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Dr Marion MacKay staff profile picture

Contact details +6469517815

Dr Marion MacKay PhD

Senior Lecturer in Environment Management

Doctoral Supervisor
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 leads a research team on diversity and conservation of Rhododendron; a large genus with some 730 Red List species. Over 2016-2020 Marion has published about 20 articles and reports on Rhododendron conservation and, working with colleagues in Edinburgh and around the world, is developing a global conservation strategy for the genus.  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 is Project Chair in the reserarch collaboration "Taking Stock: New Zealand Cultivated Plants Project" a project led by the Murray Dawson of the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture.  The aim of this project is to begin the process of properly documenting the estimated 40,000 species of cultivated plants in present New Zealand; some 12,000-15,000 species will be documented, the taxonomy verified, and the names loaded onto the New Zealand Plant Names Database and the New Zealand Organisms Register.

With respect to native flora Marion has been involved in native forest restoration of the 350 ha Pukeiti Forest in Taranaki and in 2011 published "Plants of Pukeiti Forest" (585pp).   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. In 2019 Marion was made an Associate of Honour of the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture for her work on plants in cultivation in New Zealand.

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, including their utility for international conservation programmes.  The genus Rhododendron is a current focus; from 2016-2020 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

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy - Massey University (1997)

Certifications and Registrations

  • Licence, Supervisor, Massey University

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 documentation of cultivated flora.
  3. Conservation and seed-banking of New Zealand flora.
  4. Management of the environment, with a focus on plant biodiversity.

Research Opportunities

  • Diversity and conservation of Rhododendron  (01/02/2021) 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.
  • Seed-Banking of New Zealand flora  (01/02/2021) 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.

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

Cultivated flora

Ex situ conservation

Environmental or Landscape Management

Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Project Leader 1 5

Research Outputs

Journal

MacKay, M. (2020). The New Zealand Rhododendron ex situ conservation project: report to the end of October 2020.. The New Zealand Rhododendron. 8, 58-65
[Journal article]Authored by: MacKay, M.
MacKay, M., & Hootman, S. (2019). Examining the significance of the Rhododendron collection at the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden (Federal Way, WA, USA).. Rhododendrons International. 4(1), 1-15 Retrieved from https://www.rhododendron.org/ri-index.htm
[Journal article]Authored by: MacKay, M.
MacKay, M. (2019). Ex situ conservation and wild-source plant material.. The New Zealand Rhododendron. 7, 28-33
[Journal article]Authored by: MacKay, M.
MacKay, M. (2019). The New Zealand ex situ conservation project report.. The New Zealand Rhododendron. 7, 22-27
[Journal article]Authored by: MacKay, M.
McGill, C., Nolan, K., Schnell, J., MacKay, M., Winkworth, C., Aubia, G., . . . McGlynn, V. (2018). Seed banking (conservation) in New Zealand: supporting in situ conservation.. Combined Proceedings- International Plant Propagators Society. 68, 21-29
[Journal article]Authored by: MacKay, M., McGill, C.
MacKay, M. (2018). Vireyas from west and east: distribution and conservation of Rhododendron section Schistanthe.. Rhododendrons International. 2(2), 138-151 Retrieved from https://www.rhododendron.org/ri-index.htm
[Journal article]Authored by: MacKay, M.
MacKay, M. (2018). Searching for the lost vireyas: the next phase of the New Zealand ex situ conservation project.. The New Zealand Rhododendron. 6, 84-90
[Journal article]Authored by: MacKay, M.
MacKay, M. (2018). Report on the Rhododendron conservation workshop held at Oak Spring Garden, Virginia, 17-18 April 2018. The New Zealand Rhododendron. 6, 24-27
[Journal article]Authored by: MacKay, M.
MacKay, MB., & Hootman, SE. (2018). Examining the significance of the Rhododendron collection at the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden (Federal Way, Washington State, USA). Rhododendron Species. 13, 25-39 Retrieved from https://rhodygarden.org/rhododendron-species-vol-13-2018/
[Journal article]Authored by: MacKay, M.
MacKay, M. (2018). A project to develop an ex situ conservation plan for Rhododendron species in New Zealand collections. Rhododendrons International. 2(Part 2), 122-127 Retrieved from https://www.rhododendron.org/ri/v2p2.pdf#zoom=175
[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., & 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, 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. (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, 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, 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.
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.
Bowring, J., & MacKay, MB. (2001). Landscapes that last?. Landscape New Zealand. , 15-17
[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., MacKay, B.
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.

