Current

Dr Margaret Stanley (Associate Professor)

Margaret leads the research group. She is an ecologist (biosecurity and conservation) in the School of Biological Sciences at University of Auckland. After gaining her PhD from Monash University, Margaret worked as a postdoc at Landcare Research, and latterly as a scientist and programme leader. She moved to the University of Auckland in 2007 as a new mum, to develop a new MSc programme in Biosecurity and Conservation.

Margaret’s interests in ecology are diverse, but her research primarily seeks to understand and mitigate human impacts (e.g. urbanisation, invasive species) on terrestrial biodiversity and ecosystems (particularly via disruption of community level interactions, e.g. plant-animal mutualisms).  She is also interested in how conservation can benefit from increasing the connection between people and nature. Although most her research has applied outcomes, she also undertakes research on the co-evolutionary aspects of plant-animal interactions.

Ellery McNaughton (PhD Candidate)

Ellery is a PhD candidate looking at the effects of artificial light at night on urban wildlife. Her PhD project investigates whether retrofitting streetlights with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) affects wildlife community composition and the timing of bird song. Her Honours research explored the relationship between bird feeding and behaviour patterns of common myna, and she is passionate about nature and conservation in general, and birds in particular.

Rachael Sagar (PhD Candidate, main supervisor Dr Brendan Dunphy)

Rachael’s doctoral research focuses on mottled petrels (Pterodroma inexpectata) – the physiological impacts of translocation on chicks as well as the birds’ current and historical foraging ecology and how climate change and other issues may affect this. Mottled petrels are what we call “range-restricted” – they breed at only a few sites in southern New Zealand. Rachael is passionate about seabird conservation.

Daria Erastova (PhD Candidate)

Daria is a PhD candidate studying the influence of garden sugar feeders on  tui behaviour and health, and whether feeders alter the contribution tui make to pollinating indigenous plants. Her work investigates whether sugar feeders  transmit  potential avian pathogens and if such a year-round practice can lead to changes in tui social structure, thus altering their pollination patterns. She has accomplished her Master thesis in Biology in 2011 at St. Petersburg State University and now she is interested in birds’ behaviour, ecology and conservation.

Cathy Nottingham (PhD Candidate)

Cathy is a PhD candidate studying the effects of landscape connectivity on invasive mammalian predators in agricultural ecosystems. Her study aims to determine occupancy of a range of invasive mammals and to look at feral cat movement on farms with differing levels of landscape connectivity. Her MSc project studied the impact of hedgehogs in urban forest fragments. She is particularly interested in the ecology of invasive mammalian predators in New Zealand.

Yen Yi Loo (PhD candidate, main supervisor Dr Kristal Cain)

Yen Yi is a PhD candidate working on an endemic New Zealand wren, the rifleman (Acanthisitta chloris). Her study aims to determine whether the rifleman are vocal learners by investigating the ontogeny and temporal changes in their vocal parameters, and its implication on the evolutionary origins of vocal learning in the avian phylogenetic tree. Her MSc project explored the quality of citizen science data for studying continental scale migration patterns. She is passionate about connecting people with nature through the world of birds, sounds and data.

Ines Moran (PhD Candidate, main supervisor Dr Kristal Cain)

Ines Moran is a Ph.D. candidate working on bioacoustics, vocal ecology of birds and animal communication networks. Her research investigates the evolution of vocal learning in birds, and focuses on dialects and vocal behaviours of kinship groups in the titpounamu/rifleman (Acanthisitta chloris) in New Zealand. Her MSc research focussed on the aggressive escalation interactions and seasonal vocal variation of Savannah Sparrows (Passer sandwichensis) in Canada. Many questions about animal communication remain to be answered, and in her spare time, she likes to think about ideas to solve them to further explore the world of animal sounds.

Juliane Gaviraghi Mussoi (PhD Candidate, Main supervision: Dr Kristal Cain)

Juliane is a PhD candidate working on cognition, complex vocalization and sexual selection of tomtit/miromiro (Petroica macrocephala). Her study aims to investigate whether individuals with high cognitive abilities also have a more complex song repertoire and a higher reproductive success. Her MSc research focused on mirror-mediated spatial location and problem-solving in great tits (Parus major). Juliane is passionate about understanding the cognitive aspects of bird behaviour.

 

Tess O’Malley  (PhD Candidate, main supervisor Assoc. Prof. James Russell)

Tess is a PhD candidate investigating possum control. She is working as part of a team to test a novel possum detection and removal network installed in Egmont National Park by the Department of Conservation, as part of the Taranaki Mounga and Predator Free Taranaki projects. Her research follows two avenues of inquiry: how can we detect and reduce possums to zero-density levels over a large landscape, and how does possum control affect rat populations with specific emphasis on competitor release? In addition to invasive species control, Tess is interested in animal cognition and behavior.
Email: tess.omalley@auckland.ac.nz

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