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Conchology Section
Auckland Museum Institute

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Newsletter - August 2000

With the return of the travellers from Queensland, Glenys was back to welcome members. We will hear of their adventures next month.
We welcomed new member Alison Staines and her twin sister Heather.
Glenys has written to the World Wide Fund for Nature asking for funding towards publishing John Morton's book.
Bruce Hazelwood reports collecting six species of Delos landsnails of between 3 - 6mm from around Auckland. Of these six, only two are already recognised.
Jack Grant-Mackie mentioned that one of the research projects being undertaken is on silica deposits of 20 million years in the Coromandel Peninsula. In one, a host of small snails, possibly Potamopyrgus, were found. The oldest are between 20 - 25million years old. No other fossils of this age, apart from leaves and spores, had previously been found.
Peter Poortman had an unexpected find recently when he discovered three fresh Cochlicella barbera on his lounge floor late one night. A very unusual location considering that this introduced species is normally restricted to coastal sand dunes. He eventually concluded that they must have come from his tent which he spread out to dry a few days earlier after camping on long wet grass south of Bland Bay.
Celia McLoughlin brought in two sinistral specimens, a Buccinulum vittatum from Milford in May 1984, and a Marginella pygmaea from a Deep Water Cove dredge in April 1981. These species will be added to our list.
For her degree in Applied Science, Shannyn Matthews is working on the spread of Musculista senhouseni. Margaret Morley has questionnaires (with stamped reply envelope) for anyone with information to fill in and send to her please, regarding localities, dates etc.
Collector Andrew Spurgeon's personal website is now linked to ours. It includes a full listing of NZ mollusca plus many very good shell photos.
Belgian Bruno Anseeuw who requested Chitons last month is delighted at the ones he received and would appreciate more. His address is: Mispelstraat 18, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium or email
Library books are available on request, on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, when Volunteers are there.

Jack Grant-Mackie showed one of Mike Eagle's reconstructions of associations of ancient organisms. He explained that it may not be 100% correct and we can only make guesses by using the present as a key to the past. This is called the Principle of Uniformitarianism. Until proven otherwise, environments have modern analogies.
Ecological requirements of past association of organisms are similar to modern ones. Paleoarchealogical reconstructions try to show a reason for any unusual features which are not there by chance, and one assumes there must have been some benefit. Largely, this is by applying general characteristics to understand function and form.
Jack showed slides of fossils in rocks and explained how they can be read to form a picture of their habitat. Judging by the species found in his example, the rock probably came from what was once a harbour edge. Another example showed remains that mostly pointed in the same direction. From this we can determine the flow direction of the current, the composition of the rock can reveal the type of sediment these organisims lived in, and we can also infer which species lived in association with each other. A geological whodunnit.


Two corrections to the membership list are:

The shell auction has been rescheduled from Sunday evening to Saturday evening due to popular demand. It will now take place after the prize-giving which will be held in the hall at about 8:30pm. Dinner will be at a nearby restaurant prior to the prize-giving.

Trophies will be awarded in the following categories:

Many thanks to Gladys Goulstone, Joan Coles, and the Malacological Society of South Australia for the donation of new trophies.
Note that all exhibitors must supply their own display cases. Peggy Town and Rae Sneddon have spare display cases if anybody needs some. Contact Peter if you need any assistance in obtaining cases.
Volunteers are needed for the Shell Show, i.e. entry desk, kitchen, security, setting up, and clearing up afterwards. Please let Peter know if you can help.

FIELD TRIP A joint Field trip with the Geology Club is planned for 24th September to Ihumatoa for a tour of the Fossil Forest.
We are to meet at the end of Renton Rd. at 10.30am. Since it is also Clean Up Week, we are advised to wear gumboots or other sturdy gear and have gardening gloves or other adequate protection.
Should the weather look inclement, ring Bruce Hayward between 9.30 and 10am at 523 1667 for alternative dates.

Peter Poortman brought in his home-made measuring device which worked very well because he won both categories.
His Turbo smaragdus from Horseshoe Bay, Stewart Island measured 83mm, and his Bulla quoyii from a washup at Karikari Bay measured 64mm.
The two species for next months competition are Perna canaliculus and Dicathais orbita.

12 September 7.30pm. Auckland War Memorial Museum.
Entry by the Administration door between 7:15 and 7:45pm. No late admittance.
Several of those who went off to Queensland to the Shell Shows at Townsville and Yeppoon will talk about their trip.

Margaret Morley: Ph (09) 576 8323
Peter Poortman: Ph (09 817 5697: Email


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