Fieldwork at Auckland Museum – a curator's perspective
… cold, wet and damp conditions, be willing to put yourself in dangerous positions to get the job done. Sound like you? Then you could be a curator at Auckland Museum.
Every year Auckland Museum curators are out on expeditions collecting specimens for the continued research in their field of work. Why and how does this research help us understand the world we live in? What is it all for?
Come along and hear Tom Trnski – Head of Natural Sciences, Matt Rayner – Curator of Land Vertebrates, Ewen Cameron – Curator of Botany, John Early – Curator of Entomology, Wilma Blom – Curator of Marine Invertebrates, Louise Furey – Curator of Archaeology talk about their expeditions, everything from finding new fish species in the South Pacific to hanging on to rocks on Little Barrier Island just to catch a glimpse of the New Zealand Storm Petrel.
Bookings recommended at ticket desks, +64 9 306 7048 or online. A booking fee of $3 applies to each offsite transaction.
Free tickets for Circle and Institute Members can be secured by phoning +64 9 306 7048.
About the speakers and their research
Tom Trnski, Head of Natural Sciences
Tom coordinated and led two recent expeditions into the South Pacific. The first was to southern French Polynesia in October 2014, and the second in January 2015 started in Aitutaki, finished in Tauranga, but stopped on the way at Palmerston Atoll, Niue, Tonga and the Minerva Reefs, and Raoul Island. Along the way many discoveries have been made including some new species to New Zealand, hear why these are so important relating New Zealand’s marine biodiversity to that of the wider Pacific.
Matt Rayner, Curator of Land Vertebrates
Matt's research into endangered seabirds has taken him from far flung New Zealand offshore islands to the wider Pacific. His work combines field and museum collections to investigate the drivers of speciation in seabirds and provide knowledge of critically endangered species, such as the New Zealand storm petrel, to aid conservation efforts. Seabird field work is commonly remote, cold, wet, dark and risky. Perfect for those who hunger for adventure.
Ewen Cameron, Curator of Botany
Over the last three decades Ewen has surveyed the flora (vascular plants) many islands in the Hauraki Gulf producing baseline data. Recording both native and naturalised plants, and vouchering interesting species into the Museum herbarium. Most of the larger islands are relatively well-known but many of the smaller ones are totally unrecorded in terms of their flora. In recent years Ewen has been targeting several of the smaller islands and will share some of the findings with you.
John Early, Curator of Entomology
Rise in sea temperature of the East Australian Current (EAC) is having profound effects on marine life along the coast of New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. My collaborator, Dr Andrew Osborn, and I postulate that its effect on reducing the big brown bull kelp Durvillaea potatorum will have a flow on effect on the specialised insect community that use it as a food source when it is washed up on the beach after storms. My research investigates the kelp flies and the tiny parasitic wasps that live on them along the eastern Tasmanian coastline, which is strongly influenced by the EAC, and King I in Bass Strait where the temperature rise is much smaller. Results are preliminary and may be used as a baseline to monitor changes over time. I am also investigating the New Zealand kelp flies and their parasites and have discovered several new species in both Australia and NZ.
Louise Furey, Curator of Archaeology
Archaeological research on Ahuahu Great Mercury Island is a partnership between Auckland Museum and University of Auckland in collaboration with Ngati Hei. We are in Year 4 of a 10 year programme investigating the history of Maori occupation on the island. Ahuahu is mentioned in canoe traditions and is close to Opito, the source of basalt used for adze making, and found in early sites in North and South Islands.