Posts written by Leon Perrie

How many plants are in New Zealand?

  • The fork fern Tmesipteris tannensis is indigenous to New Zealand, being present here without human intervention. Moreover, it is endemic, being indigenous to New Zealand and nowhere else in the world. About 45% of the indigenous ferns and 80% of the indigenous seed plants are endemic to New Zealand. Photo Leon Perrie CC BY-NC.
  • Stereocaulon ramulosum is a common New Zealand-indigenous lichen. I suspect few New Zealanders would know it, which is symptomatic of the attention given to lichens, even though they contribute significant biomass to many ecological communities. Photo Leon Perrie CC BY-NC.
  • African club moss (Selaginella kraussiana) is an introduced lycophyte (and not a moss). It is very invasive, even into relatively undisturbed indigenous forests. It carpets the ground, suppressing the regeneration of indigenous plants. WELT P026410. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa CC BY-NC-ND.
  • Anyone visiting New Zealand’s coast is likely to have seen Neptune’s necklace (Hormosira banksii). It is a very common, indigenous brown seaweed. But many New Zealand seaweeds are only poorly known. Photo Leon Perrie CC BY-NC.

I gave a talk on “Understanding and valuing our plants” at the recent open day of Otari-Wilton’s Bush in Wellington. I’m very interested in why New Zealand’s native species might be valued. I am hoping you can help me think about that – I welcome your input; look out for an upcoming blog post. But… Read more »

Celebration of personal milestones in the Botany collection

Peter Beveridge using a hand lens to examine a bryophyte specimen, amongst subalpine vegetation.

Collections are at the heart of a museum. A museum’s exhibitions and research are built from its collections. The significance of collections means it is important to acknowledge those who have contributed. Te Papa’s Botany collection of plant specimens has recently seen notable milestones for two of its biggest contributors: Research Fellow Patrick Brownsey and… Read more »

Making discoveries with our citizen science projects

An undescribed species of jumping spider, eating a fly. Observed by Pete McGregor, Ruahine Range, 13 December 2014. Image Pete McGregor CC BY-NC-ND. http://naturewatch.org.nz/observations/1128770

The spider and fern citizen science projects running alongside the DeCLASSIFIED! exhibition are roaring along. To date, there have been 101 participants and 745 observations in the Spiders with Te Papa project, and 83 participants and 1332 observations in the Ferns with Te Papa project.  Thank you to all these contributors. Phil Sirvid and I… Read more »

Follow citizen science biodiversity discoveries

I get a daily email from NatureWatch NZ listing the New Zealand observations of ferns added that day. This is an easy way to check for observations that are relevant to my research and/or that I can help identify.

Botrychium australe, parsley fern. Image Mike Lusk CC BY-NC. http://naturewatch.org.nz/observations/1366930

NatureWatch NZ is a citizen science website for recording New Zealand’s biodiversity. Many tens of observations are added each day, covering all kinds of life. NatureWatch NZ homepage. The quantity of new observations might seem overwhelming if you’re actually just interested in a particular group – perhaps you: are studying echinoderms, want to share your… Read more »

Fungi season and New Zealand identification resources

Entoloma hochstetteri. Leon Perrie CC BY-NC. http://naturewatch.org.nz/observations/1397624

It’s getting cooler and wetter – ideal for the emergence of many fungi. This was brought home to me when I recently discovered an abundance of this distinctive little mushroom while holidaying near Rotorua. New Zealand’s fungal collections and professional expertise are concentrated at the Auckland campus of Landcare Research. The New Zealand Fungal and… Read more »

Floor talk about Te Papa’s science

Declassified-hero-image

Would you like to know more about the scientific research carried out by Te Papa? Our natural history research programme encompasses tiny invertebrates to plants, and spans the ocean depths to high-flying birds. For those in Wellington, Science Curator Leon Perrie will give a floor talk in the DeCLASSIFIED! exhibition space on Thursday 2nd April,… Read more »

Spider citizen science for schools and Early Childhood Centres

Black tunnelweb spider, Porrhothele antipodiana. Wellington, 14 January 2015. Photo © Tony Wills CC BY-SA. http://naturewatch.org.nz/observations/1180262

If your school or Early Childhood Centre contributes a photo of a spider (or fern) to our citizen science projects, we’ll include the photo in Te Papa’s DeCLASSIFIED! exhibition*. More on the exhibition DeCLASSIFIED! Nature’s secrets exposed at Te Papa. * provided the contributed photo has a Creative Commons licence. It is a nice way… Read more »