Pisum sativum – pod and peas

The pea is a member of the legume family Fabaceae in the order Fabales. This is the 3rd largest family of flowering plants and contains many commercially valuable species.

This model shows the structure of the pea seed pod, also called legume. The model opens to show the arrangement of the seeds (peas) inside.

The collection also contains a model of the flower of this species.

23 Pisum pod open

Marchantia polymorpha – Archegonium and spore capsule

This model is one of a series depicting various stages of the complex lifecycle of this tiny liverwort species. Marchantia polymorpha is dioecious, with plants being either male or female and may reproduce sexually or asexually. The starshaped model is of an archegonium which contain female gametophytes and produces ova which will be fertilised by sperm from a male plant. The fertilised ovum will develop into a small sporophyte, this then produces spores in a spore capsule (pictured in the second photo) on its underside.  Spores are released and develop into free living gametophyte plants.

Marchantia polymorpha – Antheridia

This model is one of a series depicting various stages of the complex lifecycle of this tiny liverwort species. Marchantia polymorpha is dioecious, with plants being either male or female and may reproduce sexually or asexually. This model is of an antheridia contain male gametophytes and produces sperm which will fertilise an ovum on a female plant. The fertilised ovum will develop into a small sporophyte, this then produces spores which develop into free living gametophyte plants.

Little Blue Penguin (Eudyptula minor)

The little blue penguin is also known as just the blue penguin, the fairy penguin and is known as the Kororā in Māori. They are found on the coast all the way around New Zealand and southern Australia. They hunt during the day and nest at night along the coast not far from the high tide mark.

The McGregor Museum holds both taxidermied and skeletal specimens as shown below.

Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus)

The salt water crocodile is an apex predator in estuarine and river systems. Their large size, powerful bite, quick accelleration and below-surface camouflage combine to allow crocodiles to take a range of animals that visit the water’s edge. Feeding in these, the largest extant reptiles, can be considered infrequent as being ectothermic and relatively inactive allows each meal to go a long way.

The McGregor Museum holds two large skulls of adult saltwater crocodiles which are accompanied by a taxidermied juvenile shown breaking out of an egg.

McGregor Museum: The Site

The McGregor Museum is housed in the Old Biology Building on the City Campus of the University of Auckland. This museum was named for Prof. W.R. McGregor, the Zoology professor who collected the bulk of the material for use in the teaching of biology and zoology classes at the university.

This web-site is forever growing as more of the collection becomes digitised. It has been prepared to share some of the resources that are available in the McGregor Museum with fellow staff at the University of Auckland and the wider educational community. We encourage the use of these images for educational use in both university and school settings, wherever in the world that you are. Museums need to be seen and appreciated and we feel a “living museum” needs to be widely used, which is made easier through sharing content via the internet.

Thanks to a University of Auckland Teaching Improvement Grant (to Amanda Harper, Brendon Dunphy, David Seldon and Mary Sewell) for the set-up and initial content of this web site. Web site design and construction is thanks to Simon Collings, Elliot Brown and Caroline Aspden (School of Biological Sciences, UoA). Colour photographs and movie clips of museum specimens are credited to Tim Page (Faculty of Arts, UoA), Black and white historic images are from Archives (School of Biological Sciences, UoA), audio commentary of museum specimens is by Joan Robb with help from Lindsay Baragwanath, Panoramas of the McGregor rooms are thanks to Brian Donovan (Centre for Academic Development, UoA), and all teaching charts were scanned by Igor Drecki (School of Environment, UoA).

Visits to the McGregor Museum can be arranged by appointment through the Curator, Dr. Mary A. Sewell (m.sewell@auckland.ac.nz).

Pisum sativum – Pea flower

The pea is a member of the legume family Fabaceae in the order Fabales. This is the 3rd largest family of flowering plants and contains many commercially valuable species.

This model shows the specialised structure of the pea flower with its combination of fused petals and interesting arrangement.
The collection also includes a model of the legume (pod) containing seeds (peas).

Sheep Skull

The museum houses a variety of different mammalian skulls which are great teaching aids for topics such as eco-morphology, by comparing the different shapes and sizes of homologous structures between species of differing ecology.

Below is the skull of a sheep (Ovis aries), a herbivorous animal that selectively feeds on the tender, new growth of grasses and herbaceous plants. This discerning feeding behaviour is paralleled by the morphology of the teeth in that incisors are only present on the lower jaw where they are opposed, on the upper jaw, by a hard palate. Together these two surfaces act as knives on a chopping board to cut through fine foliage. The sheep’s molars are ridged to increase the efficacy of the grinding motion which is brought about by the lateral movements of the jaw. Being herbivorous means being able to focus on one individual (ie a prey item) is not crucial but remaining vigilant for potential predators remains important, as such, the position of the eye sockets in sheep (and most herbivores) is very lateral allowing (in conjunction with pupil shape) a view of up to 320 degrees.

This example of a herbivore’s skull can be compared to those of carnivores and omnivores.

 

Brassica napus – rape

The Brassica genus, also known as mustard or cabbage family of plants contains an enormous number of commercially valuable species.  Brassica napus, also known as rape or rapeseed (one of the more recent cultivars is canola) was of value in the 19th century as a source of lubricant for steam engines.

This model is designed to come apart to show detail of the internal flower structure. The attention to detail of form is beautiful right down to venation of the petals.

   

Peccary skull

The museum houses a variety of different mammalian skulls which are great teaching aids for topics such as eco-morphology, by comparing the different shapes and sizes of homologous structures between species of differing ecology.

Below is the skull of a Peccary or Javelina (Tayassu tajacu) an omnivorous animal, meaning it eats both plant and animal material. Their variety of diet means that omnivores, such as the peccary, have a range of medial features between carnivores and herbivore. As can be seen on the peccary skull the teeth at the front of the jaw have the sharp chopping incisors and the stabbing canines while the teeth grouped together at the back of the jaw have both cutting premolars and grinding molars. The position of the eye sockets is also medial as they do not have the range of a herbivore but are not as forward facing as a carnivore.