Posts categorized as Biodiversity

Extinct birds of New Zealand, Part 1 – A diverse menagerie, sadly departed

  • Skull ofNew Zealand owlet-nightjar (Aegotheles novaezealandiae). Te Papa Collections Online S.022454
  • Skull of the enigmatic Forbes’ snipe (Coenocorypha chathamica); Te Papa Collections Online S.025428. How did two snipe species co-exist on the Chatham Islands?
  • Skull of Eyles’ harrier (Circus teauteensis). Te Papa Collections Online S.033635
  • This South Island snipe (Coenocorypha iredalei) was photographed in 1964 during a failed rescue attempt after rats invaded its last island refuge. Image: Don Merton, New Zealand Birds Online

Few New Zealanders are aware how many bird species have been lost since people first reached New Zealand less than 800 years ago. The number of named extinct species continues to increase, largely due to careful examination of bones from Chatham Island dunes and caves, but is currently 53 species – an appalling indictment of… Read more »

It’s a Bug’s Life Education Project – Update from Raumati South Kindergarten

Raumati8

In 2015, Te Papa is creating a science teacher resource to support you to ‘do science’ with young children in your own backyard environments – with a focus on the invertebrates who make these places home. One of the three ECE centres working with us on this project is Raumati South Kindergarten. After an initial visit from… Read more »

A new bird for New Zealand – magpie-lark

  • Further images of the magpie-lark at Gorge Rover. Images courtesy of Robert Long
  • An adult male magpie-lark in flight – one of the most familiar and easy to recognise of all Australian birds. Image: Craig Greer, NZ Birds Online
  • An adult female magpie-lark photographed in Melbourne. Image: Sonja Ross, NZ Birds Online
  • The adult male magpie-lark perched on the roof of the Department of Conservation hut at Gorge River, 29 April 2008. Image: Robert Long

New bird species are added to the New Zealand list on average once every two years. Many of these are vagrants that have been blown (or flown) across the Tasman Sea, with recent examples including Australian reed warbler (2004), straw-necked ibis (2009), Pacific gull (2010) and dusky woodswallow (2014). However, few new arrivals have a… 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 »

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 »

Te Papa Botany researchers study genome size in hebes

Te Papa Botany researchers Heidi Meudt, Jessie Prebble and Phil Garnock-Jones have recently co-authored a new paper in the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society on the genus Veronica, which includes northern speedwells and New Zealand and Australian hebes. This paper is the first major publication from Heidi’s research stay in Oldenburg, Germany as an Alexander von… 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 Science Staff embarked on a 11 day field trip from Otago to North Canterbury.  Heidi Meudt – Botany Researcher, Phil Garnock-Jones – Botany Researcher and Antony Kusabs – Collection Manager Sciences were collecting specimens, images and DNA samples of native forget-me-nots (Myosotis) and New Zealand hebes (Veronica). 11 days, over 3000 km travelled and 114 specimens… 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, three Te Papa Science Staff embarked on a 11 day field trip from Otago to North Canterbury.  Heidi Meudt – Botany Researcher, Phil Garnock-Jones – Botany Researcher and Antony Kusabs – Collection Manager Sciences collected specimens, images and DNA samples of native forget-me-nots (Myosotis spp.) and New Zealand hebes (Veronica spp.). 11 days, over 3000 km travelled and 114 specimens collected, including… Read more »