Posts tagged with taxonomy

Highlights from forget-me-not field trips from last summer

  • Here I am collecting Myosotis on a beautiful day on Coronet Peak, Otago, South Island.
  • Myosotis macrantha, near Queenstown, Otago, South Island (WELT SP091596). Photo by Phil Garnock-Jones.
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This year I went on several field trips to collect native forget-me-nots (genus Myosotis). With my research on native plantains now finished, my current research focus is now to figure out how many native species of forget-me-nots we have in New Zealand, revise their taxonomy, understand their evolutionary history, and amend their conservation status. Te… Read more »

A new native plantain, Plantago udicola

  • Botanical illustration of Plantago udicola. Copyright Bobbi Angell.
  • Habitat of Plantago udicola from Lake Sylvester (WELT SP090374/A). Photo copyright Mei Lin Tay.
  • The new species, Plantago udicola from Lake Sylvester (WELT SP090375/A). Photo copyright Mei Lin Tay.
  • The new species, Plantago udicola from Lake Sylvester (WELT SP090375/A). Photo copyright Mei Lin Tay.

Victoria University Emeritus Professor Phil Garnock-Jones and I have just described a new species of native plantain, Plantago udicola. The name udicola means “dwelling or living in damp places” and is in reference to the types of sites the new species is usually found in. Of the 200 or so species of Plantago worldwide, there… Read more »

West Coast Fern Fieldwork 2012, 4 – new, problematic, and interesting species

  • The cave spleenwort, Asplenium cimmeriorum, only occurs in limestone areas of the west coasts of both the North and South Islands. It is commonly found at cave entrances. We found a new sub-population in the Charleston Conservation Area. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • We found the lycophyte Lycopodiella cernua at a site near Haast, further south than the Okarito limit noted in the literature. Interestingly, this species also occurs in the tropics! Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
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  • Some authorities treat the small plants at lower right as a distinct species, swamp kiokio (Blechnum minus). Others regard them as part of a variable kiokio (Blechnum novae-zelandiae), big plants of which are at left. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.

Along with the Gleichenia and Sticherus, we were targeting a possible new species of Hymenophyllum filmy fern. We also made collections of several ‘problem’ species and other interesting finds. Cave spleenwort’s distribution based on Te Papa’s collections. Other blog posts about our West Coast fern fieldwork cover: What we were doing. Where we went. Sticherus… Read more »

West Coast Fern Fieldwork 2012, 1 – what we were doing

Gleichenia ferns often grow entangled with one another and with other plants; hence their common name of tangle ferns.  But our understanding of them is also in a tangle.  Two or three species are currently recognised in New Zealand, but I think there are at least five.  The picture is of a new species.  It looks similar to the others from above, but very different when viewed from below.  I hope to formally describe it in a year or so.  Then I will be able to show you the differences.  Our fieldwork significantly extended the known occurrences of this fern.  Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.

I’m just back from 10 days collecting ferns in the South Island’s West Coast. From previous collections, we knew of several currently unrecognised species of fern that occur on the West Coast. We investigated these records, visiting the sites to collect more material for our studies and to assess the plants in the field, including… Read more »

Te Papa researcher’s major contribution to NZ biodiversity inventory

Te Papa taxonomists whos work was instrumental in describing over 80% of the animal groups for New Zealand

Te Papa scientists figure prominently among the 238 researchers who have contributed to a major new publication: The Inventory of New Zealand Biodiversity.  The third and final volume of this 12-year project was launched at Te Papa yesterday, and celebrated the work of scientists from 19 countries, cataloguing over 56,000 species. The work was brought… Read more »

A new fern, Lastreopsis kermadecensis

The newly described Lastreopsis kermadecensis, from Raoul Island in the Kermadecs.  Photo by and courtesy of Peter de Lange.

Te Papa Research Fellow Patrick Brownsey and I have just described a new species of fern, Lastreopsis kermadecensis.  It only occurs on Raoul Island, which is the largest island in the Kermadec Islands group.  Hence, the second part of the new species name! The Kermadec Islands are the most northern part of the New Zealand… Read more »

Collections Online update: Taxonomy browser

Aptenodytes forsteri

Since we released the new version of Collections Online  in July last year we’ve made the odd fix, or a new feature here and there. You probably don’t notice them but hopefully they’ve made your browsing experience a bit easier.  However recently we’ve done a couple of things we thought were worth pointing out. First up,… Read more »

Getting a measure of plant taxonomy

  • Laptop with spreadsheet showing highlighted cell with "13.28" mm leaf width measurement, that has been automatically transferred from the digital calipers to the morphological data matrix. Photo © Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
  • Laptop screen with highlighted spreadsheet cell showing "13.28" mm leaf width measurement has been transferred to the morphological data matrix. © Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
  • Here you can see the whole set up, including Heidi measuring the specimen with the digital calipers, that are in turn connected to the laptop for instant data transfer. Photo © Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
  • Laptop screen with highlighted cell of spreadsheet showing "13.28" mm leaf width measurement now in the morphological data matrix. Photo © Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

As a plant taxonomist, most of my work involves determining how many species are in a particular genus of flowering plants, how they are related to one another, and what the correct scientific names for those species are. To do this, I gather and analyze data from a number of sources, including genetics, chromosomes, ecology,… Read more »

About hooks, hairy legs and sedges!!

  • Mature spike of Uncinia caespitosa indicating female and male sections. Photo by C.A. Lehnebach (c) Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
  • Male flowers of Uncinia and detail of stamens. Photo by C.A. Lehnebach (c) Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
  • Seed (achene) of a native hook sedge. Photo by C.A. Lehnebach (c) Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
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Tramping in New Zealand forests can be an enjoyable and very relaxing activity. However, if your legs are hairy, it could be a painful and very annoying experience. Camouflaged among ferns and ground orchids, hook grasses are waiting, ready to clasp to the hairs or clothing of any unwary tramper. Hook grasses get their name… Read more »