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Sarah Richardson

Senior Researcher
Ecosystems & Conservation
Sarah Richardson
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Research interests

Role at Landcare Research

Scientist (Ecology)


Research interests

Ecosystem responses to changing environments

Developing and interpreting biodiversity indicators

Managing natural forests for timber production


Awards and professional affiliations

2019  Recipient, Te Tohu Taiao – Award for Ecological Excellence, New Zealand Ecological Society

2019  Co-recipient, Bio-Protection Research Centre Science Award, Biosecurity Awards

2014–2019  Council Member, New Zealand Plant Conservation Network

2014–2015  Technical Advisor, State of Environment Land Domain Working Group, Ministry for the Environment

2009–2015  Editorial Board, New Zealand Journal of Ecology

2019 ­–  Member, Canterbury Botanical Society

2014–  Member, New Zealand Plant Conservation Network

2002–  Member, New Zealand Ecological Society

1996–  Member, British Ecological Society




Vanderhoorn JMM, Wilmshurst JM, Richardson SJ, Etherington TR, Perry GLW 2024. Revealing the palaeoecology of silent taxa: selecting proxy species from associations in modern vegetation data. Journal of Biogeography. WOS:001176279000001

Richardson SJ, McCarthy JK, Tanentzap AJ, Houliston GJ, Ausseil AG, Wilton AD, Clearwater MJ, Burge OR, Perry GLW, McGlone MS 2023. Gender dimorphic species flower earlier than cosexuals. Journal of Ecology. WOS:001061078600001

Mason NWH, Burrows LE, Holdaway RJ, Carswell FE, Richardson SJ 2023. Pioneers of post-agricultural forest successions are adapted for herbivory avoidance but not biotic seed dispersal. Journal of Vegetation Science 34(5). WOS:001065239200001

Forbes AS, Richardson SJ, Carswell FE, Mason NWH, Burrows LE 2023. Knowing when native regeneration is for you, and what you should do about it. The Aotearoa New Zealand context. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 47(1). WOS:000993113900001

Burge OR, Richardson SJ, Wood JR, Wilmshurst JM 2023. A guide to assess distance from ecological baselines and change over time in palaeoecological records. Holocene. WOS:000978433500001

Palmer JG, Turney CSM, Thomas ZA, Fenwick P, Richardson SJ, Wilmshurst JM, McGlone MS 2023. Growth rates and ages of some key tree species from subantarctic Auckland and Campbell Islands. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 47(1). WOS:000933626000010

Prebble JG, Dunbar G, van den Bos V, Li X, Vandergoes M, Richardson S, Horgan H, Holt KA, Howarth J, Levy R 2022. Toward a novel multi-century archive of tree mast using pollen from lake sediments. Holocene. WOS:000835458900001

McGlone MS, Bellingham PJ, Richardson SJ 2022. Science, policy, and sustainable indigenous forestry in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Forestry Science 52. WOS:000777433400001

Jo I, Bellingham PJ, McCarthy JK, Easdale TA, Padamsee M, Wiser SK, Richardson SJ 2022. Ecological importance of the Myrtaceae in New Zealand's natural forests. Journal of Vegetation Science 33(1). WOS:000760961300011

Heenan PB, McCarthy JK, Richardson SJ, McGlone MS 2022. Phylogenetic diversity and clustering in modern vegetation communities reflects habitat formation and age during the late Cenozoic in New Zealand. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 198(3): 241-258. WOS:000756889100001

Lambers H, Wright IJ, Pereira CG, Bellingham PJ, Bentley LP, Boonman A, Cernusak LA, Foulds W, Gleason SM, Gray EF, Hayesf PE, Kooyman RM, Malhi Y, Richardson SJ, Shane MW, Staudinger C, Stock WD, Swarts ND, Turner BL, Turner J, Veneklaas EJ, Wasaki J, Westoby M, Xu YG 2021. Leaf manganese concentrations as a tool to assess belowground plant functioning in phosphorus-impoverished environments. Plant and Soil 461(1-2): 43-61. WOS:000567748300001

Clearwater MJ, Noe ST, Manley-Harris M, Truman GL, Gardyne S, Murray J, Obeng-Darko SA, Richardson SJ 2021. Nectary photosynthesis contributes to the production of manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) floral nectar. New Phytologist 232(4): 1703-1717. WOS:000687709500001

Walker S, Bellingham PJ, Kaine G, Richardson S, Greenhalgh S, Simcock R, Brovvn MA, Stephens T, Lee WG 2021. What effects must be avoided, remediated or mitigated to maintain indigenous biodiversity? New Zealand Journal of Ecology 45(2). WOS:000684942600007

McCarthy JK, Leathwick JR, Roudier P, Barringer JRF, Etherington TR, Morgan FJ, Odgers NP, Price RH, Wiser SK, Richardson SJ 2021. New Zealand Environmental Data Stack (NZEnvDS): A standardised collection of spatial layers for environmental modelling and site characterisation. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 45(2). WOS:000684942600002

