerful ecosystem in miniature.   Some lichens are so resilient they can survive in outer space - others make antibiotics with great potential.   Lichens have much to offer as sensitive indicators of pollution and of climate change.   With the upcoming guide to urban lichens, your input could help document some of these changes.

Monday 18 September 2023:   Evening meeting – My summer with the mountain daisies

Speaker:   Jo Gosden, independent plant ecologist based in Otautahi / Christchurch undertaking a PhD on ephemeral wetland plant communities.   Over the summer of 2022/2023 I attempted to see all named Celmisia (NZ mountain daisies) in the field.   (Spoiler: at least one species was inaccessible).   New Zealand has 60 named species of Celmisia and this expands to about 78 entities once all the varieties and subspecies are accounted for.   My summer started in November 2022 in the familiar territory (for me) of Castle Hill Basin.   From there I explored the Old Man Range, Remarkables, Blue Mountains, Eyre Mountains, Catlins, Fiordland, Garvie Mountains, Cobb Valley & Peel Range, Richmond Range, Lewis Pass, Taranaki Maunga, Whangarei Heads, Ruapehu, Wairarapa, Mt Stokes, Ngakawau Gorge, Denniston Plateau, Charleston and Banks Peninsula (to name a few).   This talk will attempt to recount my summer and introduce (or reacquaint) you with Celmisia.   A field guide to Celmisia is in the works with my co-author Jane Connor.   I aim to leave you inspired to venture out in search of Celmisia this coming summer.

Monday 16 October 2023:   Evening meeting – Student presentations

Speaker:   Joe Dillon.   Will talk about his project on Orchid phenology and distribution in a changing climate
Speaker:   Paul Bell-Butler.   The Hidden Power of Mosses: How microclimatic interactions shape seed germination in NZ’s mountains.   My research aims to understand how the functional traits of bryophytes can inform their role in microclimate mediation and vascular plant community change in NZ tussock grasslands.   I will explore the effects moss cover has on soil moisture and temperature, and how this is related to particular morphological and functional traits exhibited by different species.   I will also present the results of a germination experiment, testing the direct influence different mosses had on the recruitment success of an invasive vascular plant, Pilosella officinarum (hawkweed).
Speaker:   Riccardo Ciarle:   Evolutionary size changes in island flowers.   The island rule predicts that, on islands, small animals evolve to become larger and large animals evolve to become smaller.   While various plant traits such as stature and leaf size have been found to follow this rule, patterns in flower size remain largely unexplored.   Focusing on the oceanic islands surrounding New Zealand, we tested whether zoophilous and anemophilous flowers follow the island rule.

Monday 20 November 2023:   Evening meeting – Tongariro National Park: Unique plants and their survival
Sorry, no ZOOM access for this session - due to a lack of committee members

Speaker:   Lois Allison-Cooper, DOC Biodiversity Ranger - Pest and weed control, threatened plant monitoring and conservation, Tongariro National Park, Tongariro District.   The centre of the North Island has a wide variety of ecosystems ranging from podocarp-broadleaf rain-forest through to tussock grassland, subalpine meadows and volcanic dunes.   All habitats reflect the volcanic activity of the past.   The park and the wider area (Erua Conservation Area and Tongariro Conservation Area) is home to many threatened species including mistletoe, Dactylanthus, orchids, divaricating shrubs and a new Cardamine species described in 2018.   Heather was threatening to take over the tussock grasslands, however a successful biocontrol agent was introduced in 1996.   I will be discussing the different ecosystems, interesting plants at each site and a run-down on all the fun plant work I do with DOC.


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