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Joanne Peace

Doctor of Philosophy, (Ecology)
Study Completed: 2011
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Comparision of tropic structures between human modified and native forest habitats

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Determining the trophic structure of a habitat is vital to understanding the species composition and interactions of species and individuals within that habitat. Pine plantations in New Zealand are the most common type of silviculture, and mature pine represents a natural comparison for native forests. I have compared these habitats and their contiguous boundary on a variety of trophic levels and temporal scales. Stable isotope and stomach content analyses showed seasonal variation and separation of taxa between and within habitats. Tomtits displayed seasonal and habitat related behavioural shifts, as did their prey availability, and sexes showed striking differences in foraging behaviour. Comparison of tomtit prey availability between habitats over two years has started to clarify the role pine plantation invertebrates play in the diet of insectivorous native birds. This study raised many questions and there is much scope for future research into the trophic structure of pine versus native forest.

Professor Dianne Brunton
Professor Russell Death