Lyver POB, Timoti P, Richardson SJ, Gormley AM 2021. Alignment of ordinal and quantitative species abundance and size indices for the detection of shifting baseline syndrome. Ecological Applications 31(4). WOS:000647225600001

Brandt AJ, Bellingham PJ, Duncan RP, Etherington TR, Fridley JD, Howell CJ, Hulme PE, Jo I, McGlone MS, Richardson SJ, Sullivan JJ, Williams PA, Peltzer DA 2021. Naturalised plants transform the composition and function of the New Zealand flora. Biological Invasions 23(2): 351-366. WOS:000584996200002

McCarthy JK, Wiser SK, Bellingham PJ, Beresford RM, Campbell RE, Turner R, Richardson SJ 2021. Using spatial models to identify refugia and guide restoration in response to an invasive plant pathogen. Journal of Applied Ecology 58(1): 192-201. WOS:000575091400001

Dickie IA, Wakelin A, Richardson SJ 2020. Rare species of wood-inhabiting fungi are not local. Ecological Applications 30(7). WOS:000536983900001

McGlone MS, McNutt K, Richardson SJ, Bellingham PJ, Wright EF 2020. Biodiversity monitoring, ecological integrity, and the design of the New Zealand Biodiversity Assessment Framework. New Zealand journal of ecology 44: 3411.

Roudier P, Burge OR, Richardson SJ, McCarthy JK, Grealish GJ, Ausseil AG 2020. National Scale 3D Mapping of Soil pH Using a Data Augmentation Approach. Remote Sensing 12(18). WOS:000580080400001

Yletyinen J, Brown P, Pech R, Hodges D, Hulme PE, Malcolm TF, Maseyk FJF, Peltzer DA, Perry GLW, Richardson SJ, Smaill SJ, Stanley MC, Todd JH, Walsh PJ, Wright W, Tylianakis JM 2019. Understanding and Managing Social-Ecological Tipping Points in Primary Industries. Bioscience 69(5): 335-347. WOS:000469493500008

Lyver POB, Timoti P, Jones CJ, Richardson SJ, Tahi BL, Greenhalgh S 2017. An indigenous community-based monitoring system for assessing forest health in New Zealand. Biodiversity and Conservation 26(13): 3183–3212.

Holdaway RJ, Easdale TA, Carswell FE, Richardson SJ, Peltzer DA, Mason NWH, Brandon AM, Coomes DA 2017. Nationally representative plot network reveals contrasting drivers of net biomass change in secondary and old-growth forests. Ecosystems 20(5): 944–959.

Simpson AH, Richardson SJ, Laughlin DC 2016. Soil–climate interactions explain variation in foliar, stem, root and reproductive traits across temperate forests. Global Ecology and Biogeography 25(8): 964–978.

McGlone MS, Buitenwerf R, Richardson SJ 2016. The formation of the oceanic temperate forests of New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 54(2): 128–155.

Turner BL, Condron LM, France CAM, Lehmann J, Solomon D, Peltzer DA, Richardson SJ 2016. Sulfur dynamics during long-term ecosystem development. Biogeochemistry 128(3): 281–305.

Mason NWH, Frazao C, Buxton RP, Richardson SJ 2016. Fire form and function: evidence for exaptive flammability in the New Zealand flora. Plant Ecology 217(6): 645–659.

Kramer-Walter KR, Bellingham PJ, Millar TR, Smissen RD, Richardson SJ, Laughlin DC 2016. Root traits are multidimensional: specific root length is independent from root tissue density and the plant economic spectrum. Journal of Ecology 104(5): 1299–1310.

Hoare RJB, Millar IR, Richardson SJ 2016. The insect fauna of granite sand plains: a naturally rare ecosystem in New Zealand. New Zealand Entomologist 39(1): 1–14.

Bellingham PJ, Richardson SJ, Mason NWH, Veltman CJ, Allen RB, Allen WJ, Barker RJ, Forsyth DM, Nicol SJ, Ramsey DSL 2016. Introduced deer at low densities do not inhibit the regeneration of a dominant tree. Forest Ecology and Management 364: 70–76.

Richardson SJ, Clayton R, Rance BD, Broadbent H, McGlone MS, Wilmshurst JM 2015. Small wetlands are critical for safeguarding rare and threatened plant species. Applied Vegetation Science 18(2): 230–241.

Laughlin DC, Richardson SJ, Wright EF, Bellingham PJ 2015. Environmental filtering and positive plant litter feedback simultaneously explain correlations between leaf traits and soil fertility. Ecosystems 18(7): 1269–1280.

Richardson SJ, Laughlin DC, Lawes MJ, Holdaway RJ, Wilmshurst JM, Wright M, Curran TJ, Bellingham PJ, McGlone MS 2015. Functional and environmental determinants of bark thickness in fire-free temperate rain forest communities. American Journal of Botany 102(10): 1590–1598.

