Dr Marion MacKay staff profile picture

Contact details +64 (06) 356 9099  ext. 84815

Dr Marion MacKay

Senior Lecturer in Environment Management

School of Agriculture and Environment

Marion has a BHortSc (Hons) from Massey University and a PhD from Massey University.  Her main research focus is the range and diversity of exotic woody plants held in botanic gardens and plant collections in New Zealand and the management and utility of that plant diversity.  Marion now leads a research team on diversity and conservation of Rhododendron; a large genus with some 730 Red List species. Over 2016-18 Marion has published about 18 articles on Rhododendron conservation and, working with colleagues in London and around the world, is developing a global conservation strategy for the genus.  She is also undertaking contract research to develop a conservation programme for the rare Rhododendron species held in New Zealand collections.  This work follows-on from items such as participation in the Rhododendron Red-List conservation assessment panel (2008) and the award of the Peter Skellerup Plant Conservation Award (2009) and the American Rhododendron Society Research Award (2010) to the research team.  Marion has given several international addresses on the New Zealand research, including the Global Conservation workshop for Rhododendron (2018) and the Global Botanic Gardens Congress (2014). 

In a second project on utility of exotic flora in New Zealand, Marion ir part of a reserarch consortium investigating the diversity of Juniperus communis in New Zealand and the potential for development of a juniper 'berry' production system in New Zealand.

With respect to native flora Marion is involved in native forest restoration of the 350 ha Pukeiti Forest in Taranaki and in 2011 published "Plants of Pukeiti Forest" (585pp).   A susequent project on regeneration of kauri forest at Limestone Downs in Waikato is ongoing.  In 2013 she was appointed to the research team who is developing a seed bank for New Zealand flora (New Zealand Indigenous Flora Seed Bank) and Marion has contributed to the target species aspect of this programme.  In 2012 Marion presented the annual Banks Memorial Lecture to the Royal New Zealand Insititute of Horticulture, covering her work on both native and exotic flora.

Over time Marion has examined theses and reivewed papers on topics such as endangered species, restoration, urban trees, urban wetlands, and impacts on native flora.  She has also supervised or co-supervised Masters and PHD theses such as:

  • Fayaz. A. 2013.  Biodiversity of Rhododendron in New Zealand and its potential contribution to ex-situ conservation.   Unpublished PhD thesis, Massey University. 
  • Foo C.L. 2012.  Ground cover plants for weed control in amenity horticulture.  Unpublished PhD thesis, Massey University. 
  • Yu, K. 2015. The Effect of Desiccation on Seed Storage of New Zealand Indigenous species: Clianthus spp, Carmichaelia muritai, Pittosporum crassifolium, and Pittosporum eugenioides. Unpublished MAgSc thesis, Massey University.

Marion's resarch focus is on the understanding and managing of plant biodiversity, both native or exotic plants, in natural or urban landscapes, and the management approaches that are needed to manage that resource.   She has a combination of expertise in both native and exotic plants, and management processes that can be applied to a range of research topics.

Marion is a Senior Lecturer in Horticulture and Environmental Management who specialises in plant biodiversity and the conservation and management of plant-related aspects of the landscape/environment.  Her current research examines the diversity of exotic plants in cultivation in New Zealand and their utility for international conservation programmes.  The genus Rhododendron is the current focus; in 2017-18 Marion has been working with an international group to develop a global conservation strategy for this genus.  Marion also studies New Zealand indigenous flora including native forest restoration projects and the target species programme of the New Zealand Indigenous Seed Bank project. 

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Professional

Contact details

  • Ph: +64 6 9517815
    Location: AH 3.02B, AgHort
    Campus: Manawatu

Prizes and Awards

  • Exotic Flora: Rhododendron Conservation Project. Awarded funding of £750 from the Sibbald Trust (UK) and £340 from the Rhododendron Species Conservation Council (UK) for travel to Edinburgh for a conservation workshop in 2013. - Sibbald Trust (UK), Rhododendron Species Council (UK) (2013)
  • Exotic Flora: Rhododendron Conservation Project. Awarded funding of $2000 in 2012 and $4000 in 2013 from the New Zealand Rhododendron Association to support the Rhododendron Conservation Project. - New Zealand Rhododendron Association (2012)
  • Exotic Flora: Rhododendron Conservation Project. Awarded the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture's Peter Skellerup Plant Conservation Award in 2009/2010. - Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture (2009)
  • Exotic Flora: Rhododendron Conservation Project. Awarded the American Rhododendron Society Research Award in 2009/2010. - American Rhododendron Society (2009)

Research Expertise

Research Interests

  1. Development of international conservation programmes for plant biodiversity in botanic gardens and plant collections, with current projects on the genus Rhododendron.
  2. Utility and management of exotic flora in New Zealand, with current projects on Rhododendron and Juniperus.
  3. Conservation and seed-banking of New Zealand flora.
  4. Management of the environment, with a focus on plant biodiversity.

