GSNZ Taranaki branch meeting

7:30 PM
12:00 AM

Disabled Citizens Craft Centre, 83 Hine Street, New Plymouth

GSNZ Branch event

180 million years of the forest biome in New Zealand: New insights from fossilized wood with Matthew Vanner, University of Otago

Forests have been the dominant vegetation type in New Zealand since Gondwanan times and their fossil remains (palynomorphs, leaves, fruits, seeds and wood) are found throughout New Zealand. The fossil wood flora of the South Island and the Chatham Islands is poorly known, with only four sites of Miocene and one of Cretaceous age reported in the literature. In order to further our understanding of these paleo-forests, fossil wood was collected from 25 new sites of Jurassic to Miocene age and identified using wood anatomical structures. Jurassic gymnosperm samples were collected from the Catlins area, Productus Creek, and Low Hills. Gymnosperm wood of Cretaceous age was identified from Amuri Bluff, Conway River, and the Chatham Islands. Eocene sites included Boulder Hill, which yielded angiosperm legume wood, a first from New Zealand, and Hampden Beach, which yielded possible palm wood. Two Oligocene sites, Pomahaka and Cosy Dell, yielded both gymnosperm and angiosperm wood. Wood of Miocene age was collected from 14 sites. Gymnosperms included Araucarioxylon and Podocarpoxylon. Miocene angiosperms included Casuarinoxylon, Eucalyptoxylon, Araliaceae, Scrophulariaceae and Violaceae. These records provide new insights into the extensive fossil flora and forest ecosystems of Zealandia, though much remains to be investigated.