Siefert A, Violle C, Chalmandrier L, Albert CH, Taudiere A, Fajardo A, Aarssen LW, Baraloto C, Carlucci MB, Cianciaruso MV, Dantas VdL, de Bello F, Duarte LDS, Fonseca CR, Freschet GT, Gaucherand S, Gross N, Hikosaka K, Jackson B, Jung V, Kamiyama C, Katabuchi M, Kembel SW, Kichenin E, Kraft NJB, Lagerström A, Le Bagousse-Pinguet Y, Li Y, Mason N, Messier J, Nakashizuka T, Overton JM, Peltzer DA, Pérez-Ramos IM, Pillar VD, Prentice HC, Richardson S, Sasaki T, Schamp BS, Schöb C, Shipley B, Sundqvist M, Sykes MT, Vandewalle M, Wardle DA 2015. A global meta-analysis of the relative extent of intraspecific trait variation in plant communities. Ecology Letters 18(12): 1406–1419.

Martinez-Garcia LB, Richardson SJ, Tylianakis JM, Peltzer DA, Dickie IA 2015. Host identity is a dominant driver of mycorrhizal fungal community composition during ecosystem development. New Phytologist 205(4): 1565–1576.

Smissen RD, Richardson SJ, Morse CW, Heenan PB 2014. Relationships, gene flow and species boundaries among New Zealand Fuscospora (Nothofagaceae: southern beech). New Zealand Journal of Botany 52(4): 389–406.

Richardson S 2014. Tiger stripes and leopard spots: a coastal shrubland in lowland Canterbury before and after fire. Trilepidea: Newsletter of the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network 125: 5–7.

Richardson SJ, Holdaway RJ, Carswell FE 2014. Evidence for arrested successional processes after fire in the Waikare River catchment, Te Urewera. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 38(2): 221–229.

Lawes MJ, Richardson SJ, Clarke PJ, Midgley JJ, McGlone MS, Bellingham PJ 2014. Bark thickness does not explain the different susceptibility of Australian and New Zealand temperate rain forests to anthropogenic fire. Journal of Biogeography 41(8): 1467–1477.

Turner S, Schippers A, Meyer-Stüve S, Guggenberger G, Gentsch N, Dohrmann R, Condron LM, Eger A, Almond PC, Peltzer DA, Richardson SJ, Mikutta R 2014. Mineralogical impact on long-term patterns of soil nitrogen and phosphorus enzyme activities. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 68: 31–43.

Wood JR, Wilmshurst JM, Richardson SJ, Rawlence NJ, Wagstaff SJ, Worthy TH, Cooper A 2013. Resolving lost herbivore community structure using coprolites of four sympatric moa species (Aves: Dinornithiformes). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 110(42): 16910–16915. ISI:000325634200051

Dickie IA, Martínez-García LB, Koele N, Grelet G-A, Tylianakis JM, Peltzer DA, Richardson SJ 2013. Mycorrhizas and mycorrhizal fungal communities throughout ecosystem development. Plant and soil 367(1-2): 11-39.

Richardson SJ, Bonner KI, Bickford CP 2013. Cold tolerance of photosynthesis as a determinant of tree species regeneration patterns in an evergreen temperate forest. Plant ecology 214(5): 787-798.

Richardson SJ, Allen RB, Buxton RP, Easdale TA, Hurst JM, Morse CW, Smissen RD, Peltzer DA 2013. Intraspecific relationships among wood density, leaf structural traits and environment in four co-occurring species of Nothofagus in New Zealand. PLOS One 8(3): e58878.

Koele N, Dickie IA, Oleksyn J, Richardson SJ, Reich PB 2012. No globally consistent effect of ectomycorrhizal status on foliar traits. New phytologist 196(3): 845-852.

Smissen RD, Morse CW, Prada D, Ramón-Laca A, Richardson SJ 2012. Characterisation of seven polymorphic microsatellites for Nothofagus subgenus Fuscospora from New Zealand. New Zealand journal of botany 50(2): 227-231.

Mason NWH, Richardson SJ, Peltzer DA, de Bello F, Wardle DA, Allen RB 2012. Changes in coexistence mechanisms along a long-term soil chronosequence revealed by functional trait diversity. Journal of ecology 100(3): 678-689. WOS:000302623200010

Allen RB, Mason NWH, Richardson SJ, Platt KH 2012. Synchronicity, periodicity and bimodality in inter-annual tree seed production along an elevation gradient. Oikos 121(3): 367-376. WOS:000300877100006

Richardson SJ, Williams PA, Mason NWH, Buxton RP, Courtney SP, Rance BD, Clarkson BR, Hoare RJB, St. John MG, Wiser SK 2012. Rare species drive local trait diversity in two geographically disjunct examples of a naturally rare alpine ecosystem in New Zealand. Journal of Vegetation Science 23(4): 626-639.

Carswell FE, Doherty JE, Allen RB, Brignall-Theyer ME, Richardson SJ, Wiser SK 2012. Quantification of the effects of aboveground and belowground competition on growth of seedlings in a conifer–angiosperm forest. Forest ecology and management 269: 188–196.

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  • New Zealand Journal of Ecology, New Zealand Journal of Ecology