Ecosystems and Species Unit

Newton, New Zealand

Ecosystems and Species Unit

Newton, New Zealand
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Nylinder S.,Swedish Museum of Natural History | Cronholm B.,Swedish Museum of Natural History | de Lange P.J.,Ecosystems and Species Unit | Walsh N.,National Herbarium of Victoria | Anderberg A.A.,Swedish Museum of Natural History
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution | Year: 2013

A species tree phylogeny of the Australian/New Zealand genus Centipeda (Asteraceae) is estimated based on nucleotide sequence data. We analysed sequences of nuclear ribosomal DNA (ETS, ITS) and three plasmid loci (ndhF, psbA-trnH, and trnL-F) using the multi-species coalescent module in BEAST. A total of 129 individuals from all 10 recognised species of Centipeda were sampled throughout the species distribution ranges, including two subspecies. We conclude that the inferred species tree topology largely conform previous assumptions on species relationships. Centipeda racemosa (Snuffweed) is the sister to remaining species, which is also the only consistently perennial representative in the genus. Centipeda pleiocephala (Tall Sneezeweed) and C. nidiformis (Cotton Sneezeweed) constitute a species pair, as does C. borealis and C. minima (Spreading Sneezeweed), all sharing the symplesiomorphic characters of spherical capitulum and convex receptacle with C. racemosa. Another species group comprising C. thespidioides (Desert Sneezeweed), C. cunninghamii (Old man weed, or Common sneeze-weed), C. crateriformis is well-supported but then include the morphologically aberrant C. aotearoana, all sharing the character of having capitula that mature more slowly relative the subtending shoot. Centipeda elatinoides takes on a weakly supported intermediate position between the two mentioned groups, and is difficult to relate to any of the former groups based on morphological characters. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

O'Donnell C.F.J.,Ecosystems and Species Unit | Williams E.M.,Ecosystems and Species Unit | Williams E.M.,Massey University | Cheyne J.,Wetland Works
Notornis | Year: 2013

Reliable techniques need to be developed for monitoring the distribution and abundance of the endangered Australasian bitern (matuku, Botaurus poiciloptilus). We trialled 2 complementary methods for estimating the number of booming Australasian biterns: acoustic triangulation from fixed listening stations, and using kayaks to quietly approach booming birds. Trials were conducted over 2 booming seasons (2011 and 2012) at Hatuma Lake, Hawkes Bay. The 2 methods gave similar estimates of the number of biterns using Hatuma Lake (2011:8-9 biterns by triangulation and 9-10 biterns by close approaches; 2012:8-9 biterns using triangulation and 7-8 biterns by close approaches). We recommend using close approaches because there appeared to be less count-error or a combination of the 2 methods to estimate numbers of Australasian biterns on small wetlands (< 250 ha). However, neither method appears suitable for larger wetlands if the calls of distant biterns overlap those of close biterns, if observers get saturated by too many calling birds, or if there is insufficient time between calls to estimate distance of calls reliably and reduce the ability to distinguish individuals consistently. © The Ornithological Society of New Zealand, Inc.

Heenan P.B.,Landcare Research | De Lange P.J.,Ecosystems and Species Unit
New Zealand Journal of Botany | Year: 2011

Lepidium peregrinum (Brassicaceae) is recorded for the first time in New Zealand, where it was collected from O Wiwi Ku, an island in Kawhia Harbour, western North Island. Although native to eastern Australia, L. peregrinum was initially described from plants collected wild in the United Kingdom. This and other European occurrences are believed to have arisen from seed trapped within sheep fleeces imported from Australia. It is suggested that the sole New Zealand occurrence also results from the importing of goods directly from Sydney, New South Wales, to Kawhia by Maori during the 1830s to 1860s. A description of L. peregrinum based on New Zealand specimens is provided. The biostatus of L. peregrinum is reviewed and, despite being treated as naturalized, it is concluded that the species poses no threat to the indigenous New Zealand flora. As a threatened Australian plant, recommendations are made about the conservation management of the species in New Zealand. © 2011 The Royal Society of New Zealand.

Pickerell G.A.,University of Otago | O'Donnell C.F.J.,Ecosystems and Species Unit | Wilson D.J.,Landcare Research | Seddon P.J.,University of Otago
New Zealand Journal of Ecology | Year: 2014

Efficient detection techniques will confirm the presence of a species at a site where the species exists, and are essential for effective population monitoring and for assessing the outcome of management programmes. However, detection techniques vary in their ability to detect different species. A wide range of mammalian predator species, most introduced into New Zealand since the late 18th century, have had a detrimental impact on the native flora and fauna. To date, there has been little research to compare the efficiency of detection techniques for these species, especially in non-forest habitats. We used nine commonly-available techniques to survey for the presence of mammalian predators at 19 sites on the open, non-forested banks of the Rangitata River, a large braided river in the South Island, New Zealand. We compared the relative efficiency of the techniques using three metrics: raw detection rates, Kaplan-Meier survival analysis, and probability of detection. Techniques varied in their ability to detect eight species of mammalian predator. The most efficient detection techniques included large tracking tunnels and hair tubes for feral cats (Felis catus), large tracking tunnels for European hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus), and WaxTags® for brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula). Using our data to simulate a reduction in survey effort, we found that detection rates would be significantly reduced only when devices were at very low densities. We show also that 3-71 nights of monitoring are needed for a 90% probability of detection by our most efficient techniques. Our findings emphasise the merit of using more than one technique to detect a species, and we recommend that detection devices are left open for at least 10 nights. Finally, we highlight the need for further research to develop standardised monitoring protocols for introduced mammalian predators in New Zealand's non-forested habitats. © New Zealand Ecological Society.

