Posts written by Heidi Meudt

A few Chilean plants

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  • Michay, Berberis darwinii (Berberdicaceae). While beautiful in its native Chile, it is an invasive pest in New Zealand. Photo © Heidi M. Meudt.
  • Notro, or Chilean fire bush, Embothrium coccineum (Proteaceae). Photo © Heidi M. Meudt.
  • Gaultheria sp. (Ericaceae). Photo © Heidi M. Meudt.

During a recent family holiday to central and southern Chile, I was able to do a bit of botanising. In addition to several plants endemic to Chile, we also saw several with a Pacific connection. First stop was a day trip to the National Botanic Gardens at Viña del Mar to check out some native… Read more »

Getting a measure of plant taxonomy

  • Laptop with spreadsheet showing highlighted cell with "13.28" mm leaf width measurement, that has been automatically transferred from the digital calipers to the morphological data matrix. Photo © Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
  • Laptop screen with highlighted spreadsheet cell showing "13.28" mm leaf width measurement has been transferred to the morphological data matrix. © Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
  • Here you can see the whole set up, including Heidi measuring the specimen with the digital calipers, that are in turn connected to the laptop for instant data transfer. Photo © Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
  • Laptop screen with highlighted cell of spreadsheet showing "13.28" mm leaf width measurement now in the morphological data matrix. Photo © Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

As a plant taxonomist, most of my work involves determining how many species are in a particular genus of flowering plants, how they are related to one another, and what the correct scientific names for those species are. To do this, I gather and analyze data from a number of sources, including genetics, chromosomes, ecology,… Read more »

What’s it like to be a MSc student in systematic botany? Just ask Jessie…

  • The beautiful coastal plant Wahlenbergia congesta subps. haastii growing on sand dunes on the South Island’s west coast, by the mouth of Ship Ck. Photo © Jessie Prebble.
  • The beautiful coastal plant Wahlenbergia congesta subps. haastii growing on sand dunes on the South Island’s west coast, by the mouth of Ship Ck.
  • Wahlenbergia ceracea growing in an alpine bog on the slopes of Mt Kosciuszko, New South Wales, Australia.
  • This is the common South Island alpine plant Wahlenbergia albomarginata subsp. albomarginata, which grows profusely on the slopes of Mt Robert, Nelson Lakes area, New Zealand.

My name is Jessie Prebble and I am the current (2009) recipient of the Te Papa MSc Scholarship in Molecular Systematics. I’m studying at Victoria University, looking at the evolution of the plant genus Wahlenbergia in New Zealand and Australia. I’m using various molecular techniques to try to determine how reliable the current taxonomy of… Read more »

Developing the next generation of systematists

Potential project plants: Gleichinia, Asplenium, and Myosotis.

Developing “the next generation” of professionals is perhaps one of the most important duties of skilled workers in any discipline.  Te Papa’s Botany staff are involved in co-supervising postgraduate university students in systematics. We are currently calling for applications for the Te Papa MSc Scholarship in Molecular Systematics for 2010. Te Papa is offering this… Read more »