"Why do kereru (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae) eat what they eat?"
Astrid van Meeuwen (nee
Friday, 21st February 2003: 10.00 am - 11.00 am
Life Sciences Lab
Visitors may park at
About the Talk
"New Zealand has been isolated from other continents for about 80 million years. This has led to a somewhat unusual and impoverished flora and fauna. The New Zealand landmass has been colonised in many waves, the most recent of these associated with the arrival of humans. My PhD study looked at fruiting patterns, fruit features, dispersal and seed predation of native New Zealand fleshy-fruited species. I concentrated mainly on tree-borne fruits larger than 10-mm in diameter. There are several species with large tree-borne fruits in New Zealand and they currently only have one seed disperser (the native fruit pigeon, kereru, Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae). Historical evidence suggests that kereru might have been the sole effective disperser for most of the Quaternary. Thus the New Zealand large-fruited frugivore system is relatively simple.
Introduced mammals have impacted significantly on New Zealand forest ecosystems, including fruit production. An experiment was designed to measure the level of mammalian fruit consumption. Three paired forest patches, with similar topography, aspect and forest type, were selected. Mammalian pests were suppressed in three forest patches, but left unchanged at the paired site. This allowed comparison of fruit production and fruit phenology at sites with and without pest suppression and provided some measure of how pest mammals are disrupting the fruit-disperser system."
About the speaker
Astrid van Meeuwen is a Conservancy Advisory Scientist in the in the Department of Conservation, New Zealand.
Astrid was born in the Netherlands, but immigrated to New Zealand in her early teens. She has, over the last 20 years, undertaken a BSc, MSc and the recently completed PhD at the University of Auckland on the "Phenology and frugivory of large-fruited species in northern New Zealand and the impacts of introduced mammals".
Meanwhile she has had a varied career, culminating in her current employment as a Conservancy Advisory Scientist with the Department of Conservation in Wanganui. Her main job is to advise the people who work in the Conservancy (one of thirteen conservation regions in New Zealand) about scientific issues and to answer their queries.
Her rather eclectic background is a boon in this job since the questions can range from best sampling methodologies, to interpretation of genetic results, to identifying plants and spiders brought in by the public.
Her main interests are fruiting and flowering patterns of native species and how native and introduced species interact with native plants. Although this seminar will focus on Dr van Meeuwen's PhD topic, she would be happy to discuss other conservation issues as they relate to the Department of Conservation.
Locations of venues, Dept. Biological Sciences, NUS
refer to this map
Seminar Room 3 (SR3):
Seminar Room 4 (SR4)
Life Sciences Lab 7A-D
Raffles Museum AV Room
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Meetings of the Biodiversity & Ecology Journal Club, 2003
Huei-Ping Shen - "Biodiversity of terrestial earthworms in Taiwan". 14th March 2003
Jaap J. Vermeulen - "Sulawesi - Straddling East and West". 4th March 2003
Tzi Ming Leong, Daisy Wowor & Darren Yeo - "Natuna Revisited: A preliminary survey of Pulau Natuna Besar". 25th Feb 2003.
Charles Santiapillai - "Conserving the Asian Elephant in Sri Lanka". 19th Feb 2003.