Posts written by Antony Kusabs

World Science Day: improving our knowledge using collections

Botany Collection Store: Te Papa has 300 000 botany specimens. Image: Antony Kusabs, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, 2015.

Today is World Science Day for Peace and Development, but science is happening at Te Papa every day . In addition to research being conducted within Te Papa, each year we also loan hundreds of science collection specimens to researchers all around the world. Researchers study our specimens to improve our collective knowledge of the natural world…. Read more »

Native re-vegetation & weed collecting in Wellington’s greenbelt

Tim Park, Wellington City Council Biodiversity Officer. Standing next to some well established wharangi (Melicope ternata) plantings on Mount Victoria. Image: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa.

I recently tagged along with Wellington City Council’s Environment Partnership Leader, Tim Park to visit some native re-vegetation sites in Wellington’s town belt. Why is Wellington City planting native plants? Wellington City Council has a policy of replacing pine forest with native plantings in the town belt as pine trees die or are toppled by… Read more »

Today is World Habitat Day and this week is World Space Week. I’m observing both of these events by databasing bryophyte (moss and liverwort) botany specimens which are habitat for space travellers. Bryophytes are among the ‘preferred’ habitat for microscopic animals called tardigrades, otherwise known as waterbears or moss piglets.  Although, tardigrades aren’t that fussy about… Read more »

Botany Collection Narratives (Part 4): Expedition Snares Islands

Caption: A new moss record for the Snares Islands - Tayloria purpurascens! Te papa collection item M041684. On the right you can see the leafy gametophyte (gamete plant). And on the left, the stalk-like structure is the sporophyte (spore plant) which develops from female reproductive organs on the gametophyte. (Field of view c. 4cm)

Back in December 2013, four Te Papa Scientists ventured into the deep south on a 15 day expedition to the Snares Islands. Some of you may remember earlier Snares blog posts and you tube videos from this excursion. In order to provide a quick reference resource on Snares Islands botany I recently completed some Expedition Snares… Read more »

Botany Collection Narratives (Part 3): Image highlights from Hue te Taka (Moa Point) Narrative

  • Angiosperms, Selliera radicans Cav. collected 20 Feb 2012, Hue te Taka Peninsula (Moa Point). New Zealand. Field Collection, 2011. Te Papa. SP090307.
  • Scarlet pimpernel, Anagallis arvensis L. subsp. arvensis var. arvensis, collected 29 Sep 2011, South Coast, Hue te Taka Peniinsula (Moa Point), North end. New Zealand. Field Collection, 2011. Te Papa. SP090329.
  • Sarcocornia quinqueflora (Bunge ex Ung.-Sternb.) A.J.Scott, collected 20 Feb 2012, Hue te Taka Peninsula (Moa Point). New Zealand. Field Collection, 2011. Te Papa. SP094153.
  • SP094156 - ph4 resized

Some time ago now, the Te Papa Science team completed the process of collecting, identifying and storing terrestrial plants from a low-stature plant community on Wellington’s South Coast.  Over 100 species of seed plant, ferns, lichens, moss, liverwort and seaweed were collected.  This total comprised approximately 69 indigenous and 33 naturalised plant species. This Te Papa Collections… Read more »

South Island Botany Field Trip: weedy highlights

goat's beard, Tragopogon pratensis L., (SP103848). Collected 16 Dec 2014, New Zealand, Canterbury, West Coast Road. Image: Antony Kusabs, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

In early December 2014, three Te Papa Botany Staff embarked on a 11 day field trip from Otago to North Canterbury.  We collected specimens, images and DNA samples of native forget-me-nots (Myosotis) and New Zealand hebes (Veronica). See the first blog in this series for more detail. Along the way, other native (and naturalised) species were also collected for Te… Read more »

South Island Botany Field Trip: native plants from the high country

Notothlaspi rosulatum. New Zealand, Canterbury, Clarence River, Mount St Patrick. Image: Antony Kusabs, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

In late 2014, Te Papa Botany Staff embarked on a 11 day field trip from Otago to North Canterbury.  We collected specimens, images and DNA samples of native forget-me-nots (Myosotis spp.) and New Zealand hebes (Veronica spp.). See the first blog in this series for the detailed itinerary. Along the way, other native (and naturalised) species were also collected for Te Papa’s herbarium.  All… Read more »

Botany Collection Narratives (Part 2): Lindauer, Algae Nova-Zelandicae Exsiccatae

Codium gracile (O.C.Schmidt) Dellow, collected 03 Sep 1937, Bay of Islands, New Zealand. CC BY-NC-ND licence. Te Papa (A020496)

Introducing a significant part of Te Papa’s macro-algae (seaweed) collection – The complete Algae Nova-Zelandicae Exciccatae by Victor W Lindauer. Algae Nova-Zelandicae Exsiccatae – 14 Fascicles – Victor W Lindauer. Victor Willhelm Lindauer (1888-1964) was a school teacher who became fascinated with seaweeds after he met a team of North American phycologists (seaweed scientists) who visited the Bay of Islands in 1935. Between 1939 and… Read more »

Botany Collection Narratives (Part 1): Recent Botany Donations

Clematis marmoraria Sneddon, collected Dec 1973, N.W Nelson, Arthur Range, Hoary Head., New Zealand. Gift of Victoria University of Wellington, 2011. CC BY-NC-ND licence. Te Papa (SP091616)

As the Science Collection Manager responsible for managing the botany collection, part of my job is to increase public access to the collection. One way to achieve this is through online narratives. This blog series will highlight some recent botany narratives. In this blog we introduce narrative topics of some recent, very significant, donations to the Te… Read more »

Snares Islands Flora: bryophytes & lichens

  • Caption: A trick for young players! Asplenium gametophytes and young plants. Image: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa.
  • Caption: A new record of liverwort for the Snares -the leafy liverwort genus Aneura (centre-left) growing with moss Pyrrhobryum bifarium (sporophytes visable) on a rotting Olearia stem in a gully. Image: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa. (Field of view c. 15cm)
  • Fern Blog Ph 11 - Resized
  • Caption: A new moss record for the Snares Islands - Tayloria purpurascens! Te papa collection item M041684. On the right you can see the leafy gametophyte (gamete plant). And on the left, the stalk-like structure is the sporophyte (spore plant) which develops from female reproductive organs on the gametophyte. (Field of view c. 4cm)

One of our research goals on the Snares Islands was to collect non-vascular plants.  Non-vascular plants include mosses, liverworts and hornworts (collectively known as bryophytes) and lichens. Mosses have two main life stages – the gametophyte stage and sporophyte stage.  Both stages are visible in images on this post. The gametophyte (gamete plant)  leafy stage produces the… Read more »