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The Department of Botany aims for excellence in research and embraces two core areas: Biodiversity and Ecology and Functional Plant Biology.

These core areas are not separate but represent two ends of a spectrum, from ecosystem science to how plants function, and are interlinked through our four broad research themes; flora and evolution, ecosystem processes and services, environmental change and resilience, and Physiological processes.

Research Themes

New Zealand flora and evolution

Understanding the New Zealand flora, documenting and classifying diversity (taxonomy) and discovering evolutionary history (phylogenetic systematics, evolutionary processes) underpin ecological and applied research. The Department of Botany takes a broad view of the flora and for our purposes we include land plants, fungi, algae, cyanobacteria and viruses.

Ecosystem processes and services

Understanding ecosystem processes and function and the services that ecosystems provide are fundamental to addressing some of the challenges and problems that face society in the 21st Century.

Environmental change and resilience

Addressing problems associated with environmental global change such as the effects of changing climatic conditions, ocean acidification, and the impacts of invasive organisms.

Physiological processes

Understanding how photosynthetic organisms function, from the molecular and cellular level to the whole-organism level. This research links strongly into themes 2 and 3, for example, studies on carbon cycling, primary productivity, nutrient and stress physiology.

For more information, see our publications and individual staff profile pages.

Research projects

Research groups



Kath and Alan field work Rock and Pillar

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