Whanganui Science Forum’s next talk is on Tuesday, November 27, with Dr Shane Wright speaking on the flora of New Caledonia.
Titled Window On Gondwana, he covers such topics as:
■ Why is New Caledonia so much richer in plant life and species diversity than New Zealand when it is only 1/15th the size?
■ How has New Caledonia acted as a refuge for the plants of Gondwana?
■ Why does New Caledonia have the highest conifer diversity on earth? ■ Why is New Caledonia the only locale for Amborella, the oldest flowering plant on earth?
Dr Shane Wright is a biogeographer, teaching at the University of Auckland, who has worked in Oceania for many decades. He has a particular interest in the floras of the more ancient land masses such as New Caledonia. During the early 1990s he spent several months in that country working as part of an effort by Conservation International and the Native Forest Action Council to secure areas of protected land in that very impacted landscape. A substantial component of his teaching now includes study of New Caledonia and its ancient Gondwana biota. He has also travelled and worked extensively in South America.
■ Time: Tuesday, November 27, 7.30pm
Venue: Whanganui Regional Museum’s Davis Lecture Theatre, access from Watt St
Cost: Members $4, non-members $5 Supper provided.
Amborella is endemic to New Caledonia.