Research Opportunities

  • Seed-Banking of New Zealand flora  (01/02/2014) There are research opportunities (subject to funding) to work with the seed bank research team to study various topics on the collection and storage of seeds of New Zealand flora.
  • Diversity and conservation of Rhododendron  (01/02/2014) There are opportunities (subject to funding) to work with the Rhododendron research team on aspects of biodiversity and development of conservation programmes for the genus Rhododendron.

Thematics

Resource Development and Management

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Agricultural And Veterinary Sciences (070000):
Conservation and Biodiversity (050202): Environmental Management (050205): Environmental Rehabilitation (excl. Bioremediation) (050207): Environmental Science and Management (050200): Environmental Sciences (050000):
Horticultural Crop Growth and Development (070601): Horticultural Production (070600)

Keywords

Plant biodiversity and conservation

Ex situ conservation

Environmental or Landscape Management

Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Project Leader 0 5

Research Outputs

Journal

MacKay, M. (2018). A project to develop an ex situ conservation plan for Rhododendron species in New Zealand collections. Rhododendrons International. 2(2), 122-127 Retrieved from https://www.rhododendron.org/ri-index.htm
[Journal article]Authored by: MacKay, M.
MacKay, M., & Hootman, SE. (2018). Examining the significance of the Rhododendron collection at the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden (Federal Way, Washington State, USA).. Rhododendron Species. 13, 55-69
[Journal article]Authored by: MacKay, M.
MacKay, MB. (2017). Uncommon Rhododendron species in New Zealand – are there any at the bottom of your garden?. The New Zealand Rhododendron. 5, 32-39
[Journal article]Authored by: MacKay, M.
MacKay, MB. (2017). Development of a New Zealand ex-situ conservation strategy for Rhododendron: project report to the end of June 2017. The New Zealand Rhododendron. 5, 26-29
[Journal article]Authored by: MacKay, M.
MacKay, MB. (2016). Vireya from west and east: Diversity and distribution of vireya rhododendron, Rhododendron subgenus Vireya. The New Zealand Rhododendron. 4, 64-69
[Journal article]Authored by: MacKay, M.
Mackay, MB., & Gardiner, SE. (2017). Geographic analysis of red list rhododendron (Ericaceae) taxa by country of origin identifies priorities for ex situ conservation. Blumea: Journal of Plant Taxonomy and Plant Geography. 62(2), 103-120
[Journal article]Authored by: MacKay, M.
MacKay, MB., Smith, GF., & Gardiner, SE. (2017). New Zealand collections of Rhododendron as a resource for ex situ conservation. New Zealand Journal of Botany. 55(2), 193-214
[Journal article]Authored by: MacKay, M.
MacKay, M., & Gardiner, SE. (2017). A model for determining ex situ conservation priorities in big genera is provided by analysis of the subgenera of Rhododendron (Ericaceae). Biodiversity and Conservation. 26(1), 189-208
[Journal article]Authored by: MacKay, M.
MacKay, MB. (2017). Vireyas from west and east: Distribution and conservation of Rhododendron section Schistanthe. American Rhododendron Society Journal. 71(3), 20-33
[Journal article]Authored by: MacKay, M.
Mackay, M., Smith, G., & Gardiner, SE. (2016). Analysis of geographic and taxonomic groups informs conservation of Rhododendron subgenus Vireya (Ericaceae). Blumea: Journal of Plant Taxonomy and Plant Geography. 61(3), 170-180
[Journal article]Authored by: MacKay, M.
MacKay, MB. (2016). Early Rhododendron collections in New Zealand: Species collected by Douglas Cook. The New Zealand Rhododendron. 4, 38-45
[Journal article]Authored by: MacKay, M.
MacKay, MB. (2016). Development of an ex situ conservation plan for Rhododendron species in New Zealand. The New Zealand Rhododendron. 4, 26-27
[Journal article]Authored by: MacKay, M.
MacKay, MB. (2013). Report of the Rhododendron Species Conservation Conference: April 21-22, Edinburgh. The Rhododendron. 1, 6-9
