Posts categorized as Field trips

Hunting henriettas on Ruapuke Island – on the tail of New Zealand’s first mice

Henrietta Bay on the south coast of Ruapuke Island. The cannon is claimed to have come from the Elizabeth Henrietta. Photo: Colin Miskelly

Few people are aware of Ruapuke Island. Guarding the eastern approaches to Foveaux Strait, the 1600 ha island is large enough to appear as a smudge of colour at the very bottom of TV3’s weather map. Yet the island’s low relief means that passengers on the Stewart Island ferry 20 km to the west barely… Read more »

New Caledonian plants

  • Another threat to New Caledonia’s vegetation is browsing by introduced deer and pigs. Conservation International are trialling using the amount of browse on the fern Orthiopteris firma to monitor the effectiveness of animal control projects. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • New Caledonia has a higher GDP per capita than New Zealand, principally due to nickel and copper mining. Mining operations are widely evident. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • The large areas covered by Melaleuca trees are very reminiscent of Australia. But they are also testament to one of the major threats to New Caledonia’s vegetation – fire. The fern Dicranopteris linearis flourishes amongst the Melaleuca regeneration. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • As I knelt to collect a fern, I was stunned to find myself surrounded by pitcher plants, Nepenthes vieillardii. The ‘pitchers’ are traps for catching insects. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.

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 »

Going International, Part II – What caught my eye at two recent botany meetings

Heidi Meudt on the botanical field trip to the "Mainzer Sand", at the “Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology" meeting, the 21st International Symposium of the German Botanical Society (DBG) , Sept. 2012. I am kneeling just behind the European plant species Veronica spicata. Photo by Aaron Liston.

Here are just a few of the many highlights from the two international botany conferences I recently attended: Botany 2012 (Columbus, OH, USA) and  Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology 2012 (German Botanical Society 21st International Symposium, Mainz, Germany). Plant identification goes visual, interactive and mobile Plant identification keys are useful when you want to identify an… Read more »

Westland Petrels circumnavigate South Island

  • Westland Petrel field team having a moment enjoying the rain
  • Westland Petrel foraging trip, June 2012
  • Westland Petrel Procellaria westlandica
  • BirdLife's Mark Fuller and Susan Waugh from Te Papa deploy a gps logger on Westland Petrel Procellaria Westlandica

Te Papa scientists Dr Susan Waugh and Dr Lara Shepherd recently completed a study of foraging movements of Westland Petrels. The birds were studied in 2 years and during 3 parts of the breeding season (pre-breeding, incubation and chick-rearing). This gave great insights into which ocean areas the birds are using, and where they concentrate… Read more »

Rare forget-me-nots discovered in the mountains of the South Island

Habitat and plant of Chaffey's forget-me-not. Photo by CA Lehnebach, @ Te Papa

Today, two rare species of forget-me-nots have been added to the Flora of New Zealand. These new species were discovered during an expedition I led to Kahurangi National Park, one of the hotspot for forget-me-nots diversity in New Zealand. These new species, Myosotis chaffeyorum (Chaffey’s Forget-me-not) and Myosotis mooreana (Moore’s forget-me-not) are described and illustrated in an article published today… Read more »