Posts tagged with fieldwork

Up the volcano: Fiji ferns II

  • Mixed plantation of dalo (taro) and kava, Nabukelevu-ira.  Photo Leon Perrie, Te Papa.
  • Farewell from Nabukelevu-ira.  Photo Leon Perrie, Te Papa.
  • Matt von Konrat (right, Field Museum) indicates to Matt Renner that he has five great discoveries from the volcano climb.  Lars (behind) keeps the seat occupied.
  • A few of Matt Renner’s (Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney) collections from the summit. Photo Leon Perrie, Te Papa.

A highlight of our Fijian expedition was a trip to Kadavu, a medium-sized island south of Viti Levu.  Kadavu is a priority for Conservation International.  Four species of bird occur there and nowhere else in the world.  However, little is known of Kadavu’s bryophytes, lichens, and ferns, and it was our job to find out. While… Read more »

Bio-blitzing Mana

  • The initial products of five hours on Mana Island: two herbarium presses containing specimens to be identified, plus a plastic bag full of seaweeds collected from beach drift for our phycological colleagues.  Leon Perrie, © Te Papa.
  • Antony being attacked by a head band of Calystegia silvatica (great bindweed). Leon Perrie, © Te Papa.
  • Centaurium erythraea (centaury); a weed from the gentian family. Leon Perrie, © Te Papa.
  • The distinctive forked hairs on the leaves of Leontodon taraxacoides (hawkbit) distinguish it from similar dandelion-type plants. Leon Perrie, © Te Papa.

The Mana Bioblitz  is currently on. A Bioblitz is a count of all the species in an area. I recently visited Mana Island with Antony, one of Te Papa’s Botany Collection Managers, to contribute to the botanical cause.

Bryophyte Workshop

  • Moss Scorpidium cossonii (with thanks to Peter Beveridge for the identification), in an alpine seepage. Photo by Leon Perrie.
  • Moss Tayloria. Often grows on dung! Photo by Leon Perrie.
  • Liverwort Schistochila. Photo by Leon Perrie.
  • Liverwort Plagiochila. Several sporophytes are evident, albeit enclosed within perianths. Each sporophyte has a black capsule, where the spores are made, and a whitish, fleshy stalk (the seta). Photo by Leon Perrie.

Last December, three Te Papa botanists attended the 2010 John Child Bryophyte and Lichen Workshop, held in Riverton. This is one of the principal ways we acquire new plant specimens. We are still processing the specimens we collected during the 2010 Workshop. Identification of these small plants can take some time, usually requiring microscopic examination…. Read more »

Happy flowering holidays

  • Thelymitra sun orchid.
  • Dolichoglottis
  • Leonohebe (Veronica) cupressoides, a kind of 'whipcord' hebe.
  • Helichrysum coral daisy.

If you get into the hills these summer holidays, you’ll find many plants are in flower.  Many of New Zealand’s flowers aren’t particularly showy. But pay them closer investigation and many will reward you with a subtle beauty. Here’s a selection from my just completed field-work throughout the South Island, where my pursuit of Gleichenia tangle-ferns… Read more »

Fieldtrip to Patea

  • Bruce and Simon checking out the fossils in the Waverley Shellbed, north of the settlement at Waverley Beach. The trunks of the fossil trees from the drowned forest can be seen in the distance (Kristelle, 5/12/2010)
  • Bruce at the Waverley Shellbed
  • Bruce Marshall
  • Patea Field Collection Decembe3r 4 and 5

Last weekend, 4 and 5 December,  Bruce Marshall (Te Papa’s resident malacologist and Collection Manager Mollusca) and Simon Whittaker (Manager, Te Papa Collections) visited Kristelle Plimmer (Curator, Aotea Utanganui – Museum of South Taranaki) in Patea, and the three of them collected minute land snails (24 species found) and specimens of a minute freshwater snail… Read more »

Kaikoura deep-sea field work: a few pictures

  • Fish trap being retrieved after deployment at 700m depth. Te Papa, photograph by Vincent Zintzen.
  • Deep-sea shark caught with the fish traps. Te Papa, photograph by Vincent Zintzen.
  • The Kaikoura range in the background.
  • Early in the morning abord the Star Keys, fully loaded with scientific gear (underwater video systems, fish traps and ropes). Te Papa, photograph by Vincent Zintzen.

Te Papa fish team is off Kaikoura onboard the MV Star Keys to study deep-sea fish fauna.   We are blessed with good weather since Wednesday which allows us to being close to the minimum number of samples we have to achieve. That’ excellent news! I though I would show you some pictures aboard the… Read more »

Vampires in the leaf litter

  • A Dendrocnide stinger tree. This nettle-relative packs a particularly nasty poisonous punch if you have the misfortune to touch any part of it (including the trunk!). Not as ferocious-looking as our tree nettle, but I’m reliably informed the sting is worse. Photo by Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • An echidna. A monotreme mammal like the platypus. Cute but spiky. Photo by Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • Spikes on the stems of rattan palms. These palms also had fine, hanging trendils, which were easy to walk into because they were hard to see, but difficult to subsequently escape because they had barbed spikes. Photos by Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • The impressively armed leaf of what we believe is a Solanum (relative of tomato, potato, and poroporo). Photo by Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.

There’s trauma in this leaf litter – can you see it?! A downside to fieldwork in Australia is the number of things that will bite, impale, or otherwise injure. We had several wet days when the leeches were out in force. At one site, half of our group suffered a leech in the eye –… Read more »

Lancewood hunting

  • pseudopanax_ferox_juvenile2
  • pseudopanax_ferox_juvenile1
  • pseudopanax_ferox_juvenile_leaf1
  • tepapa4wd2

Field-work is one of the best aspects of working as a Natural Environment curator at Te Papa. I get to spend about three weeks a year in the field collecting plant specimens. I’ve recently returned from ten days field-work in the South Island, collecting samples for our research on lancewood (horoeka, Pseudopanax crassifolius) and fierce… Read more »