[Journal article]Authored by: MacKay, M.
MacKay, MB., & Gardiner, SE. (2012). Rhododendron DNA fingerprinting project – update.. The New Zealand Rhododendron Association. (100), 65-66
[Journal article]Authored by: MacKay, M.
MacKay, MB., Fayaz, A., Wiedow, C., Smith, G., & Gardiner, SE. (2012). Vireya Rhododendron in New Zealand: Potential for international conservation. New Zealand Garden Journal. 15(1), 23-29 Retrieved from http://www.rnzih.org.nz/RNZIH_Journal/Pages_23-29_from_2012_Vol15_No1.pdf
[Journal article]Authored by: Fayaz, A., MacKay, M.
Emerson, L., MacKay, BR., Funnell, KA., & MacKay, MB. (2002). Writing in a New Zealand tertiary context: WAC and action research. Language and Learning Across the Disciplines. 5(3), 110-133 Retrieved from http://wac.colostate.edu/llad/v5n3/emerson_etal.pdf
[Journal article]Authored by: MacKay, M.
Bowring, J., & MacKay, MB. (2001). Landscapes that last?. Landscape New Zealand. , 15-17
[Journal article]Authored by: MacKay, M.
Foo, CL., Harrington, KC., & MacKay, MB. (2011). Weed suppression by twelve ornamental ground cover species. New Zealand Plant Protection. 64, 149-154
[Journal article]Authored by: Harrington, K., MacKay, M.
MacKay, M. (2010). Rhododendron DNA fingerprinting project: Update. Pukeiti Journal. (1), 16-18
[Journal article]Authored by: MacKay, M.
Foo, CL., Harrington, KC., & MacKay, MB. (2010). Comparison of weed control techniques to establish three ground cover species. New Zealand Plant Protection. 63, 96-101
[Journal article]Authored by: Harrington, K., MacKay, M.
MacKay, M. (2009). The Rhododendron red-list workshop: Singapore 2008. New Zealand Rhododendron Association Bulletin. 97, 20-30
[Journal article]Authored by: MacKay, M.
MacKay, M. (2008). Are New Zealand Rhododendron collections important in international conservation?. Pukeiti Magazine. (1), 9-11
[Journal article]Authored by: MacKay, M.
MacKay, M. (2008). Some of the plants found in the Pukeiti Forest. Pukeiti Magazine. August 2008(1), 7-14
[Journal article]Authored by: MacKay, M.
Emerson, L., MacKay, BR., MacKay, MB., & Funnell, KA. (2006). A team of equals: Teaching writing in the sciences. Educational Action Research. 14(1), 65-81
[Journal article]Authored by: MacKay, M.

Book

MacKay, MB.(2011). Plants of Pukeiti Forest: A visual record of the Pukeiti Forest Project. New Zealand: Fantails Publishing
[Authored Book]Authored by: MacKay, M.

Report

MacKay, M., Hootman, SE., Smith, GF., Thomson, D., Gardiner, SE., & Smith, P. (2018). Updated global analysis for ex situ conservation of Rhododendron L. (Ericaceae). Report to Botanic Gardens International, January 2018. Massey University and Botanic Gardens Conservation International.
[Commissioned Report]Authored by: MacKay, M.
MacKay, MB., & Hootman, SE. (2017). Examining the significance of the Rhododendron collection at the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden. Massey University.
[Commissioned Report]Authored by: MacKay, M.
McGill, CR., & MacKay, MB.(2015). Baseline data for Kauri regeneration and vegetation change following pest control in the Limestone Downs Bush (second report). Palmerston North, New Zealand: C. Alma Baker Trust
[Technical Report]Authored by: MacKay, M., McGill, C.
MacKay, MB., & McGill, CR.(2014). Baseline data for kauri regeneration and vegetation change following pest control in the Limestone Downs bush. Report to the C.Alma Baker Trust on Research Activities 2013-2014.. Palmerston North
[Technical Report]Authored by: MacKay, M., McGill, C.
MacKay, MB., & McGill, CR.(2012). Limestone Downs Bush Biodiversity. Report to the C.Alma Baker Trust on Research Activities 2009-2010.. Palmerston North
[Technical Report]Authored by: MacKay, M., McGill, C.
Brockerhoff, E., Given, D., Ecroyd, C., Palmer, J., Burdon, RD., Stovold, T., . . . Blaschke, P. (2004). Biodiversity: conserving threatened introduced species. Forest Research CRI.
[Commissioned Report]Authored by: MacKay, M.

