THE JOURNEY

Terrestrial Ecology

Shelley McMurtrie
6 Jan 2014 - 17:07
Research Areas
Terrestrial Ecology
50 Degrees South Trust, Spruce tree on Campbell Island

An unruly, wind-blown, 100-year-old spruce tree on subantarctic Campbell Island is possibly the world's loneliest tree. Veronika Meduna visited it earlier in December 2013 with Jonathan Palmer, who analysed its tree rings to study the...

Shelley McMurtrie
30 Jul 2011 - 15:53
Outputs
Terrestrial Ecology
Campbell Island Bicentennial Expedition

Alex Fergus is giving a talk for the botanical society of Otago about the dramatic vegetation changes over the last 200 years of human occupation of Campbell Island.

The talk is on the 10th August 2011. Find out more at:
http://www.botany.otago.ac.nz/bso/...

Alex Fergus
7 Feb 2011 - 20:11
Research Areas
Terrestrial Ecology
Clearing the nets
Cutting down nets
Folding the nets
Mountford 2008 Chardonnay
Mountford 2008 Chardonnay

60 days of snow, rain, hail and gale has pelted the six 3 metre long insect nets that I installed with Steve C., Carla and Jo’s help just south of the base after our arrival. Against the demons of weather, the nets have stood strong, no doubt due to the clever hand of the net constructor, my Ma, and her sewing machine.

For 2 months I have daily cleared the amassed invertebrate treasure, often with Carla’s assistance, and with Carla and Mark covering for me when I have...

Norm Judd
2 Feb 2011 - 20:32
Research Areas
Terrestrial EcologyHistory and Archaeology
The Bivvy - 1981
The Bivvy - 2011

Many of the historic sites that were easily seen in 1981 are now obscured by scrub and other vegetation. I have included two images here that show the rate of vegetative growth on Campbell Island over the last 30 years.

The first image is one I took on my 1981 visit to the island. It shows posts and a central pole of what may have been a small tent camp from the early farming era beginning 1895 – a site now known as the ‘Bivvy’. In the middle distance are two...

Carla Meurk
29 Jan 2011 - 20:27
Island Life
Terrestrial Ecology
Missing data

Unfortunately, in spite of our best efforts, we will leave the island without complete datasets ...

[Carla Meurk]

Colin Meurk
15 Jan 2011 - 21:40
Research Areas
Terrestrial Ecology
Diminutive Comb Fern
Microherb
Flowers of a Mat Coprosma
Onion-leaved Orchid
Prasophyllum
Two Kiokio Fern Species
Two Kiokio Fern Species
Kiokio Fern

There are many things that draw people to studying and exploring nature. Just being able to experience the miracle of life in the course of your work is a great privilege – even if most of the time you are desk-bound and enveloped in the tedium of writing grant applications. Anyway, I digress. This is about those moments of personal and scientific discovery – finding something never known before. These can be grandiose theories and principles; but I get a thrill out of much...

Steve Wagstaff
9 Jan 2011 - 21:22
Research Areas
Terrestrial Ecology
Panoramic View
P. Criniferum And Hookeri Hybrid
Pleurophyllum Criniferum Habit
Damnamenia Vernicosa Flower
Pleurophyllum Speciosum Flower

Early botanists exploring Campbell Island were astounded by the lush herbaceous plants that they called megaherbs. Megaherbs encompass a diverse array of plants including Bulbinella, Stilbocarpa, and Anisotome, but the large showy daisies in the genus Pleurophyllum are arguably the most striking. Three species are included in the genus, which is endemic to the subantarctic islands. All three are found on Campbell Island. They hybridize in various combinations, which suggests reproductive...

Steve Wagstaff
9 Jan 2011 - 20:43
Research Areas
Terrestrial Ecology
Dwarf Dracophyllum Forests
D. Longifolium Growth Habit
D. Longifolium Flowers
D. Scoparium Growth Habit
D. Scoparium Flowers

With nearly 50 species, New Zealand is the centre of diversity for the genus Dracophyllum. Dracophyllum longifolium ranges widely on the mainland of New Zealand, but is also found on Stewart, Auckland and Campbell Islands, whereas D. scoparium has a perplexing distribution being found both on the Chatham Islands and Campbell Island, but not on the mainland.

At low elevations on Campbell Island they form almost impenetrable dwarf forests, which can reach up to 5 meters high, but...

Steve Wagstaff
2 Jan 2011 - 20:01
Research Areas
Terrestrial Ecology
Cushion Plant Panorama
A Tight Cushion
A Close Association
Oreobolus

Most plants perished from Antarctica as global temperatures cooled and the ice sheets advanced. Cushion plants and mosses were among the last plants to perish. Although the precise stratigraphical sequence and dates are controversial, fossil remains suggest that they may have persisted until the Pliocene Epoch about ten million years ago.

Cushion plants form expansive communities on Campbell Island. It is conceivable these plants are the descendants of Antarctic tundra vegetation....

