Contacts - Canterbury University Press - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Second volume of NZ biodiversity inventory published

18 January 2011

The second of three volumes offering a comprehensive stocktake of New Zealand’s entire biological biodiversity has been published by Canterbury University Press.

New Zealand Inventory of Biodiversity, Vol 2New Zealand Inventory of Biodiversity (Volume 2), edited by NIWA biodiversity scientist Dr Dennis Gordon, mostly deals with the major branch of the animal kingdom known as Ecdysozoa (moulting animals), which includes arachnids, centipedes and millipedes, crustaceans and insects. It also includes the enigmatic phylum Chaetognatha (arrow worms) and concludes with a chapter on the fossil traces – Ichnofossils – of ancient animal activities.

When complete, the three volumes, involving the work of more than 220 New Zealand and overseas specialist authors, will offer the first full review and inventory of New Zealand’s entire known species of animals, plants, fungi and micro-organisms – some 55,000-plus species – covering all of life through all of time and in all environments, from the Cambrian to the present day. This includes native and introduced, and living and fossil species.

Well-known phylogeneticist Tim Littlewood from the Natural History Museum, London, reviewed the first volume in the Quarterly Review of Biology earlier this year and called it a “spectacular volume that will serve as a textbook and reference source for a wide-ranging, global audience”.

“Whether amateur or professional, scientist or policymaker, readers will grasp insight into the diversity of animal life, the importance of the New Zealand fauna, and guidance as to where our ignorance lies. This is an important puzzle piece in the global biodiversity jigsaw.”

The three volumes are associated with Species 2000, an international scientific project which aims to record all known species on Earth in one online list called the Catalogue of Life. Volume three of the inventory will be published by Canterbury University Press late 2011.

Dr Gordon is a Principal Scientist at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in Wellington and is one of New Zealand’s leading biodiversity scientists. In 2005 he was the recipient of the New Zealand Marine Sciences Society lifetime achievement award and is engaged in biodiversity activities both nationally and internationally, including serving on the international teams co-ordinating the production of the Catalogue of Life and the World Register of Marine Species.

New Zealand Inventory of Biodiversity (Volume 2) will be officially launched in Auckland in February.

  • New Zealand Inventory of Biodiversity (Volume Two), edited by Dennis P. Gordon, published by Canterbury University Press, January 2011, RRP NZ$89.95, Hardback, 280 x 210mm, 544 pp, incl. 32 pp colour, ISBN 978-1877257-93-3.

For further information please contact:
Stacey Doornenbal
Canterbury University Press
University of Canterbury
Private Bag 4800
Christchurch 8140
Tel: +64 3 364 2984