Polistine and vespine wasps were captured in Malaise traps in two fire-modified shrubland habitats of varying canopy height and composition at Lake Ohia, Northland, New Zealand. Prey consumption rates were calculated for the Asian paper wasp (Polistes chinensis antennalis) occupying these two areas of shrubland and a home garden in Whangarei, Northland. The sites were systematically searched for nests and wasp prey determined by intercepting foragers returning to nests.
We sampled soils and vegetation within and outside two sheep and rabbit exclosures, fenced in 1979, on steep sunny and shady slopes at 770 m altitude on seasonally-dry pastoral steeplands. The vegetation of sunny aspects was characterised by higher floristic diversity, annual species, and low plant cover. Here the exotic grass Anthoxanthum odoratum dominated on grazed treatments, and the exotic forb Hieracium pilosella on ungrazed. Shady aspects supported fewer, and almost entirely perennial, species.
The Humped-back theory of plant species richness, a theory related to Grime's C-S-R 'triangular' model, has been widely discussed, and some evidence has been claimed in support of it. The theory suggests that species richness is maximal at intermediate levels of productivity, i.e., at intermediate positions on a stress/favourability gradient. We sought evidence for the theory from 90 stands of native podocarp/broadleaved and beech forest in the Coastal Otago region, with an adjustment made for the effect of stand area on species richness.
Aspects of the production and vegetative performance of Calluna vulgaris (heather) were examined in four areas of New Zealand between 1981 and 1983; Tongariro National Park in the North Island, together with Mount Cook National Park, the Wilderness Scientific Reserve, and Ben Callum peat bog in the South Island. The height and height/width quotient of Calluna bushes, the diameter increment of woody stems and the amount of flowers/stem all decreased with altitude.
A range of slack vegetation in southern New Zealand was described by detailed sampling of four dune slacks, contrasting in topographic situation and in vegetation. Comparison is made with a slack previously sampled on Stewart Island. The five slacks differed markedly in the plant communities present. One slack, where there was considerable peat accumulation, was dominated by the megaherb Phormium tenax and the restiad Leptocarpus similis.
Prey collected by Vespula vulgaris and V. germanica were sampled by intercepting foragers returning to nests at two sites in scrubland-pasture near Hamilton. About 12% of returning foragers carried animal prey and 5% carried wood pulp. The remaining 83% carried no external load. The most common prey item for both species was Diptera, followed by Lepidoptera and Araneae (spiders). Even in similar habitats the two species collected different prey, with V. germanica collecting more Diptera and V. vulgaris more Lepidoptera.
In honeydew beech forest in the South Island of New Zealand, introduced Vespula vulgaris wasps are now very abundant. Approximated biomass estimates indicate that Vespula (mostly V. vulgaris) biomass (mean estimate at peak = 3761 g ha-1, averaged over the year = 1097 g ha-1) is as great as, or greater than combined biomasses of birds (best estimate = 206 g ha-1), rodents (up to 914 g ha-1 in some years, but usually much lower) and stoats (up to 30 g ha-1). Relative V.
There has been considerable ongoing debate about the extent to which the impacts of introduced deer on native vegetation have replaced those of moa, and since the 1980s there have been major changes in thinking about the impacts of deer and ratites on ecosystems. Although it has long been known that deer caused a predictable sequence of changes in forest understorey composition, recent work has shown that the foliage of species preferred by deer contains lower concentrations of fibre – and decomposes faster – than avoided species.