Pollination & plant reproduction
An international research team, including a New Zealand researcher, used an almost 40-year data set to look at trends in European beech trees producing a synchronised mass seeding known as a mast. Masting has been a beneficial behaviour for such trees, however, the study shows that climate warming has disrupted this process. Such changes mean that the main beneficiaries of climate-driven increases in seed production are seed predators, not plants. Journal/conference: Nature Plants
Conservation managers should not exclude native weka birds from their restoration projects and sanctuaries, new research suggests. It turns out the flightless birds are surprisingly good at dispersing the seeds of native plants, an important "ecological service" that needs to be weighed against weka's occasional taste for penguin eggs or endangered geckos, concluded University of Canterbury and Department of Conservation researchers. Weka "tend to get a bad rap … but we didn't understand ...
Cross pollinating apples - VIDEO Cross pollination is a method of mating 2 plants. For apples, it involves taking pollen from the flowers of 1 apple plant and introducing it to the female parts of another plant with a different genotype. In this video, Richard Volz from Plant & Food Research explains how breeders carry out cross-pollination and the advantages of this method over open pollination in a breeding programme.
Let’s look at flowers — STUDENT ACTIVITY In this activity, students will look at flowers and identify the different reproductive parts. By the end of this activity, students should be able to: identify different parts of a flower and understand their functions; and use some of the vocabulary of botany.
Artificial pollination - VIDEO Dr Mark Goodwin of Plant & Food Research explains what artificial pollination is and why it is needed for kiwifruit. Some work of the company PollenPlus™ is shown, including their QuadDuster spraying pollen onto kiwifruit vines. Mark describes research he is doing on honey bees and kiwifruit pollination, with footage of research associate Heather McBrydie working on kiwifruit vines.
Pollination resources – planning pathways — PLD ARTICLE & INTERACTIVE Flowers are a common sight in most New Zealand school grounds. They offer a colourful starting point to teach about plant reproduction and adaptation and offer opportunities to extend into horticulture, agriculture and native ecosystems.
The pollination problem - VIDEO Many New Zealand birds have declined in numbers, so Dave Kelly and Jenny Ladley of University of Canterbury study the effect this has on native bird-pollinated plants. Dave explains the need to use experiments to answer questions and outlines why we need to look after interactions between plants and birds, not just the individual species.