Jessie Prebble, former Te Papa/Massey PhD student in Botany, and Te Papa Curator Botany, Heidi Meudt (2016), holding a forget-me-not herbarium specimen. Te Papa

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.Read more

Myosotis antarctica Hook.f. subsp. antarctica, collected 15 December 2018, Mount Starveall Hut, South Island, New Zealand. CC BY 4.0. Te Papa (SP107322)

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.Read more

Members of our field team trekking across a steep and colourful scree in the Livingstone Mountains. Photo by Geoff Rogers January 2022.

In January 2022, our Botany Curator Heidi Meudt went on a chock-a-block seven-day field trip to Southland with Department of Conservation botanist Brian Rance and several others. The aim of this trip was to collect several species of forget-me-nots growing in the ultramafic Livingstone Mountains and nearby hills. Heidi talks about what they were looking for and the environment the forget-me-nots were growing in. Read more

Botany Curator Heidi Meudt and colleagues have published a paper on what is special about the diversification of plants on islands, based on an investigation of the five best-studied island archipelagos, including New Zealand. Read on to find out more about their findings on the role of whole genome duplication – also known as polyploidy – in these island floras.Read more

Over the course of many years, a tidy collection of bird eggs has made its way across the world. The collection’s final resting place just so happens to be here at Te Papa, where Natural History intern Isabella Milner has steadily worked through cataloguing it, and packing the eggs away into their forever homes. Here she describes how eggs are identified despite having very little information to go on.Read more

Five Te Papa staff recently joined Department of Conservation colleagues on a boat-based survey of islands in central and northern Fiordland. One of the species they were hoping to learn more about was the mysterious grey-backed storm petrel. Vertebrates curator Colin Miskelly explains why this tiny bird was on their radar, and what they found.Read more

A painting of a seal in the sea with small fish in front of it

A fossil discovery in New Zealand has revealed a new species of seal that once called Australasia home. Eomonachus belegaerensis is the first monk seal, living or extinct, ever found in the Southern Hemisphere. Its presence in our region turns the evolution of southern seals on its head. Curator Vertebrates Felix Marx talks about what this discovery means.Read more