Glistens with Nectar

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Marion Wassenaar
Dr Janice Lord
David Allen


“To glisten with nectar”—to allude to the title of the artists’ book associated with this project — conjures up an image of moisture-laden, seductive abundance, like a carpet of winter snow shimmering in sunlight. However, it is not sunlight that informs this project, but the hours of darkness on the subantarctic islands. Plant evolutionary biologist Janice Lord studies the insects that visit the megaherbs endemic to this region during the night and investigates their prospects as plant pollinators. Megaherbs, with their large leaves and brightly coloured flowers, are a group of herbaceous perennial wildflowers that have adapted to survive the extreme weather conditions on the islands. An insect of particular interest to Lord is the nocturnal Campbell Island wētā, Notoplectron campbellensis, belonging to the orthopteran family Rhaphidophoridae that includes the cave wētā, an insect endemic to New Zealand.

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Author Biographies

Marion Wassenaar, Dunedin School of Art, Otago Polytechnic

Marion Wassenaar holds an MFA from the Dunedin School of Art. She specialises in print practices, with a research interest that focuses on the collision between humans and their environment, either through social justice or ecological concerns. She currently lectures in the Print Studio at the Dunedin School of Art.

Dr Janice Lord, University of Otago

Dr Janice Lord is a senior lecturer in the Botany Department at Otago University. She is a plant evolutionary biologist with interests in plant reproductive strategies and traditional uses of plants by Māori.

David Allen, Blind Foundation

David Allen holds an Amateur Extra Class license from the US Federal Communications Commission and has over 20 years’ experience teaching blind people how to use their computers, mobile phones and electronic notetakers. He has been blind since early childhood and worked for a number of blindness organisations and consumer groups before launching Blind-Sight with Paula Waby in 2013.