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Research students

Research topics


Community service

DIY New Zealand

Manawatu Estuary Trust

Last updated:
September 2010


Jill Rapson - Teaching

Papers co-ordinated:

Plant Ecology students at work196.316 New Zealand Plant Ecology

(Third year; Semester 1)

In this course we examine current issues in plant ecology from a New Zealand perspective, with emphasis on topics such as sand dune dynamics, plant succession, herbivory, community assembly rules, forest dynamics, growth analysis, mires, and invasion ecology. Work is based on individual projects or on group analysis of data collected on field trips; we routinely visit the forest and alpine zones of Mt Ruapehu. The course runs internally every year, and extramurally in alternate years, next on offer in 2009. Staff include Alastair Robertson, Peter van Essen and Cleland Wallace.

Getting stuck in a rut on the Vege Studies field trip.196.321 Vegetation Studies in New Zealand

(Third year; Semester 3)

This is a challenging field-based course, jointly run with Mr Peter van Essen. There is some preliminary written and study work before a two-week long field trip to remote parts of New Zealand. Extramural students share the same field trip as internal students, both groups astonished by the background and experiences of the others. Students meet a range of vegetation types, become familiar with the important species of that flora, and complete group and small-group projects through which a range of skills in vegetation studies are introduced. The course runs in Semester 3 in alternate years, and the next field portion of the course runs from 4 - 21 February 2012, visiting Kaikoura, Molesworth and Mokihinui.

Fourth year students out in the field196.726 Plant Ecology

This is a fourth year paper, for students undertaking post-graduate studies. Half of the course is a project designed and completed by the group. Recent topics include karaka as an invasive plant, the relationship between red tussock and wirerush on mires, and the distribution of herbivory in kawakawa in bush remnants. The class write part of the project up as a group, and part independently, learning a range of research skills. The second half of the course is of formal paper sessions, around a range of topics chosen with participant input. Tutors also include Peter van Essen and Alastair Robertson.

Papers taught into:

120.218 The Flora of New Zealand (Second year; Semester 2)
In this course my major focus is on overviewing the short-stature vegetation of New Zealand, with sidelights on palaeobotany and ethnobotany.

196.205 Ecology and Conservation (Second year; Semester 1)
My contribution is a general overview of community dynamics, including topics such as diversity measures, succession, productivity, and trophic cascades, finishing with restoration ecology.

196.213 Microbial Ecology (Second year; Semester 1)
Here I teach an introduction to extremophile ecology, discuss some current issues in microbial ecology, and finish with consideration of the place of microbes in extra-terrestrial life forms.