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Invertebrate herbivore biodiversity assessment tool.

What's new


What is Plant-SyNZ™

Plant-SyNZ™, pronounced plant signs, is the short name for a database of invertebrate herbivores found on New Zealand plants and for a new tool for assessing the biodiversity of insect and mite herbivores on native plants.


Invertebrate herbivore - host plant database

This database focuses on New Zealand native plants and New Zealand native invertebrate herbivores. It is linked to the Landcare Research nzflora and nzbugs (invertebrates) databases. The Plant-SyNZ database features a reliability index to show the quality of information supporting each association.


Plant-SyNZ herbivore biodiversity tool

Plant-SyNZ™ is a new tool for assessing the biodiversity of insect and mite herbivores on native plants. It is being developed by Crop & Food Research for use by professional scientists, lay people and school students. Insects are an important and numerous component of New Zealand’s biodiversity and it is important that they are assessed in biodiversity studies. Plant-SyNZ™ is based upon photographs of plant damage caused by the invertebrates and photographs of invertebrates that have a unique appearance on a particular plant. The tool is designed to be used for a wide variety of purposes and by people with different skill levels.

Central to Plant-SyNZ™ are invertebrate identification charts, which are laminated A4 pages featuring the photographs of plant damage. Each of these invertebrate identification charts covers only one plant species. The charts for each plant species are available for three levels of skill, student, standard and expert. The charts are accompanied by matching recording sheets. An example of an identification chart (pdf 82 KB) is also available.

A more detailed explanation of Plant-SyNZ™, including examples of identification charts as well as how to Plant-SyNZ™ might be used, is available.

Plant-SyNZ™ trial

During the first six months of 2004 Crop & Food Research is seeking feedback on the identification charts for five plant species in order to improve their presentation and content. We would like potential users of Plant-SyNZ™ to order one or more trial packs and after testing them out to return a questionnaire with feedback on the identification sheets.

During the trial, the plant identification pages will only be available in the trial packs from Crop & Food Research. This will ensure that users have copies with high quality photographs.


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