Ecosystems & Conservation
The Ecosystems and Conservation team seeks to understand how ecosystems function and to effect management change that enhances the sustainability of resource use. Key stakeholders in our research are DOC, Maori, MPI, DairyNZ, MfE and Regional Councils. The team specialises in the use of quantitative tools to understand a diverse range of ecosystems including pastures, shingle beaches and forests including ancient stands reconstructed from their pollen records.
We use a range of techniques including micrometeorological, physiological, plot-based measurements and molecular and chemical analyses in order to enhance our understanding of the processes governing ecosystem function. We also use mechanistic, spatial and statistical models to achieve spatial and temporal scaling so that results can be generalised across the broad geographic areas and time scales relevant to our diverse stakeholders.
Much of our work is carried out at field study sites on farms, islands, public conservation lands and privately- or iwi-owned shrublands and forests. We also conduct research on seabirds in Antarctica. In addition, the team runs a number of specialised laboratories including 2 molecular labs, chemical labs for physiological and palaeoecological work, a micrometeorological lab with state-of-the-art growth chambers and a soil ecology lab. The team is also responsible for curating the National Vegetation Survey databank (NVS) which contains vegetation records from c. 100,000 vegetation survey plots. Of the 52-strong team, the majority of staff are in Lincoln, with 11 in Palmerston North, 1 in Hamilton and 1 in Napier.