Posts tagged with research

Fat pigs and beech trees

Left: Nothofagus solandri leaves with flower buds. Right: close up of open flowers. (c) Leon Perrie

Dave Kelly (University of Canterbury) recently talked to the Wellington Botanical Society about mast seeding. Mast seeding is where individuals of a plant species synchronously produce unusually large seed crops every few years. There is often no regular cycle. New Zealand is a world centre for mast seeding (and research on mast seeding). Some New… Read more »

Te Papa in Botanical Bulletin

Ourisia_Taranaki

A new issue of the Wellington Botanical Society Bulletin has just been published. Included are three articles by Te Papa staff: • Curator Carlos Lehnebach describes his research on Uncinia hook-sedges. • Research Scientist Heidi Meudt writes about her study of Ourisia (native foxgloves). • I have co-authored an article illustrating, differentiating, and mapping each… Read more »

What’s it like to be a MSc student in systematic botany? Just ask Jessie…

  • The beautiful coastal plant Wahlenbergia congesta subps. haastii growing on sand dunes on the South Island’s west coast, by the mouth of Ship Ck. Photo © Jessie Prebble.
  • The beautiful coastal plant Wahlenbergia congesta subps. haastii growing on sand dunes on the South Island’s west coast, by the mouth of Ship Ck.
  • Wahlenbergia ceracea growing in an alpine bog on the slopes of Mt Kosciuszko, New South Wales, Australia.
  • This is the common South Island alpine plant Wahlenbergia albomarginata subsp. albomarginata, which grows profusely on the slopes of Mt Robert, Nelson Lakes area, New Zealand.

My name is Jessie Prebble and I am the current (2009) recipient of the Te Papa MSc Scholarship in Molecular Systematics. I’m studying at Victoria University, looking at the evolution of the plant genus Wahlenbergia in New Zealand and Australia. I’m using various molecular techniques to try to determine how reliable the current taxonomy of… Read more »

Developing the next generation of systematists

Potential project plants: Gleichinia, Asplenium, and Myosotis.

Developing “the next generation” of professionals is perhaps one of the most important duties of skilled workers in any discipline.  Te Papa’s Botany staff are involved in co-supervising postgraduate university students in systematics. We are currently calling for applications for the Te Papa MSc Scholarship in Molecular Systematics for 2010. Te Papa is offering this… Read more »

Want to learn about mosses and liverworts?

moss1

I am helping to organise the 2009 John Child Bryophyte Workshop.   Bryophytes comprise mosses, liverworts, and hornworts.  The Workshop also covers lichens, and it provides a great opportunity  to learn more about these fascinating plants.  Novices are welcome, with guidance provided for beginners. The workshop will be based at Pukeora Estate, near Waipukurau in Hawke’s Bay,… Read more »

More rare maidenhair spleenwort.

  • These rocks are host to several plants of tetraploid maidenhair spleenwort.
  • asplenium_trichomanes_habitat1
  • DNA sequence data. The highlighted position is one of several DNA sites found by Lara that differ between the tetraploid (upper two samples) and octoploid (lower two samples) maidenhair spleenworts.
  • These rocks are host to several plants of tetraploid maidenhair spleenwort.]

The rare, tetraploid maidenhair spleenwort  (Asplenium trichomanes subsp. quadrivalens) has only recently been rediscovered in New Zealand.  Several people have contacted me with possible additional sightings. As described by the Scoop website, Jack Ritchie had a maidenhair spleenwort self-sow on a rock used to construct a water feature in his nursery, Tree Guys, in Otane…. Read more »

Coralline red algae

  • Scientists Tracy Farr (NIWA) and Louise Kregting (Otago) sampling corallines for chemical analysis
  • Jars of coralline specimens shelved at Te Papa's Tory St. spirit store
  • Coralline ‘pink paint' on rock (Credit: T.J.Farr)
  • pinkpaint

Botany has recently acquired a unique collection: a special group of calcified red algae known as the corallines. Coralline algae are abundant and ubiquitous throughout the world’s oceans, playing very important roles in marine ecosystems. The encrusting, or crustose, species can form unusual lumpy, warty-looking layers in the intertidal, sometimes completely covering rocks. Perhaps you… Read more »

We have DNA

  • Pseudopanax macintyrei.
  • Pseudopanax macintyrei.
  • Adult tree of fierce lancewood, Pseudopanax ferox.
  • DNA of Pseudopanax on agarose gel after electrophoresis

The first step after collecting samples for genetic analyses is to extract the DNA. Lara and I do this for lancewood and five-finger plants (Pseudopanax) by: freezing a small piece of leaf tissue in liquid nitrogen (-196 degrees C !) and grinding it as finely as possible. adding a detergent to release the DNA from… 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 »