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NZPCN Annual General Meeting

The Network’s AGM will be held in Wellington at 6.00 p.m. on Tuesday 6th November at the Wellington Botanic Gardens Treehouse, 101 Glenmore St, Thorndon or via the Met Office at 30 Salamanca Rd (Salamanca is the best option for taxi drop offs).

The meeting will be followed by a presentation from Karin Van Der Walt titled ‘Ex situ conservation of Myrtaceae, a response to Myrtle Rust in the Pacific Region.’ See the abstract below.

There will be refreshments available. Public parking is available on Glenmore Street; there is no parking available at the Treehouse.

If any member has matters that they wish to discuss at the AGM, they are requested to inform the secretary, Matt Ward (mattdavidward@gmail.com) before the meeting.

Ex situ conservation of Myrtaceae, a response to Myrtle Rust in the Pacific Region.

Karin van der Walt

The discovery of Myrtle Rust (Austropuccinia psidii), in New Zealand in May 2017, resulted in all native New Zealand Myrtaceae species listed as Threatened.  Since A. psidii is a new pathogen in New Zealand ecosystems, the exact impact on species, community and landscape level is not known although global studies reveal significant impacts. Formerly widespread species such as Rhodamnia and Rhodomyrtus in Australia are now facing extinction in the next five years due to tree mortality and reproduction failure following the establishment of Myrtle Rust.  With limited control options for this wind borne pathogen, one of the most important actions involves the creation of genetically diverse ex situ germplasm collections. Although seed of some species such as Metrosideros, Leptospermum and Kunzea can be effectively stored using conventional seed banking methods, other species including Metrosideros bartlettii, Syzygium maire, Lophomyrtus and Neomyrtus require more research due to low/no seed production and seed characteristics.  Our work is focussing on seed characteristics and cryopreservation of Syzygium maire, hand pollination of M. bartlettii and establishing additional back up collections through tissue culture.

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