Australian National Botanic Gardens

12.30 pm on Thursdays from February through November — Theatrette

Our Thursday lunchtime talks cover diverse aspects of the natural world in Australia and around the globe.

The talks are aimed at a well-informed general audience and everyone is welcome.

Please email Doug Laing with any questions about our Thursday talks.

Upcoming talks

5 March | Biodiversity Science in the Future. Creating Order in the Acronym Soup of Organisations

Dr Peter Schalk 

Peter is Deputy Director, Naturalis Biodiversity Center, The Netherlands and the Executive Secretary of Species 2000.  He will discuss the Catalogue of Life, the world’s most comprehensive and authoritative index of known animals, plants, fungi and micro-organisms, created in 2001 as a partnership between the global Species 2000 and the American Integrated Taxonomic Information System. This global index of species names and synonyms, now counting 1.9 million valid species, will further science and promote sensible measures in the context of climate change and biodiversity loss.

12 March | Simpson Desert Revisited – More Than Plants!

Dr Rosemary Purdie

In July 2019 Rosemary, a plant ecologist, spent two weeks botanising on a camel-supported walk in Munga-Thirri National Park in the eastern Simpson Desert.  She will talk about the landforms and associated plants and animals seen during the dry conditions, cultural artefacts in the area traversed, and what happens when you “just add water”.

19 March | Connecting Indigenous and Scientific Plant Names

Dr Linda Broadhurst

Linda, Director of the Australian National Herbarium, will discuss a proposal to co-develop processes and practices with Indigenous communities to connect Indigenous and scientific plant names to improve the conservation and management of our Australian flora.  The current approach to naming plants does not recognise Indigenous plant names and concepts, and fails to acknowledge the deep understanding of our biodiversity held by Indigenous Australians.

26 March | The History of the Potato and its Viruses

Professor Adrian Gibbs

Adrian is a virologist.  Potatoes were part of the trans-Atlantic ‘Columbian Exchange’ of the 16-17th centuries.  The details of the origin of the European potato have provided lively debates, however ‘molecular palaeontology’ is now sorting out possibilities, not only for the potato, but also its pathogens, especially potato virus Y.  Adrian will discuss the latest findings.

2 April | Latitudinal Gradients in Seed Predation, Seed Defence and Seed Dispersal

Dr Si-Chong Chen

Si-Chong is an ecologist working on the macroecological patterns in seed ecology at the Millennium Seed Bank, Royal Botanic Gardens, Key, United Kingdom.  Dr Chen’s research tests the hypothesis that seed predation and seed defence are more intense at lower latitudes, finding that both pre-dispersal seed defences and predation are more significant in more tropical climates at higher latitudes than previously expected.

9 April | The Decline of the Entomofauna and its Drivers

Dr Francisco Sanchez-Bayo 

Francisco, from the Department of Environment and Energy, Canberra, works on the environmental impact and risk of chemical contaminant and ecology.  He will discuss the serious and dramatic rates of decline worldwide in the biodiversity of insects.  The main drivers are:  habitat loss; pollution; biological factors; and climate change.

16 April | Planting Democracy: Plantings, Places and People in the Parliamentary Triangle

Dr Anna Howe

Anna, an urban geographer, has discovered on her many walks around the Parliamentary Triangle, how those who created this landscape have expressed our democracy and changing national identity.  Now facing increasing and diverse demands, how will this centre of the nation continue to evolve?

23 April | The 3 R’s: Riccia, Riella and Research

Dr Chris Cargill

Chris, Curator of the Cryptogam Collections at the Australian National Herbarium, will talk about her latest research on the fascinating and beautiful thalloid liverwort Riccia. Chris will also discuss her collaborative projects with colleagues from Victoria to Valencia on the enigmatic, aquatic liverwort Riella and the halophytic Monocarpus sphaerocarpus.

30 April | The New Banksia Garden at the Gardens

David Taylor and Kevin Collins

David Taylor, Curator of Living Collections, ANBG, and Kevin Collins, Banksia specialist from Western Australia, will talk about the new Banksia Garden at the ANBG.  They will take you through some of the challenges, thinking, planning and collaboration that has gone into bringing this garden to reality and why all the efforts are worthwhile.


12.30 pm on Thursdays from February through November




Entry by donation