Botanists from Te Papa recently attended and presented some of their research at the 2010 Australian Systematic Botany Society (ASBS) Conference. Notably, this is only the second time the annual ASBS Conference has been held in New Zealand.
The theme of this year’s meeting was, “Systematic botany across the ditch: links between Australia and New Zealand”. Collaborative research on Australasian plants by scientists from both countries was highlighted throughout the four-day conference at Lincoln University hosted by Landcare Research and the New Zealand Plant Radiation Network (NZPRN).
About half of the 100 attendees were from Australia and half from New Zealand, including four of us from Te Papa. The conference was an excellent opportunity for us to network with colleagues, as well as to showcase the botanical research happening at Te Papa.
Leon Perrie gave a talk co-authored by Lara Shepherd (Massey University) on their genetic work on fierce lancewood (Pseudopanax ferox).
Pat Brownsey co-authored a talk given by David Glenny on the biogeographic history of New Zealand ferns and liverworts. Carlos Lehnebach discussed the taxonomic implications of his morpholometric study of hook sedges (Unicina spp.).
Heidi Meudt summarized her systematics research on native Plantago species.
As many of the New Zealand botanists who attended the conference are also members of the NZPRN, we took the opportunity to have a short NZPRN meeting. Heidi Meudt and Andrew Clarke (Otago University) co-presented a short workshop on how to contribute to the NZPRN wiki.
On the last day, many participants went on the field trip to get a first-hand look at the floras of montane forests and alpine herbfields in the Arthur’s Pass area. It was the perfect way to end a great conference!