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Research students

Research topics


Community service

DIY New Zealand

Manawatu Estuary Trust

Last updated:
September 2010


Jill Rapson: Current and recent post-graduate research students

Matt Krna learning to love tussocksMatthew Krna (PhD candidate)

Matt is studying the contribution of tussock grasslands to carbon sequestration in New Zealand.

Need good padding to do thisAnglina Smith (MSc candidate)

Ange is looking at the impact of off-road vehicles on the vegetation of the Rangipo Desert, Tongariro National Park. She is comparing different types of impacts on the growth and survival of a range of native cushion and mat species.


Tarnia Hodges in the fieldTarnia Hodges (PhD candidate)

“The role of Empodisma minus as the ecosystem engineer of the Fen-Bog Transition in New Zealand mires.” (Co-supervisors: Dr Beverley Clarkson and Dr Louis Schipper.) Tarnia is investigating the role of these two species in facilitating the fen-bog transition, wherein nutrient dynamics change to those typical of ombrotrophic conditions. This is in comparison with the well-known role of the moss Sphagnum in the northern hemisphere. Tarnia is using a range of field and experimental techniques, studying systems throughout New Zealand.

Tawa dieback after floodingDale RedpathDale Redpath (BSc(Hons) 2007)

"Extensive dieback of tawa (Beilschmiedia tawa) following an extreme flood event, Turakina Valley, New Zealand". Dale has studied a small patch of forest which drowned as a result of a flooding episode. These trees died rapidly, even after water receded, though other species were less sensitive. There is demographic evidence of past disturbances on the site though not necessarily associated with past flood events.

Xun LiXun Li (PhD 2004)

“Distinguishing equilibrium and non-equilibrium dynamics using palynological records” (Co-supervisor with John Flenley and Robert McLachlan.) Xun has investigated the Holocene dynamics of New Zealand's forest vegetation in both climatically stable and historically disturbed sites. Her work has shown that even climax vegetation progressively changes, and more disturbed vegetation is actually more stable in terms of composition. Her detailed investigations around tephras indicate rapid recovery from quite extensive disturbance events.

Other completed research theses

Completed PhD

Anderson, Barbara. PhD (2004). “Is there textural convergence between communities of unrelated species in similar habitat?” (Co-supervisor with Peter Bannister and Bastow Wilson, University of Otago.)

McBreen, Kim. PhD. (1999). “Kamahi decline in Tongariro National Park”. (Co-supervisors: Murray Potter and Peter van Essen.)

Keesing, Vaughan. PhD (1996). "Impacts of invasion on community structure: habitat and invertebrate assemblage responses to Calluna vulgaris (L.) Hull invasion, in Tongariro National Park, New Zealand". (Co-supervisors: Ian Henderson and Clare Veltmann.)

Completed MSc

Dawson, Philip. MSc (2004). “Regeneration of the native sand dune plant Pimelea arenaria in the lower North Island, New Zealand”. (Co-supervisor with A/Prof. Robin Fordham).

Hofmann, Angelika. MSc (2001). “Impacts of UV-B radiation on pasture species”. (Co-supervisor with C Matthew).

Nicholls, Vivienne. MSc (2000). “Ecology and ecophysiology of subantarctic Campbell Island megaherbs”.

Page, Brent. MSc (2000). “Oviposition preference of ragwort flea beetle Longitarsus jacobaeae (Waterhouse) as influenced by condition of host, Senecio jacobaea L.” (Co-supervisors: Keith Betteridge and Peter McGregor.)

Singers, Nicholas. MSc (Hons) (1998). “The dynamics of temporary wetlands in dune slacks at Tangimoana, Manawatu, New Zealand, with special reference to the endangered sand spiked sedge, Eleocharis neozelandica Kirk (Cyperaceae)”. (Co-supervisor: Alastair Robertson.)

van Essen, Peter. MSc (Hons) (1992). "Ecology of Olearia colensoi dominated sub-alpine scrub in the Southern Ruahine Range, New Zealand". (Co-supervisor: John Skipworth.)

Completed BSc (Hons)

Olliff, Miranda. BSc (Hons) (1999). “Vegetation history of standing stags in grassland near treeline, on Mount Ruapehu, New Zealand”.

Urlich, Mike. BSc (Hons) (1999). “Past, present and future vegetation of Waimeha Lagoon, Waikanae, New Zealand, and its relation to management”.

Completed Dip.Sci.

Pegman, Andrew. Dip.Sci. (1996). "The sand dune vegetation of the dynamic Whatipu Beach, North Manakau Harbour, Auckland, New Zealand".

Stocker, Richard. Dip.Sci. (1992). "Vegetation and community structure in Westland snow banks in response to snow-lie patterns".

Brown, Stephen. Dip. Sci. (1991). “Allelopathic effects of Calluna vulgaris in Tongariro National Park”.