The Systematics Team brings together over 40 science staff researching New Zealand's most diverse groups of life on land and in freshwater.
Research addresses our native and introduced plants, insects and other arthropods, fungi, and plant-associated bacteria, to describe New Zealand's biodiversity and species interrelationships and to make that information readily accessible.
Currently, less than 50% of New Zealand's estimated total biodiversity in these groups has been recorded. Research is supported by Landcare Research's five national and international collections of these organisms, along with specialised databases and libraries. The biological collections also hold voucher specimens that authenticate biological studies in diverse branches of science.
Biosystematists link with colleagues in ecology, conservation, genetics, weed and pest control, plant pathology, bioprospecting, and biosecurity to provide authoritative names and specimen-linked information integral to the applied sciences. Increasingly, species identification and determination of species relationships involves DNA analyses in addition to morphological and biochemical approaches. Holdings of the national collections are a key source of DNA for these studies.