A study just published in Pacific Conservation Biology reveals that the Chatham Island toetoe (Austroderiaturbaria) populations have very little significant genetic variation (Houliston et al. 2012). The discovery comes as somewhat of a worrying surprise to plant conservationists. Previously, without the ability to check levels of genetic variation the Department […]
Unique to the Chathams, Cox’s matipo (Myrsine coxii) is a tough little plant well designed to withstand the weather with small leathery leaves and usually keeping under 2m tall. Surprisingly it flowers in winter, but not that you’d notice. You might however see the odd purple berry. It doesn’t appear […]
Mangere Island provides an important predator-free refuge to many rare and endemic invertebrates, birds and plants. Restoration first started on the island in the 1970’s with the Wildlife Service planting akeake shelterbelts in Douglas Basin and on the Top Plateau in an effort to expand the habitat available to black […]
In early July three Chatham Islands school children accompanied Department of Conservation staff to Rangatira or South East Island for a 4-day field trip. The primary purpose of the trip was to check and close Chatham petrel burrows for the winter, however this trip offered an ideal opportunity to expose […]
Status (2008):Population (2009):Trend: Critically Endangered600 individualsImproving Larger and heavier than its mainland cousin, the parea or Chatham Island pigeon is today largely confined to the south-western corner of Chatham Island. Like several other Chatham species the parea had a close brush with extinction, with the population dropping to 40-45 birds […]
Status (2012):Population (2010):Trend: Nationally vulnerable1,400 individualsImproving Probably once abundant throughout the Chatham Islands, human exploitation, habitat destruction and introduced predators saw the Chatham petrel restricted to Rangatira or Southeast Island by the time of its discovery in 1892. Until 1961 farming activity on Rangatira resulted in the petrels being confined […]
Status (2012):Population (2013):Trend: Nationally critical298 mature individualsStable Restricted to Little Mangere Island for over 80 years, the deteriorating condition of the small area of forest available to the birds and their resulting population decline saw the seven remaining birds transferred to a larger patch of bush on adjacent Mangere Island […]
Many of us are familiar with New Zealand’s variable oystercatcher, the black and white (or sometimes entirely black) wader with bright orange legs and bill that we encounter on beaches around the country. What most don’t know is that the Chatham Islands have their own version, the Chatham Island oystercatcher and that it narrowly escaped extinction in recent times.
While our knowledge of New Zealand lichens is rapidly growing we are still unclear of what is present over large parts of the New Zealand Botanical Region. One key area of lichen ignorance is the Chatham Islands. The current lichen flora (Galloway 2007) records just 48 species for the islands. Yet despite that, the Chathams are the type locality for three species, and one of these, Caloplaca maculata, is endemic to the islands (see Galloway 2007; Johnson 2008; de Lange 2009).
In 1996 two of us, Peter de Lange & Gillian Crowcroft, visited the islands for their first time during which they collected a few lichens from the southern part of Rekohu (Chatham Island). Since then, but most especially in 2007 and 2008, Peter de Lange (mostly aided by Peter Heenan), has made a special effort to collect lichens to improve our knowledge of their diversity on the island. As a result of these gatherings, Peter de Lange and David Galloway (the author of the New Zealand Lichen flora series (Galloway 1985, 2007)) are working with the other key Chatham Islands lichen collectors Peter Johnson and Allison Knight, and lichenologist Dan Blanchon to prepare a checklist of the lichen flora for that island group (Galloway et al. in prep.). As part of that project they have been systematically working through all known collections from the island group held in New Zealand herbaria. In the process some rather interesting and at times unexpected finds are being made.