Steve Wagstaff
1 Jan 2011 - 20:11
Research Areas
Terrestrial Ecology
Indigenous And Naturalized Plants
Cerastium Fontanum
Anthoxanthum Odoratum
Taraxacum Officinale

A number of exotic plants have become established and persist on Campbell Island. They are mostly associated with homestead or campsites or along tracks. The most common are range grasses such as Poa pratensis, Kentucky bluegrass, Festuca rubra, red fescue, or Anthoxxanthum odoratum, sweet vernal grass. A few such as Cerastium fontanum are found in coastal habitats at the high tide line or tussock or megaherb communites. They are mostly perennial herbs or grasses with seeds or fruits that...

Colin Meurk
26 Dec 2010 - 21:36
Research Areas
Terrestrial Ecology
Expedition Dwellings - 1971
Expedition Dwellings - 2010
Happy Elephant Seals

One of the simplest and most effective ways of visualising and evaluating change in vegetation is to go back to where historic photos were taken and take the exact same shot. It is amazing to see history happen in front of your eyes. We are fortunate in having many old photographs taken around Campbell Island going back as far as the 1880s – before there was much human-caused change in the vegetation. This is a bit of a base line.

As an example (I will provide some better...

Steve Wagstaff
26 Dec 2010 - 21:21
Research Areas
Terrestrial Ecology
Panoramic View
Abrotanella Rostrata
Abrotanella Spathulata

It is widely accepted that sympatric speciation occurs, but it has rarely been demonstrated and the process is not well understood; allopatric speciation (reproductive isolation by distance) being a more common mode of evolution. Island ecosystems provide a perfect venue to test these evolutionary phenomena.

Two species of Abrotanella are found on Campbell Island. Abrotanella spathulata is the more...

Alex Fergus
26 Dec 2010 - 20:38
Research Areas
Terrestrial Ecology
Penguin Bay, 2005
Rockhopper Pengiuns

Well not wrangle the Rockhopper's, but I am off to monitor chick survival. It’s been 6 years since I was at Penguin Bay, and the photos here date from then. In that short time it’s likely the population of Pengs has continued to decline, an ongoing trend since the 1940s.

I’m heading over to the Bay, about a 6 hour tramp across the heart of Campbell Island, to help out Kyle Morrison, a Canadian PhD student studying Rockhopper Penguin decline as part of a NIWA...

Steve Wagstaff
26 Dec 2010 - 20:28
Research Areas
Terrestrial Ecology
Panoramic View
Lush Megaherb Community
Polystichum Cysostegia
Mark Filming

On Dec 24 Mark Crompton and I set out on a botanical expedition to the saddle between Mt Azimuth and Mt Fizeau. These two peaks roughly bisect Campbell Island and offer outstanding views to the north and south. As the albatross glides it is only about three kilometres to the saddle, but the track winds through dwarf Dracophyllum forest, boggy tussocks, megaherbs and alpine tundra fellfields near the saddle.

Mark is a fine companion; I’d trust him with my life. He walks at a...

Colin Meurk
23 Dec 2010 - 21:35
Research Areas
Terrestrial Ecology
Mapping A Quadrat In 2010
Map Of Original 1970 Fence Line Quadrat
2010 Map Of 1970 Fence Line Quadrat
Quadrat 13
Quadrat 14
Sampling In Fog And Wind

What am I doing down here – 41 years since I first set foot on Campbell Island? I originally came down as a callow youth to set up a vegetation monitoring programme for recording the way plants responded to the eradication of sheep. This was carried out progressively between 1970 (northern part of Island), 1984 (all but southeastern tip of Island) and early 1990s when the last one was removed.

We are going back to check all those plots, transect lines and photo points (...

Alex Fergus
22 Dec 2010 - 21:16
Research Areas
Terrestrial Ecology
Rennell Expt. 1960
Rennell Expt. 2010

Rats like to gobble creepy crawly things (insects). But which ones do they like to gobble the most? And of those favourites, have any endured down here on Campbell Island? It’s now almost a decade since the furry devils were eradicated from the island, so no longer are things like the giant weevils and the local weta subject to regular chompings.

This series of nets is a replica of an experiment run in 1960; by comparing records from then to now I can see which insects have...

Colin Meurk
18 Dec 2010 - 21:38
Island Life
Terrestrial Ecology
My Honey
Dracophyllym Trees
Dwarf Forest Navigation
Weeping Mapou
Weeping Mapou
Lovely Bubbling Stream
Hymenophyllum Minimum
Spider Orchid
Spider Orchid

The Sitka Spruce planted in Camp Cove by Lord Ranfurly early last century has been erroneously reported as the southernmost tree in New Zealand. Of course trees go further south in Patagonia, but there are trees here already – it’s all a matter of definition.

Trees have been described as woody plants with a single trunk and canopy of foliage, a woody plant over 5 m tall and other height limits. The native heath trees on Campbell Island (2 species of Dracophyllum or...

Colin Meurk
16 Dec 2010 - 20:55
Research Areas
Terrestrial EcologyFreshwater Ecology
Gressit Experiment
Disgruntled Sea Lion
Honey Falls Stream - Sampling Site
Back Off
Scrubbing Rocks

Campbell Island is not really the place for fishnet stockings but nets are in this season. We know there are nets out across the oceans, possibly harming the fish stocks that the penguins and albatrosses dine out on. But here on the Bicentennial Expedition to Campbell there are smaller fish to fry – and some bigger!

The next thing I saw these heroic freshwater biologists doing was scrubbing the rocks for algae-inhabiting insects and crustaceans and then measuring the rocks;...

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