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Evolution in Isolation: Island Syndrome in Plant and Animals

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Wellington Zoo

200 Daniell Street

Wellington, Wellington 6021

New Zealand

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Isolation has an interesting impact on wildlife - come along to find out about the weird and wonderful life that has evolved on islands.

About this Event

Biologists have long been fascinated by island animals because they break all the rules. Speedy, nervous little birds repeatedly evolve to become plump, tame, and flightless on islands. Equally strange and wonderful plants could also have evolved on islands, yet much less is known about them.

Come along to hear from Dr Kevin Burns, Professor of Biology at Victoria University of Wellington and author of the recently-released book, Evolution in Isolation, and Wellington Zoo staff, Anna McKenzie-Pollock and Dannielle Rae who both have recent experience working with unique island wildlife.

A short presentation will be followed by an opportunity to ask all you’ve wanted to know about the weird and wonderful life that has evolved on islands, and a chance to buy a copy of the book Evolution in Isolation: The Search for an Island Syndrome in Plants and have it signed by the author.

Professor Kevin C. Burns

Professor Burns started his academic life in California; completing his undergraduate degree at the University of California, Berkeley, and his PhD at the University of California, Los Angeles.

He moved from North America to New Zealand in 2001 to take up a role in the School of Biological Sciences at Victoria University of Wellington.

Now, living on an island, his research interest are close to home—he studies what shapes plant life on islands and had recently achieved a life-long dream of publishing his first book: Evolution in Isolation: The Search for an Island Syndrome in Plants , published by Cambridge University Press.

Anna McKenzie-Pollock, Team Leader of Conservation Engagement at Wellington Zoo, recently spent a week on Te Pākeka/ Maud Island. She assisted Department of Conservation and Victoria University with the annual survey of Maud Island frogs. Anna will talk about the findings of the research and why off-shore islands are such important refuges for some of our native flora and fauna.

Danielle Rae, Keeper at Wellington Zoo recently returned from working with one of the Zoo’s conservation partners Madagascar Fauna and Flora (MFG) undertaking an ecological fauna survey at Ivoloina Zoological Park. This study was to determine the species utilising in the forests surrounding the zoo and identify whether or not the introduced Asian Common Toad was present within the park boundary. Danielle will talk about the conservation challenges that island syndrome presents and how community understanding and action can impact conservation goals.

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Wellington Zoo

200 Daniell Street

Wellington, Wellington 6021

New Zealand

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