Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

Otari Native Botanic Garden launches a laboratory

Otari Native Botanic Garden launches a laboratory for plant conservation

Otari Native Botanic Garden and Wilton's Bush Reserve has taken a major step forward in its history, taking on scientific research aimed at saving native plant species.

The Lions Otari Plant Conservation Laboratory is now in operation on the site, focusing on seed germination and long term storage, including how seeds can be stored at -196degC in liquid nitrogen and then germinated into normal plants.

Once this process has been perfected, more species can be stored safe in the knowledge it can be germinated when needed for restoration or research.

The laboratory, a small prefabricated building, was set up with $72,000 raised by the Lions Club of Karori and more than $50,000 worth of work from Wellington City Council.

“Otari is the only public botanic garden in New Zealand dedicated solely to native plants. Now it is entering the field of laboratory seed research – a massive step,” says Mayor Justin Lester.

“The garden has a history of research – collecting plants and seeds from the wild – and propagating them, but never like this.

“It will contribute to the knowledge of how we can preserve the seeds of endangered native species. No other botanic garden in the country is doing such work.”

The lab will help fulfil part of the Council’s commitment, through its botanic gardens, to the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, under the Convention on Biological Diversity.

It will collaborate with Plant & Food Research, Kew Millennium Seed Bank, Te Papa, Victoria and Massey Universities.

Councillor Peter Gilberd, who holds the city’s science portfolio, says Otari is a national taonga.

“The commissioning of the new lab could not be more timely as we confront climate change, and diseases such as sudden decline, myrtle rust and kauri dieback.”

Conservation and Science Advisor Karin Van Der Walt says: “There are endangered species in New Zealand that will benefit from this work.”

Among the first seeds being cryopreserved (stored in liquid nitrogen) are those of swamp maire tree (Syzygium maire) and the work is complementing similar research being done on Syzygium species in Australia.

Otari, in collaboration with Te Papa are also working on Bartlett’s rātā (Metrosideros bartlettii) – New Zealand’s rarest tree with just 13 left in the wild in three separate populations. Metrosideros species are at risk from Myrtle rust.

Using pollen from another Bartlett’s rata tree at Auckland University, the tree at Otari was pollinated and viable seed collected.

They can now investigate various ways in which to store and grow the seed and to increase the wild population “If we don’t do this, the species could go extinct in the wild,” Van Der Walt says.

Otari is also doing research on native orchids, and the shrubs ramarama (Lophomyrtus bullata) and rohutu (Lophomyrtus obcordata) both threatened by myrtle rust.

On a more local level, the lab will work with Council’s nursery in Berhampore to investigate why some species are difficult to grow.

In October they plan to start researching the seeds of Dactylanthus taylorii – New Zealand’s only fully parasitic flowering plant – which attaches to roots of trees.

The Māori name for Dactylanthus is "pua o te reinga," meaning “flower of the underworld”. Dactylanthus is currently regarded as nationally vulnerable to extinction.

Otari Team Manager Rewi Elliot says the research will increase knowledge on New Zealand seed germination and long-term storage providing opportunities to support threatened species populations in the wild.


The public will get a chance to see the lab from the outside when Otari-Wilton’s Bush holds an open day on Saturday 22 September from 10am-2pm.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Science Advisors: Stopping Family Violence – The Evidence

A new report “Every 4 minutes: A discussion paper on preventing family violence in New Zealand” by Justice sector Chief Science Advisor, Dr Ian Lambie, discusses the evidence and asks us, as a community, to get involved...

Dr Lambie says family violence is widespread and goes on behind closed doors in all suburbs, affects the childhoods of many New Zealanders, and disturbs adult and family relationships. More>>

 

Conflicts, Inadequacies: IPCA Finds Police Investigation Flawed

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that a Police investigation into inappropriate contact between a teacher and a student in Gisborne in 2014 was deficient in several respects. More>>

ALSO:

PM's Press Conference Multimedia: Grace Millane, ACC Levy Hold, Absent Execs

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern began her Monday post-cabinet press conference with an emotional comment on the murder of English backpacker Grace Millane. More>>

ALSO:

Child Poverty Monitor: Food Poverty Due To Inadequate Income, Housing Cost

The latest Child Poverty Monitor released today by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner reveals alarming facts about children suffering the impacts of family income inadequacy, says Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG). More>>

ALSO:

Open Government: Proactively Release Of Ministerial Diaries

All Government Ministers will for the first time release details of their internal and external meetings, Minister for State Services (Open Government) Chris Hipkins announced today. More>>

ALSO:

Billion Trees: Questions Over Shanes Jones Carbon Claims

“Officials estimate the actual value of the One Billion Trees (OBT) scheme will be just a third of the amount Mr Jones claimed, at about $900 million, and that he padded the number by including $800 million of ETS benefits and $1 billion of business-as-usual activity..." More>>

'Sovereignty Concerns': Plans To Sign UN Migration Pact

New Zealand is likely going to sign up to a United Nations migration pact this week as long as it can iron out a concern around sovereignty. More>>

ALSO:

Most Vulnerable Face Most Risk: Sea Level Rise Threatens Major Infrastructure

The burden of sea-level rise will weigh on the most vulnerable unless a new approach is developed and legislated, a new report says. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels