The National Climate Laboratory—an Unappreciated Tool for Ecological Research
- Horticulture and Food Research Institute, Batchelar Research Centre, Private Bag 11030, Palmerston North, New Zealand
“A freezing chamber offers an easy place for such [frost] experiments... and ... valuable data as to the cold-resisting powers of our plants might be arrived at” (Cockayne, 1897).
The National Climate Laboratory was opened in 1970 and has been operating for the past 25 years (recently celebrating its anniversary) for both national and international scientists carrying out environmental research on plants and animals (Halligan, 1995). The facilities have been used by a wide range of plant and animal based researchers from the pastoral, horticultural, and forestry sectors involving a range of disciplines from agronomy, pathology, entomology, physiology, plant breeding and zoology. New Zealand ecologists have been conspicuously absent (in spite of the potential in controlled environment research seen by pioneering ecologists—see above quotation) and yet there has been a range of activities that are complementary to this discipline.