De Lange P.J.,Ecosystems and Species Unit | Rolfe J.R.,Wellington Hawkes Bay Conservancy | Townsend A.J.,Northland Conservancy
New Zealand Journal of Botany | Year: 2011

Crassula natans var. minus (Crassulaceae) is recorded for the first time from New Zealand, in the northern North Island at Lake Waiporohita, Karikari Peninsula. Native to southern Africa, this Crassula was previously known from Australasia only as a naturalized plant of Australia. Its discovery in the shoreline turf communities at Lake Waiporohita in mid November 2010 is regarded as a recent, natural dispersal event from Australia. Although Crassula natans var. minus has almost certainly naturally dispersed to New Zealand from Australia, it is regarded as naturalized to New Zealand rather than indigenous. A description of Crassula natans var. minus based on New Zealand specimens is provided. © 2011 The Royal Society of New Zealand.

Renner M.A.M.,Herbarium | De Lange P.J.,Ecosystems and Species Unit
New Zealand Journal of Botany | Year: 2011

Cheilolejeunea trifaria is recorded for New Zealand from two locations: Raoul Island in the Kermadec Islands group and Pitt Island (Rangiauria) within the Chatham Islands Group, the latter representing the world southern limit for this species. Thysananthus spathulistipus and Lejeunea exilis are also recorded for New Zealand; both having their only known occurrences within the New Zealand Botanical Region on the Kermadec Islands. Stenolejeunea acuminata is transferred to Lejeunea as L. hawaikiana nom. nov. This species (previously regarded as a New Zealand endemic) is, along with Lejeunea schusterii, newly recorded from the Kermadec Islands and Cook Islands groups. Lejeunea schusterii, a validly published name for Rectolejeunea denudata, is recognized here to reflect the increasingly supported view that most Rectolejeunea species are better accommodated within Lejeunea. Lejeunea schusterii (as Rectolejeunea denudata) had previously been regarded as a New Zealand endemic. © 2011 The Royal Society of New Zealand.

Smissen R.D.,Landcare Research | De Lange P.J.,Ecosystems and Species Unit | Thorsen M.J.,Otago Conservancy
New Zealand Journal of Botany | Year: 2011

As traditionally circumscribed, Simplicia buchananii is an endemic of north-west Nelson, New Zealand, with all known records coming from the Kahurangi National Park. Simplicia laxa is more widespread with historical records from the eastern Wairarapa, and Otago. Neither grass is common and both are listed as Threatened. In 2005, Simplicia was discovered near Taihape in the central North Island. These plants had morphological attributes of both S. buchananii and S. laxa. We explored genetic variation in Simplicia using amplified fragment length polymorphism DNA fingerprinting and DNA sequencing of the plastid trnL intron and trnL-F intergenic spacer and the nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer and external transcribed spacer regions. Populations in the Taihape area are referable to S. laxa. However, they and plants from a site in North Otago are genetically distinct from other South Island S. laxa plants and their taxonomic status needs further exploration. © 2011 The Royal Society of New Zealand.

Newman D.G.,Ecosystems and Species Unit | Bell B.D.,Victoria University of Wellington | Bishop P.J.,University of Otago | Burns R.,East Coast Bay of Plenty Conservancy | And 3 more authors.
New Zealand Journal of Zoology | Year: 2010

A reappraisal of the conservation status of the New Zealand frog fauna is presented using the 2008 version of the New Zealand Threat Classification System. Of New Zealand's four extant endemic species, three are judged to be 'Threatened' (Leiopelma hamiltoni being 'Nationally Critical', and L. pakeka and L. archeyi being 'Nationally Vulnerable') and one 'At Risk' (L. hochstetteri 'Declining'). Three Leiopelma species are listed as extinct-they are known from bone deposits in caves throughout the country until some time in the last 1000 years. Three introduced and naturalised Litoria species are abundant in New Zealand although two (L. aurea and L. raniformis) are threatened in their country of origin (Australia). An additional unidentified frog taxon from northern Great Barrier Island is listed as 'Data Deficient'. © 2010 The Royal Society of New Zealand.

De Lange P.J.,Ecosystems and Species Unit | Smissen R.D.,Landcare Research | Wagstaff S.J.,Landcare Research | Keeling D.J.,University of Auckland | And 2 more authors.
Australian Systematic Botany | Year: 2010

Circumscription and infrageneric classification of Kunzea is evaluated after phylogenetic analyses of nrDNA ITS and ETS sequences. Kunzea is monophyletic if the K. ericoides complex and the monotypic Angasomyrtus are included. The genus can be divided into western Australian, eastern Australian, and eastern Australian plus New Zealand clades. Angasomyrtus has greater affinity with the eastern Kunzea species, despite its western Australian endemic status. A new infrageneric classification is proposed, recognising four subgenera, with a further division into sections within two of these. A new combination in Kunzea is made for Angasomyrtus. © 2010 CSIRO.

Muasya A.M.,University of Cape Town | De Lange P.J.,Ecosystems and Species Unit
New Zealand Journal of Botany | Year: 2010

The New Zealand monotypic sedge Desmoschoenus is indistinguishable from the predominantly temperate South African Ficinia. Both genera share the presence of a condensed paniculate inflorescence and seeds bearing a gynophore, and Desmoschoenus is embedded within a Ficinia DNA phylogeny. Therefore, the current recognition of Desmoschoenus as a distinct genus cannot be justified, and we provide nomenclatural changes to merge the two genera. © 2010 The Royal Society of New Zealand.

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