Zoology research

Zoology is the animal science of the natural world. It examines animals on a variety of scales from biological knowledge at the molecular level to animals as components of systems; looks at both vertebrate and invertebrate and their impact on New Zealand plants and animals; and includes the study of animal behaviour. At Massey our zoology research focuses on the structure, function, behaviour, development and classification of animals.

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.


Comparative and environmental physiology

We take a comparative approach to the study of physiological and morphological adaptations of animals to cope with challenges from the external environment.



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.


Soil zoology

Soil zoology focuses on insects and other animals that live in soil, their diversity, ecology, and contribution to ecosystem functioning.
We study plant/insect interactions, host/parasite/parasitoid interactions, reproductive/predatory strategies, and pest control.


Systematics and taxonomy in animals

This is the study of the diversification of living forms, and the relationships among living things through time. We also focus on the identification, description, and naming of organisms.



Find programmes with a research element, including the PhD.

Research degrees

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Research projects


The International Symposium of Integrative Zoology

2-7 December 2019

The International Symposium of Integrative Zoology is an annual conference sponsored by the International Society of Zoological Sciences (ISZS) and the journal Integrative Zoology. In 2019 the conference is hosted by Massey in Auckland, New Zealand with the theme of 'Zoological studies for animal conservation'.

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Fauna toolkit

A joint project between Massey University, Canterbury Museum and Auckland War Memorial Museum, the Fauna Toolkit is a portal to 3D digitised models of bird bones from museum collections.

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Guide to NZ Orthoptera

Research material on taxonomy, ecology and evolution of New Zealand wētā and other orthoptera such as stick insects, grasshoppers and crickets. 

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Guide to New Zealand soil invertebrates

Information on New Zealand soil and litter invertebrates, their diversity, biology, ecosystem role, and conservation status.

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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


Bug identification service

Massey scientists provide a bug identification service. Email us with your enquiry.

Email us

Wildbase Hospital

Wildbase Hospital is New Zealand's only dedicated wildlife hospital. We provide a nationwide service and are at the forefront of veterinary care of New Zealand’s native birds, half of which are classified as threatened or endangered.

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Animal expertise

Massey University scientists also have expertise across some key animal types. Find out more about study options, research, facilities, services or resources to do with these animals.

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