Entry for:150 Years of Discovery: Emerging Research
1. Please provide a brief summary of your video and research.
The flora of Aotearoa is unique. About 80% of our ~2500 native trees, ferns and flowering plants are only found here. They are our precious tāonga, the rich biodiversity we are all proud of.
However, we still haven’t even given names to all of our native plant species. What’s more, about 37% of them are threatened with the risk of extinction - and that’s only counting the named ones.
The science of taxonomy has a simple goal. To identify, describe and name our precious treasures. The species that share this land with us. Because what we don't know, we can't protect.
Recently my research has focused on the pygmy forget-me-nots in the genus Myosotis. Did you know we have over 40 species of forget-me-not native to New Zealand? By studying the morphology and the genetic relationships of the pygmy forget-me-not group we have learned that what we once thought to be one or two species, is in fact several species. Some of which are threatened with extinction.
Taxonomy plays a critical role in protecting our unique biodiversity.
My video highlights the importance of taxonomy to conservation in New Zealand, using my research on our native forget-me-nots (Myosotis; Boraginaceae) as an example.
Thanks to Chris McDermott who shot and edited this video, and Landcare Research Manaaki Whenua for support.
2. Do you have a video hashtag for sharing via twitter?
Kia ora, I am a plant systematist working at Landcare Research Manaaki Whenua in Lincoln, New Zealand. I recently completed my PhD studying New Zealand native forget-me-nots (Myosotis, Boraginaceae...