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Ecology and conservation, plants and fungi
Phone: +64 3 479 5131

I am a botanist with interests in the evolution, ecology and conservation of New Zealand's unique plants, and how they interact with pollinators, seed dispersers and microbial mutualisms.

My research is motivated by a desire to provide plant-based knowledge that will contribute to species conservation, improved ecosystem services and climate change mitigation. I am currently focused on plant, seed and fungal biology in relation to large-scale native reforestation, in the context of both ecological restoration and carbon sequestration. Current work also includes ecology and regeneration of rare plants, plant structural complexity and invertebrate diversity, limits of beech forest expansion, and effects of weed control methods on native plants and fungi.

I am also interested in traditional use of plants by Māori, particularly how mātauranga and botanical knowledge intersect with respect to plants used in textiles. I was responsible for the design of the 100% native 'greenroof' on the University of Otago's Greenstar-rated William James Building, and for Flora Finder, the smartphone application developed to help identify New Zealand's most common native trees, shrubs and weeds.

Research interests

Plant evolutionary ecology, reproduction and pollination biology; rare plant conservation; mycorrhizal fungi in ecological restoration; carbon sequestration by native plants; culturally important New Zealand plants.

Janice is Principal Investigator for the 1 Billion Trees project Ngā Kākano Whakahau in collaboration with Matt Larcombe and David Orlovich:

Listen to Janice explaining the significance of Mast Seeding for the 2019 Wild Dunedin podcast:
Wild Dunedin podcast (oar website)

Janice was recently invited to talk about the value of native trees for carbon sequestration in the Otago Climate Change Network seminar series, 24 September 2019:
Otago Climate Change Network (YouTube)

Janice is also a collaborator in the Alpine Ecology Research Group with a particular interest in alpine pollination mutualisms and impacts of climate change in alpine regions.
Alpine Ecology Research Group

Her research interests extend to other cold habitats such as the Subantartic islands. In a 2016 podcast from BBC's Planet Earth II, Islands Episode, she explains her interest in subantarctic megaherbs:
Subantartic megaherbs (BBC website)

Teaching involvement

Paper code Paper title
BIOL 123 Plants: How They Shape the World
BTNY 202 Plant and Fungal Diversity (course co-ordinator)
BTNY 301 Plant Ecology
BTNY 302 Plant Interactions
BTNY 465 Plants and Environment
BTNY 467 New Zealand Plant Ecology & Evolution
GENE 222 Genes, Chromosomes and Populations

Other departmental responsibilities

Research Theme involvement

Janice is a Research Affiliate of CSAFE (Centre for Sustainability), and a member of the Otago Climate Change Network, OCCnet. She is also involved with the Catchments Otago theme and teaches into the Genetics programme.

Ask A Scientist

Janice has been a regular contributor to the Otago Daily Times' Ask a Scientist column.

Visit the Ask a Scientist page to view the questions and Janice's responses.

Janice Lord image


Hartley, K. H., Guy, P. L., & Lord, J. M. (2024). A tale of two species: Pringlea antiscorbutica and Azorella polaris, sub-Antarctic scurvy remedies. Polar Record, 60, e7. doi: 10.1017/S0032247424000019

Walton, S., Lord, J. M., Lord, A. J., & Kahui, V. (2023). Conflicts between being a “good farmer” and freshwater policy: A New Zealand case study [In the field report]. Agriculture & Human Values. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s10460-023-10471-1

van Galen, L. G., Orlovich, D. A., Lord, J. M., Nilsen, A. R., Dutoit, L., & Larcombe, M. J. (2023). Correlated evolution in an ectomycorrhizal host-symbiont system. New Phytologist. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/nph.18802

van Galen, L. G., Orlovich, D. A., Lord, J. M., Bohorquez, J., Nilsen, A. R., Summerfield, T. C., & Larcombe, M. J. (2023). Zeta diversity differentiates factors driving community assembly of rare and common ectomycorrhizal fungi. Molecular Ecology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/mec.16860

van Galen, L. G., Lord, J. M., Orlovich, D. A., & Larcombe, M. J. (2023). The effect of stratification and shade on germination of Nothofagus cliffortioides (Hook.f.) Oerst seeds [Short communication]. New Zealand Journal of Botany, 61(4), 351-360. doi: 10.1080/0028825X.2022.2156355

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