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Rebecca Boulton

Doctor of Philosophy, (Ecology)
Study Completed: 2006
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Effects on food availability and predation on reproductive success and behaviour of Petroica longpipes in a fragmented landscape

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Dr Boulton studied the potentially negative effects of forest fragmentation on the reproductive success and behaviour of North Island robins. Forest fragmentation can cause increased rates of nest predation and reduced food availability, contributing to the decline of avian populations in fragmented landscapes. Robin nest survival increased with food availability as expected, but decreased with fragment size, an encouraging result for the fate of New Zealand birds persisting in small forest fragments. Incubation behaviour with respect to female incubation attentiveness, male incubation feeding and nest predation did not conform to predictions for north-temperate species. These results may reflect the robin’s unique life-history, which has evolved in the absence of mammalian predators. This research is the first to address the impact of forest fragmentation on a New Zealand bird species and has highlighted the conservation value of small habitat fragments in an agricultural forestry landscape.

Professor Doug Armstrong
Dr John Innes