Doug Armstrong

Professor of Conservation Biology, Massey University

Research Programme
Selected Publications
Postdoctoral Fellows & Graduate Students
Role in Reintroduction Specialist Group
Contact Information

Research Programme

My research since 1992 has mainly focused on population dynamics of reintroduced forest birds, targetting questions that need to be answered to improve the success of reintroduction programs.  The bulk of this research has involved toutouwai (New Zealand robins), hihi (stitchbirds), and tieke (saddlebacks) on offshore islands or mainland forest fragments, and has addressed four general questions:



These questions make of four of the 10 key questions that Phil Seddon and I advocated in our 2008 paper "Directions in reintroduction biology" (see below).  Examples of individual research projects are given in the selected publications below, and information on the reintroductions is given on the rundown of New Zealand reintroduction projects on the CTSG Oceania web site.  See for research related to hihi conservation.

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Recent Publications

Fischer JH, Taylor GA, Cole R, Debski I, Armstrong DP, Wittmer HU (2020) Population growth estimates of a threatened seabird indicate necessity for additional management following invasive predator eradications. Animal Conservation 23:94–103.

Drummond FM, Armstrong DP (2019) Use of distance sampling to measure long-term changes in bird densities in a fenced wildlife sanctuary. New Zealand. Journal of Ecology 43:1-9.

Drummond FM, Parker KA, Lovegrove TG, Armstrong DP (2019) Distinguishing effects of juvenile mortality and dispersal on recruitment. Journal of Wildlife Management 83:1744-1752.

Fischer JH, McCauley CF, Armstrong DP, Debski I, Wittmer HU (2019) Contrasting responses of lizard occurrences to burrowing by a critically endangered seabird. Community Ecology 20:64-74.

Johnson PJ, Adams VM, Armstrong DP, et al (2019) Consequences matter: Compassion in conservation means caring for individuals, populations and species. Animals 9:1115.

McArthur N, Boulton RL, Richard Y, Armstrong DP (2019) The role of pine plantations in source-sink dynamics of North Island robins New Zealand Journal of Ecology 43:1-9.

Panfylova J, Ewen JG, Armstrong DP (2019) Making structured decisions for reintroduced populations in the face of uncertainty Conservation Science and Practice 1 (10), e90.

Richardson KM, Parlato EH, … Armstrong DP (2019) Links between personality, early natal nutrition and survival of a threatened bird. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 374 (1781), 20190373.

Sievwright KA, Battley PF, McConnell H, Armstrong DP, Morgan KJ (2019) Survival rates of oil-rehabilitated and non-rehabilitated little penguins after the C/V Rena oil spill, New Zealand. Marine pollution bulletin 146:317-325.

Williams EM, Armstrong DP, O'Donnell CFJ (2019) Modelling variation in calling rates to develop a reliable monitoring method for the Australasian Bittern Botaurus poiciloptilus Ibis 161:260-271.

Withers S, Armstrong DP, Ward-Smith T, Parsons S, Hauber ME (2019) Improved methods for reducing translocation mortality and obtaining reliable population projections for reintroduction of the New Zealand Rifleman Acanthisitta chloris Bird Conservation International 29:542–557.


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Current Postdocs and Graduate Students

·        Elizabeth Parlato, postdoctoral fellow on Marsden Grant “Is individual variation relavant to population dynamics?”

·        Zoe Stone, postdoctoral fellow on MBIE-funded project “Reintroduction of birds in large landscapes”

·        Caio Kenup, PhD student “Applying structured decision making for large-scale conservation initiatives”

·        Natalia Rangiwanga, MSc student studying “Empowering Mātauranga Māori in freshwater monitoring and management”

·        Adele Bittner, MSc student studying “Optimising stream habitat assessment
for the Bay of Plenty Regional Council NERMN programme”

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Role in Conservation Translocations Specialist Group

I chair the Oceania Section of the Conservation Translocation Specialist Group CTSG). The RSG is one of several specialist groups within the Species Survival Commission which is part of the IUCN. My role is to advise on various issues to do with reintroduction, facilitate contact between Oceania reintroduction practitioners and reintroduction practitioners overseas, and facilitate networking among reintroduction practitioners in Oceania. One initiative was creating the CTSG Oceania web site, which provided extensive information on what's going on in reintroduction in Oceania, particularly in New Zealand.

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I run a Postgraduate Programme in Conservation Biology which offers an MSc (coursework worth 100 points plus a thesis) and PGDipSc (coursework only).  I am the coordinator and principal contributor for postgraduate papers in Conservation Biology (232.701) and Wildlife Management (232.703), coordinate the undergraduate paper in Applied Ecology and Resource Management (196.315).  Click HERE to see information on these courses, including brief descriptions and timetables.

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Contact Information

Address: Ecology 624, Massey University, PB 11222, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Phone:  +64 6 356 9099 ext 84207
Click HERE to email me