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Newsletter - December 2014

November Meeting
Doug brought in some spectacular trays of worldwide Muricidae, Heather some equally spectacular trays of NZ shells, and Margaret brought in a selection of rarely seen Antarctic shells. Margaret also brought in the Associate Emerita Medal that she recently received from the Auckland Museum.
Heather hoped that we could identify a dried out skull that she found the previous week in sand dunes at Karikari Beach. It was quite wide (about 20cm long, about 10cm wide, and about 6cm high) and had no apparent jaws. As this skull was made of cartilage rather than bone, the consensus in the room was that it was either a ray or a small shark - possibly a dog-fish.
Heather also brought in some unusual Mactra shells, about 4cm wide, from Hihi Beach (north of Mangonui). These had some of us puzzled because they did not appear to be of any known NZ species.

Anna Berthelsen, a PhD student at the Leigh Marine Laboratory, was our guest speaker - on two subjects. Her first presentation was about the ability of small grazing crustaceans (and lack of ability of grazing gastropods) to control the growth of epiphytic algae on coralline algal turf. This was the topic of her research thesis - a topic nominated by NIWA, and funded by one of their scholarships. Her thesis is now complete and will be published soon.
Anna's talk included photos of her field work, and graphs of her findings. Her method was to set up field sites in a variety of temperate and rocky reef marine habitats near to the Leigh Marine Laboratory. Insecticide pots were used to create areas of ungrazed turf, so that these areas could be compared with grazed control areas.
Measurements of algae and green & brown epiphyte growth were taken over several months, and these showed that overall growth in the ungrazed areas was about 2-3 times higher than in the grazed areas.
She achieved these results despite two cyclones coming through and wiping out all her experiments in the middle of her study.
One astonishing fact was that each square meter of coralline algal turf contains up to 100,000 minute grazing organisms. Some of these organisms are micro-molluscs, but the vast majority are minute arthropods.

Anna's second presentation was about her recent month long trip to the Austral Islands in French Polynesia. This was a biodiversity collection trip organised by Tom Trnski of the Auckland Museum.
Nine representatives from the Auckland and Australian Museums, as well as five crew, sailed on Braveheart - an old Japanese research ship. It took them eleven days to reach the Austral Islands from Tauranga.
These islands are the southernmost group of islands in French Polynesia, and are very remote. There are no flights to the islands, and a supply ship goes there only every 3 months. The islands are rugged, and over-run by wild goats. Birdlife consisted mainly of Tropic birds which appeared to do nothing except fly around. The surrounding seas contain a rich diversity of marine life, and the underwater visibility is excellent.
Anna showed us many amazing photos of this marine life - all taken by trip photographer Ian Skipworth (Skip).
The marine habitats ranged from coral reefs to macro-algal forest, and samples were collected by a variety of techniques, including fishing, diving, and night-time traps to over 100m.
One of the most interesting finds was a species of pelagic crab which lived in their own little micro-habitat - a piece of floating pumice! Every piece of floating pumice hosted one, or rarely two, of these unusual creatures.

Wanted
Have you any intertidal records from the east or west coasts of the northern part of the North Island (Waitemata Harbour, Northland) including the locality, date and collector, for the following species; Aplysia argus, A. juliana, A. keraudreni, A.parvula, Bullina lineata, Dendrodoris denisoni, Dolabrifera brazieri, Hydatina physis, H. albocincta, Umbraculum umbraculum.
This information is needed for a paper being written on "sea slugs" by Bruce Hayward, Richard Willan and Margaret Morley. Please send to mmorley@aucklandmuseum.com or ph (09)576 8323.

Next Meeting Annual General Meeting - Tuesday 9th December
Epsom Community Centre, 202 Gillies Avenue, Epsom at 7:30pm (doors open at 7pm).
Please bring in a favourite shell or display of shells, as well as a plate for our Xmas supper.

The A.G.M. agenda is as follows ...
1. Welcome, and apologies.
2. Presidents Report.
3. Treasurers Report.
4. Nominations for Committee Members for 2015 - volunteers are required for most of the key positions.
5. Discussion and suggestions about the running and future direction of our club.

As we will be having a serious discussion on the future of the club, we strongly encourage everyone to attend.
If you would like to add anything to the agenda then please contact our club Secretary or President.

After the A.G.M. we will have another sort out of our library contents because it is very rarely used and we will need to give up our storage cupboard at the Epsom Community Centre. Some books and other documents will be given away at the meeting.

We will finish the evening with our traditional Christmas supper. All are invited to come and enjoy the convivial atmosphere, and we especially welcome members who have rarely or never attended our meetings.

New Zealand Shell Show 2015
This will be held on 16-18/January/2015 at the Petone Club in Udy Street, Petone, Lower Hutt.

Latest news is that a Conchologists of America Award will for the first time be awarded at this Shell Show.
This award (consisting of a trophy and a pin) has been established to encourage open participation by shell collectors at Shell Shows, and to stimulate improvements in shell exhibits.

The COA Award is given to a single scientific (as opposed to artistic) display which best advances the interest in shells and shell collecting. It must be awarded to an exhibit which wins first place in its class, and which has not previously been awarded a COA Award unless at least 50% of its contents and format have changed. It may not be awarded to a professional malacologist or to a shell dealer unless, in the latter instance, the exhibit consists of entirely self-collected shells.

The COA currently gives out the COA Award to ten Shell Shows in America and five outside America, and this is the first time it will be awarded in NZ.

Shell Shows are the premiere events of our hobby, and they are held in NZ only once every two years.
They are an opportunity to get together with like-minded people and marvel at an amazing range of shell displays. Novice collectors are especially encouraged to participate, with a number of classes available for you. Don't miss out on what promises to be a very enjoyable weekend!

Show classes, rules & registration form, and transport & accommodation information are now available from the Wellington Shell Club website at www.wellingtonshellclub.org.nz.

Poirieria Magazine
The latest edition (Volume 38) is enclosed.
A big "thank you" to all contributors for the excellent articles!

Club Library
We have an extensive collection of books, magazines, and scientific publications available, as well as a biological microscope.

Other News
. As I cannot continue doing these newsletters next year, this will be the last one from me (Peter Poortman). Hopefully someone to take over this role (as well as Poirieria production) will be found at our A.G.M!

kelpbar

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