Biodiversity and ecosystem health research

Research expertise

Biodiversity and biogeography

The nature of a community is best described by its diversity: i.e., the number and abundance of different species. Our research focuses on understanding and modelling biodiversity patterns at local, regional and global scales, particularly in relation to natural and anthropogenic disturbance.

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Conservation and ecological genetics

Expertise in understanding the biological significance of genetic traits, their contribution to ecological performance and the regulatory networks that control their expression. We use population genetics (multi-locus markers, DNA sequence data, cytogenetics) to assess the conservation status, genetic diversity and evolutionary potential of populations.

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Ecosystem restoration

We apply ecological analysis to the recovery of ecosystems disrupted by human activity including forestry, pollution and agriculture. We focus on management of terrestrial vegetation and freshwater systems; the reestablishment of functioning biotic and abiotic interactions; and mitigating impacts of high-intensity agro-industrial practices.

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Freshwater ecosystem management and modelling

We apply research in theoretical ecology and ecological modelling to freshwater ecosystem management, conservation and bioassessment and investigate systems to solve water-management issues.

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Migration

We have expertise in how and why animals undertake regular, usually annual, long-distance movements. We investigate spatial distributions of individuals and populations and have ongoing studies into the genetics and plasticity of migration timing in response to climate change and habitat loss.

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Sustainability and environmental systems analysis

We study the interactions between ecological systems and economic activity, and assessment of more sustainable consumption and production (SCP) systems. This includes development and use of environmental footprinting techniques such as carbon and water footprinting, Life Cycle Assessment and wider sustainability assessment.

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Bug identification service

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Zero Waste Academy

The Zero Waste Academy facilitates research and development engagement between the New Zealand waste and recycling industry and the University's academic community.

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