04 June 2009
The talk will look at our recent research on the flora and fauna of the Chatham Islands archipelago. In particular, I will report on the patterns that we have found by looking at about 40 endemic plant taxa and their closest relatives outside of the Chathams. The majority of endemics do not seem to differ from their mainland relatives and those that do seem relatively recent arrivals, well within the last 2-3 million years that geology tells us is when the Chathams emerged from the ocean. Another chunk of research on dune insects finds similar results. Both data sets also imply that the South Island is a major source for Chatham lineages. The Chatham's biota ends up being a fascinating data set on over-water dispersal and colonisation. There is plenty more to tell, but that can wait for a future blog.