Australian National Botanic Gardens

12.30 pm on Thursdays from 1 Feb to 29 Nov 2018 — 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

30 August –– Nature as muse: the interaction between art and botany

Julie Ryder

Julie, a Canberra textile designer and artist, will talk on the profound influences botany has had on her work.

Julie uses natural dyeing, mordant printing, screen-printing and embroidery as a language on cloth to tell narratives about place and people.

6 September –– The genus Acacia at home and abroad

Dr Richard Groves

Discover fascinating facts about the genus Acacia, the most species-rich genus in Australia. Acacia has special significance to us all as food, as nitrogen-fixers in ecosystems and in landscaping.

The genus Acacia is one of Australia’s significant exports and its impacts, both positive and negative, are only now becoming fully understood.

13 September –– History, human brain and scientific illustration

Dr Erin Walsh

Dr. Walsh will present a talk that brings together history, the human brain, and the place of scientific illustration in academia and the world at large. Drawing (pun intended) from her scientific and artistic practice, the talk will conclude with some step-by-step examples of how her illustrations are created.

20 September –– Landscapes of our hearts

Dr Matthew Colloff 

Find out about the evolving relationship between people and landscapes, how non-Indigenous Australians are re-framing their perspectives on the nature of the Australian environment, and how these perspectives contrast with and overlap those of Indigenous Australians.

27 September –– What does deep-sea drilling tell us about the former land vegetation of Antarctica and its extinction?

Dr Liz Truswell 

The continent of Antarctica once bore a land vegetation of some richness. But rock outcrops are very scarce on the continent, and we have to look at drill holes in the marine realm for the best evidence on the nature, decline and eventual extinction of this vegetation.

4 October –– Australian botany: the Vienna connection

David Stuart

Learn about the significance of the work of Ferdinand Bauer, the natural history illustrator on Flinders’ circumnavigation of Australia in 1802-03.

Bauer’s work conveyed in extraordinary detail and accuracy the unique biodiversity of the Australian continent. It included an extensive herbarium from his antipodean travels, which became a source for some of the major botanical works of the 19th century, including those of Bentham and Darwin.

11 October –– Great Scottish Gardens

Genevieve Jacobs

Genevieve will talk about design and display in Scottish gardens she has seen.

18 October –– Can vulnerable animals find new homes on private land?

Learn how wide application of market-based incentives to address threatened species conservation could help restore degraded habitat and connectivity as well as free up government funds to support less charismatic species and ecosystems.

25 October –– Can the world feed 10 billion people sustainably?

Associate Professor Jamie Pittock 

As the world’s population heads towards 10 billion people, is it possible to eradicate hunger and sustain a healthy environment as our governments have proposed in the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030?

Is it possible to decouple production of nutritious foods from consumption of natural resources like land and water in a changing climate?

This talk will draw on research on making irrigation more sustainable in Africa (Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zimbabwe) and on the trade-offs among hydropower and food security in the lower Mekong River region to illustrate key options for greater food security.

1 November –– Hedgerows for victory! Wild plant gathering to keep the wartime medicine cabinet stocked

Dr Laura Dawes

With the pharmaceutical industry dominated by Germany and Japan the sole manufacturer of bacteriological agar, Britain in World War II faced a national crisis: how to keep the medicine cabinet stocked?

The answer was ‘Hedgerows for Victory!’ – the wild gathering of plants and seaweed by volunteers to provide raw materials to British drug companies. Medical historian Laura Dawes tells the story of scientific inventiveness and the girl guides, boy scouts, and ladies of the Women’s Institute who rambled for Britain.

8 November –– Birds in revegetated habitat

Nicki Taws

Nicki, is from Greening Australia, which has been revegetating the ACT region for 35 years.

This talk will explore what we know about birds’ response to the re-establishment of native vegetation.

15 November –– In the footsteps of Alfred Russel Wallace

Emeritus Professor Jim Hone

Hear about the life and work of British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace in Indonesia, based on the speaker’s own travels from Sumatra to New Guinea.

Wallace is best known for his joint paper with Charles Darwin on the theory of evolution by natural selection. He also did major work on biogeography, which is now represented by the Wallace Line that separates the plants and wildlife of Asia from those of Australia. He also has many animals named after him.

22 November –– Plant-pollinator networks in Kosciuszko National Park

Dr Francisco Encinas-Viso

Francisco will speak about his current research using historic natural history specimens and field data to unravel the past structure of pollen transport networks in Kosciuszko National Park.

After matching the historic field data and plant specimens in the Australian National Herbarium, Francisco visits the areas where these specimens originated to find out how plant-pollinator communities have changed in the last decades.

29 November –– Climate change: tales of the future today

Dr Pep Canadell

Australia has seen unprecedented impacts of climate change in recent years, with extreme climate events superimposed on an always-increasing warming trend.

Pep will discuss some of these impacts, what makes them unprecedented, and their future evolution. He will also discuss current and emerging opportunities for mitigating climate change and stabilising the climate system.


12.30 pm on Thursdays from 1 Feb to 29 Nov 2018




Entry by donation