In January 2023, Te Papa Botany Curator Heidi Meudt was one of a team of Aotearoa New Zealand botanists and crew who travelled to Motu Maha Auckland Islands to undertake botanical research and make new collections. Here, she provides an overview of Motu Maha Auckland Islands, how and why they travelled there, and an introduction to this blog series about their 2023 Strannik Auckland Island Expedition.
Three species of Aotearoa New Zealand forget-me-nots (Myosotis, Boraginaceae) have been described in a paper by Te Papa Botany Curator Heidi Meudt and her colleague, Jessie Prebble (Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research). Each of these species is endemic to the South Island but has a restricted geographic distribution. Meet the new species below and find out how to recognise them in the field. All three species have also been beautifully illustrated by Bobbi Angell.
Between November 2022 and February 2023, Te Papa Natural History interns Tobia Dale and Ben Carson assisted with the curation of three major donations of New Zealand frogs and lizards. In this third blog about their work, Tobia describes her attempt to track down the first evidence of a deadly fungus in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Three Te Papa botanists recently visited Norfolk Island together with colleagues from the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. Their purpose was to collect ferns for research. Curator of Botany Leon Perrie introduces the significance of Norfolk Island’s ferns. Our research programme investigating the relationships and naming of Aotearoa New Zealand’s ferns
Why is a specimen of New Zealand’s indigenous carrot on display at Te Papa for the next few months? Curator of Botany Leon Perrie explains. Among the most significant plant specimens in our care are collections made in 1769-1770 from Aotearoa New Zealand by botanists Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander.
Taxonomic research involves a number of aspects, including field trips, lab work, studying and comparing live plants (in the field or glasshouse) or pressed specimens, and reading previous scientific papers. Not to mention analyzing and interpreting the data, incorporating previously published research, and writing up the results for publication. Sometimes, such research forms the basis of a post-graduate thesis (Master’s or PhD). Curator Botany Heidi Meudt talks about one student’s journey.
New research published by Jessie Prebble and colleagues resolves the taxonomy (naming and classification) of a group of small native forget-me-nots in the southern hemisphere. The new data show that some of these plants require different names. Curator Botany Heidi Meudt discusses what this means for their names.
A few years ago, our Vertebrate Curators Alan Tennyson and Colin Miskelly challenged Te Papa’s geneticist Lara Shepherd to identify a couple of penguin heads recovered from Antarctic toothfish stomachs. This year, Colin had another penguin puzzle for Lara to solve – what species was the headless penguin he found on a remote Rakiura | Stewart Island beach?
Botany Researcher Heidi Meudt and Collection Manager Antony Kusabs made new collections of forget-me-nots and other plants at some stunning but remote South Island sites in Feb 2020. Take a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to do remote field work, and enjoy some of the rewards of their hard work!
About three years ago, vertebrate curator Colin Miskelly made the ‘rash’ claim that the best bet for seeing a crabeater seal in New Zealand was to visit the mouth of the Hutt River in Wellington Harbour – and wait approximately 25 years. But one showed up there a few days ago. Colin gives his thoughts on why they come here.