University of Otago botany PhD student Lars Ludwig has won a
prestigious national botany award, the fourth Otago student
in a row to win the annual award.
Otago botany department head Katharine Dickinson said Mr
Ludwig's recent finding of several lichen species and one
fungus, not previously recorded by scientists, near central
Dunedin also highlighted the city's remarkably high plant
The greater Dunedin area should be promoted as ''the
biodiversity capital of New Zealand'', Prof Dickinson said
this week. Other scientists have previously noted that, among
the country's main centres, Dunedin is home to the largest
number of native moth species.
Mr Ludwig, who is German-born, gained the Wellington
Botanical Society Tom Moss Student Award in Bryology for his
recent presentation at the John Child Bryophyte and Lichen
Workshop held on Stewart Island.
Bryophytes are a group of small, non-woody plants, including
In his talk, he discussed the reproductive ecology of a rare
subalpine bog lichen species, Icmadophila
splachnirima, which he is studying for his PhD thesis.
He also discussed several other species that he has found
during his field work, and that have not previously been
described by scientists.
''Interestingly, all of these new species were found within a
few kilometres from the Dunedin city centre,'' he said.
Prof Dickinson said winning the annual award four times in a
row reflected positively on the university and the
Mr Ludwig's success in spotting several ''new'' species
showed he had ''sharp eyes'', she added.
• Tom Moss was an active member of the Wellington Botanical
Society for many years, and was a participant in the first
John Child Bryophyte Workshop in 1983.