Dr Lara Shepherd, who’s been working with us on genetics research since January 2012 has just been awarded a prestigious Rutherford Fellowship. Only 10 fellowships are awarded each year, with a total of $8 m granted. The fellowships are awarded on the basis of the excellence of the candidates work as well as the research… Read more »
Posts categorized as Biodiversity
Where would you go to find a new species? Perhaps somewhere remote and little-visited, especially if it is ecologically unusual – New Caledonia maybe… Well, instead, how about inside Te Papa’s collections, because that’s where I first discovered a new species of Gleichenia tangle fern. A lot of biodiversity remains to be documented, particularly amongst… Read more »
The Spade-toothed whale Mesoplodon traversii, is now known from 5 specimens, three of which are housed at Te Papa. With only one of these specimens a complete skeleton, the species is as rare as they come – even among beaked whales – the most elusive of all the world’s whales. Whales are special taonga, particularly for… Read more »
Even in this well-informed age it’s surprising how much we still don’t know about the natural world – especially the oceans! All whales must come to the surface to breathe, despite this the Spade-tooth whale Mesoplodon traversii (Gray, 1874), an animal over 5m in length, has never been see alive, and until 31 December 2010 no one… Read more »
You’ll never have seen anything like these New Caledonia ferns in New Zealand, unless you’ve been to a very interesting garden (which I’d love an invitation to!). These are photos from my recent fern collecting trip.
A lot of New Caledonian species belong to fern genera that also occur in New Zealand. Some look very similar to New Zealand species, whereas others are quite different! Here’s a few from my recent trip.
About 35 species of fern are found in both New Caledonia and New Zealand. That’s about 13% and 18% of the total species in each area. Almost all of these are widespread species that are also found elsewhere in the Pacific (and beyond). Here’s a few of them that I saw during my recent field… Read more »
Below are photos of some of the botanical/landscape highlights from the recent expedition to New Caledonia that I participated in. But first, a bit of background: New Zealand and New Caledonia both sit on the (largely) submerged continent Zealandia, which separated from Australia and the rest of Gondwana some 60-80 million years ago. Wikipedia’s page… Read more »
USA fern taxonomists have created a minor stir after re-classifying a group of central American ferns into a new genus named Gaga, after the singer Lady Gaga. Abstract of the article formally naming the new genus Gaga. Youtube video of the taxonomists discussing their research. The researchers say the naming for Lady Gaga was in… Read more »
I’m just back from three weeks collecting ferns in New Caledonia. For a place so close to New Zealand (shorter flight time than to Australia), I knew very little about New Caledonia. I expect that is true for many New Zealanders, and it presumably reflects our very different cultures, not least being the language difference… Read more »