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Contact details +64 (06) 356 9099 ext. 84830
I was born in Colombia, South America but have been living in New Zealand since 1990. Since I completed my MSc degree in the US in 1987, I have been living and working on islands: first the Galapagos Islands (2 years), then England (1 year) and finally New Zealand. I am fascinated by island species and their behaviour and conservation problems.
Roles and Responsibilities
Currently I focus mainly on researching native birds behavioural ecology, conservation, and parasites, but have started some research on Powelliphanta snails and introduced species, in particular ship rats. For example, I have put together a small team of graduate students (so far 10 graduate students and two post-docs) and we are studying the foraging, breeding and social behaviour of kiwi, and how rats and other introduced mammals compete with kiwi for food. So far we have discovered new senses that allow kiwi to carry out their nocturnal life and found that they have a flexible mating system that includes polyandry and extrapair copulation. In terms of parasites, the research thus far has focussed on finding out what parasites are there and what effects they have on the health of their hosts. We are discovering new species of parasites some which are endemic to our native species. I am thus becoming increasingly interested in parasite conservation!
I have research interests in two areas: behavioural ecology and the relationship between parasites and their hosts. The underlying link between these subjects is conservation. I am interested in how an animal's behaviours are affected by the environmental changes caused by human colonisation and how, in turn, the behavioural responses of the animals to those changes are bound by their evolutionary history. For this part of my research I have focussed on working with endemic endangered species that have behaviours that I consider of particular interest. I am also interested in the effect of parasites on the hosts' ability to survive under natural and under conservation management conditions; and the ability of native parasites to survive the management we employ on their hosts.
Field of research codes
Animal Behaviour (060801): Animal Structure and Function (060807): Behavioural Ecology (060201): Biological Sciences (060000): Ecology (060200): Ethology and Sociobiology (060304): Evolutionary Biology (060300): Infectious Agents (060502): Life Histories (060308): Microbiology (060500): Terrestrial Ecology (060208): Zoology (060800)
Behavioural Ecology, Conservation Biology
Maori in Conservation