5-11 July 2014 – this week was the field component of a course in Island Biology for students studying at Victoria University, Wellington NZ.
We took eight students on various walks around the island to observe and learn about the volcanic origins of Lord Howe Island; the processes of long distance dispersal of the plant species found on the island today; and the various evolutionary pathways whereby many of these colonizing plants have adapted to local niches and habitats to eventually evolve into new species unique to the island; the impacts of humans on the flora and fauna, and the projects of the past 40 years to restore the environment.
Lectures throughout the week explained in more detail the topics covered in day walks. The highlight for all was the climb to the Goat House Cave at 420 metres above sea level, observing the changes in the flora with altitude; then the stunning view from the Cave.
The Museum was a base, where lectures were held each day. These students enjoyed visiting the island and learning first hand all the aspects of island biology that many people are only able to read about, plus the hospitality of the island while they were here.