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The five-day congress, hosted by the University of Otago, focuses on ''Southern Lands and Southern Oceans: Life on the Edge?''Prof Mark, an eminent University of Otago botanist and leading conservationist, said he had experienced the frustration of having some of his own research rejected by northern hemisphere scientific journals, given northern hemisphere conditions and findings differed greatly from those in the south.
Southern researchers had had ''great difficulty'' in having their work published in the north and there had been a tendency to believe southern hemisphere research was of only ''regional'' significance before the Southern Connection grouping had been established 20 years ago.
However, some southern hemisphere processes, including major ocean currents, were clearly of global significance, he said.
Prof Kath Dickinson, co-convener of the latest congress, officially launched the latest edition of a book by Prof Mark, titled Above the Treeline: A Nature Guide to Alpine New Zealand, at a congress function, attended by several hundred people, at the Otago Museum last night.
Prof Mark said many of New Zealand's alpine plants and animals were relatively small, but they were often highly distinctive and of great significance.
Of more than 750 alpine plants cited in the book, 95% were found only in New Zealand.
Several other researchers also contributed to the book.