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. (2020, March). Plants in your garden: why recording matters.. Presented at New Zealand Gardens Trust Annual Conference. Palmerston North.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: MacKay, M.
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, B.
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. (2020, October). Rhododendron and Section 26: A collaboration in the Cultivated Plants Project.. In NZ Plant Producers Incorporated. Presented at Bellringer Pavilion, Pukekura Park, New Plymouth.
[Oral Presentation]Authored by: MacKay, M.
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.

Teaching and Supervision

Teaching Statement

As well as coordinating several papers, in the undergraduate programme Marion teaches in 188.263 Environmental Science I, and 119373 Integrative Studies.  

In the postgraduate Environmental Management programme Marion teaches the biodiversity module in 188.707 Environmental Management Principles and Practices, and the urban environments module of 188.765 Advanced Environmental Management II.  Current supervision includes topics on ex situ conservation of Rhododendron, and environmental management at landscape scale in an East Coast catchment.

Courses Coordinated

  • 119.290 National Expedition: Agriculture and Environment
  • 121.312 Environmental Science Field Work II
  • 283.322 Landscape Revegetation
  • 283.704 Urban and Farm Forestry

Graduate Supervision Statement

I believe that thesis research should involve industry or community issues where investigation of scientific theory in relation to practical problems can inform management of those issues; such as research into the diversity and taxononmy of plant species in ex situ plant collections being used to inform long-term management of botanic gardens for conservation, or where research on local biodiversity can inform management of a catchment.   My supervision approach is to meet regularly with each student and while I expect them to be proactive and work independently, I also take an active interest in their research topic and assist them to formulate their topic and strategy.

I have three key areas of research interest:

  • plant diversity and conservation, particularly ex situ conservation.  While the current focus is on New Zealand and internatiional programmes for ex situ conservation of Rhododendron, the principles also apply to other plant genera and to New Zealand native flora,  I have supervised one completed PhD (Fayaz, 2012) and one in-progress PhD on Rhododendron, and one Masters thesis on seed banking (Yu, 2015) in this area.  A PhD thesis examined in 2020 considered orchid conservation.
  • cultivated flora in New Zealand, including the diversity of species that is present, and their current state of documentation and management. In 2014 I supervised a Masters research project on naturalised flora in New Zealand (Mahon 2014), and my current work on cultivated flora in New Zealand offers further research opportunities in this area.
  • environmental management at a broader scale, emphasising but not restricted to plant biodiversity, and including topics such as native flora and landscape revegetation.  Past supervision includes a Masters project on urban trees (Mackereth 2017), with a current Masters project on biodiversity in an East Coast catchment.  PhD and Masters thesis examinations have included topics such protected area management, wetland restoration, land rehabilitation, and management of native flora on the Central Plateau.

Some of my strengths that can be applied to supervision are excllent national and international connections with respect to cultivated flora and ex situ plant conservation, and experience in project management through my roles as project leader for the New Zealand Rhododendron ex situ conservation project and Project Chair for the "Taking Stock: New Zealand Cultivated Plants Project".


Dr Marion MacKay is available for Masters and Doctorial supervision.

Summary of Doctoral Supervision

Position Current Completed
Main Supervisor 1 1
Co-supervisor 0 1

Current Doctoral Supervision

Main Supervisor of:

  • Ling Hu - Doctor of Philosophy
    Investigation of the diversity and taxonomy of ex situ collections of Rhododendron and their utility for conservation

Completed Doctoral Supervision

Main 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