Meeting with speaker: Dr Peter Weston on 'Gondwanic Plants'
& Christmas afternoon tea
|Date:||Saturday November 25|
|Venue:||Gumnut Hall, Gumnut Place, Cherrybrook. See map below|
|Time: ||2 - 4pm|
Dr Peter Weston, was formerly Senior Principal Research Scientist and now an Honorary Research Associate with the National Herbarium of NSW.
The idea of an ancient ancestral Gondwanan flora was first suggested by Joseph Hooker, Charles Darwin's closest scientific confidant, in 1853. He called it the "Antarctic flora" and although he had no idea what processes caused it, he was convinced that the repeated distributional pattern of over 100 genera and other "well marked plant groups" shared by Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia could not be explained by , appeal to "casual" means. The emergence of strong geological evidence for continental drift and plate tectonic theory in the late 1960s seemed to provide a general explanation for the pattern that Hooker had observed. Recent advances in biological science have provided powerful tools to test the idea that members of the Gondwanan flora drifted together on fragments of continental crust.
Peter will illustrate the plant groups found in the Sydney Region that show "Gondwanan" distributions and discuss recent scientific discoveries that allow us to reconstruct their history. Some of them did indeed drift with the continents but others probably dispersed over significant oceanic barriers to get to where they live today.