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Research expertise

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.


Ecological statistics

We create statistical tools for ecological applications, including models of ecological systems, species’ abundances, biodiversity and community ecology. We engage in active field-based ecological research, and consulting for environmental monitoring and impact assessment.


Endocrinology in conservation

Endocrine studies that can help the conservation of animals contribute to conservation endocrinology. Our research in conservation endocrinology helps the management of native birds in New Zealand.


Human-wildlife behaviour

Massey University researchers are investigating the impact of capture, captivity and handling, evolution, human contact, rehabilitation and relocation on the behavioural patterns, survival, reproduction rates and ongoing welfare of wildlife, with a focus on New Zealand native wildlife.


Marine fisheries and conservation

Our research directly informs the management and conservation of marine resources, with projects including estimating the effects of marine reserves on rocky reef fishes, monitoring populations of shellfish and assessment of anthropogenic impacts on marine populations.


Plant conservation

We participate in international ex-situ conservation programmes to record and conserve cultivated plant species and related wild plants through seed banks, living plants in botanic gardens, and plant collections.


Reintroduction biology

Species reintroductions play a vital role in restoring ecosystems as well as recovering threatened species. Our research aims to improve decisions made in reintroduction programmes by improving our predictions.


Species recovery and population ecology

Our expertise is in translating findings from fundamental research in animal conservation to apply to real-world problems and improve the status of threatened species.

We collect data on survival, reproduction and movements of species and are investigating ways in which to prevent biodiversity loss at the species and community level through methods such as predator control and improved reintroduction techniques.


Technology development for use in conservation

Development of protocols and conservation community friendly software to enable more effective monitoring of wildlife and outcomes from conservation efforts. We work with iwi/hapu and other end-users in a mātauranga māori environment.



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Research projects


    Reintroduction specialist group

    This a networking group for reintroduction practitioners worldwide, and provides guidance for re-introduction projects. It provides a set of guidelines for reintroductions, a reintroduction practitioners directory and other resources. Massey University leads this group.

    Find out more

    The New Zealand Wildlife Mortality Database, Huia

    This database, kept by Massey University's Wildbase, records the causes of death of all threatened species in New Zealand and is available by request to conservation workers and scientists.

    Contact Stuart Hunter

    Research centres and groups