Conference

MacKay, M. (2018, April). Overview of Rhododendron Conservation. Presented at Rhododendron Species Conservation Workshop. Oak Spring Garden, Upperville, VA, USA.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: MacKay, M.
MacKay, MB. (2013, April). Ex situ conservation of Rhododendron: A New Zealand perspective. Presented at Rhododendron Species Conservation Conference. Edinburgh, Scotland.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: MacKay, M.
MacKay, MB. (2013, October). Data management for conservation planning: the example of Rhododendron. Presented at 5th Global Botanic Gardens Congress. Dunedin.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: MacKay, M.
MacKay, MB. (2012, April). Act local, think global. Conservation case studies from Pukeiti Plant Collection and Forest. (Annual Bank’s Memorial lecture of the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture.). Presented at Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: MacKay, M.
MacKay, M., Fayaz, A., Gardiner, S., Wiedow, C., Smith, G., & Oldfield, S. (2010). Meeting target eight: Rhododendron subgenus Vireya in New Zealand as an example of ex-situ conservation. Proceedings of the Fourth Global Botanic Gardens Congress. (pp. 1 - 14). United Kingdom: 4th Global Botanic Gardens Congress
[Conference Paper in Published Proceedings]Authored by: MacKay, M.
MacKay, M. (2008, July). New Zealand Rhododendron collections: Potential for ex-situ conservation?. Presented at Rhododendron Red Listing Conservation Planning Workshop. Singapore Botanic Gardens, Singapore.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: MacKay, M.
MacKay, MB. (2005, September). The value of ex-situ woody plant collections in New Zealand: management and conservation issues. Presented at Saving Threatened Tree Species - International Progress in Tree Conservation. Cambridge University Botanic Garden, Cambridge, UK.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: MacKay, M.
Foo, C., Harrington, K., & MacKay, M. (2010). Herbicide tolerance of three ornamental ground cover species: Polygonum capitatum, Sedum mexicanum and Soleirolia soleirolii. In . Sue Zydenbos (Ed.) Seventeenth Australasian Weeds Conference. (pp. 303 - 306).
[Conference Paper in Published Proceedings]Authored by: Harrington, K., MacKay, M.
MacKay, MB., Emerson, L., Funnell, KA., & MacKay, BR. (2005). Journal writing as a tool for learning in landscape management and horticultural science. Acta Horticulturae. Vol. 672 (pp. 233 - 239).
[Conference Paper in Published Proceedings]Authored by: Emerson, L., MacKay, M.
MacKay, MB., Emerson, LE., MacKay, BR., & Funnell, KA. (2004, August). Using journal writing as a tool for learning in landscape management and horticultural science. Presented at International Society for Horticultural Science Conference. Perth, Australia.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: MacKay, M.

Other

MacKay, M. (2008, October). The Pukeiti Forest Project. In Pukeiti Gardens Spring Members Day Annual General Meeting, New Plymouth, New Zealand.
[Oral Presentation]Authored by: MacKay, M.

Supervision and Teaching

Summary of Doctoral Supervision

Position Current Completed
Supervisor 0 1
Co-supervisor 0 1

Teaching

Marion contributes to 121.103 New Zealand Environments, 121.212 Environmental Science Field Work I, 188.263 Environmental Science I, 21.312 Environmental Science Field Work II and 119373 Integrative Studies.   Current supervision includes topics on urban trees, naturalised plants in New Zealand and seed banking of New Zealand plants.

Courses Coordinated

Completed Doctoral Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • 2013 - Ahmed Fayaz - Doctor of Philosophy
    Biodiversity of the Vireya group of Rhododendron L. (Ericaceae) collections in New Zealand and their potential contribution to international conservation

Co-supervisor of:

  • 2013 - Chin Foo - Doctor of Philosophy
    Ground Cover Plants for Weed Control in Amenity Horticulture

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