Characterising land biota
This Portfolio is primarily responsible for the preservation, maintenance, and development of five Nationally Significant Collections and Databases, associated data-infrastructure, and related systematics research that underpins the scientific value of these biological collections and supports end-user needs.
It implements research priorities that were agreed with key stakeholders (iwi, DOC, MPI, EPA, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa). New opportunities for discovery and accurate definition of our biodiversity are being realised by the combination of innovative sequencing technologies, collections management, modern electronic infrastructures, classical taxonomy, phylogenetics and biogeography.
This portfolio helps support iwi development, cultural heritage initiatives, and underpins their conservation management. Research includes our ethnobotanical information resources and nationally significant living collections of harakeke (Phormium spp, flax) and tī (Cordyline spp, cabbage trees); and our broad consultation with iwi on how to manage DNA extraction from specimens held in the Allan Herbarium.
Key research partners include Te Papa (plant systematics); Te Papa and NIWA (New Zealand Organisms Register – NZOR; electronic Flora); the Allan Wilson Centre (evolutionary pathways); Plant & Food (Botrytis genetics) and Auckland Museum, Scion, University of Canterbury, Massey University, Lincoln University, University of Otago, University of Waikato and Australia’s Virtual Herbarium partners (NZ Virtual Herbarium).
Research priority areas:
- Allan Herbarium (CHR)
- Ethnobotany Collection
- New Zealand Arthropod Collection (NZAC)
- International Collection of Microorganisms from Plants (ICMP)
- New Zealand Fungal Plant Disease Collection (PDD)
- Biodiversity informatics
- New Zealand Organisms Register (NZOR)
- Defining biota initiatives