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As the Director of Wildbase Oiled Wildlife Response, Louise's role focuses on managing New Zealand's National oiled wildlife response team and undertaking research associated with oil spill response and marine biology. Louise's research focuses on marine wildlife, seabirds and marine mammals, population biology, behavioural and foraging ecology, and conservation biology. For oiled wildlife research, studies include biological, social/economic and management issues including investigating compassion fatigue in emergency responders. Species Louise has worked with include NZ sea lion, NZ fur seal, dolphins, whales, dugongs, and seabirds; penguins, Procellariiformes (petrels, shearwaters, albatrosses), and Pelecaniformes (shags, gannets).
Resource Development and Management, Health and Well-being
Field of research codes
Animal Behaviour (060801): Behavioural Ecology (060201): Biological Sciences (060000): Ecology (060200):
Environmental Sciences (050000):
Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology) (060205): Population Ecology (060207): Terrestrial Ecology (060208): Vertebrate Biology (060809): Zoology (060800)
My research addresses broad scale questions at the both ecosystem and marine wildlife levels including marine ecology, ecosystem integrity, population biology and management, behavioural and foraging ecology, conservation biology and oiled wildlife response. Research species include New Zealand sea lion, NZ fur seal, dolphins, dugongs, beaked and baleen whales, penguins and seabirds. My research has a strong academic focus, with an application to applied marine conservation management and international management of marine species. For example, I have led the New Zealand sea lion management program for the last 12 years providing science, policy and management advice and the international management of New Zealand cetaceans as the Head of Delegation for New Zealand for the International Whaling Science Committee and Science advisor for IWC Commission.
I incorporate a range of scientific techniques in my research (e.g., satellite tracking, time-depth recorders, GIS, remote sensing, genetics, fatty acid analysis, stable isotope analysis) in both laboratory and field based experiments, observations and analyses to produce research that examines issues such as marine species foraging ecology, diving behaviour, population ecology, abundance, reproduction, climate change, population viability analysis, social structure, mating systems, maternal and parental investment, behaviour, disease transmission, serological, parasitology, growth and diet.
Project Title: Lewis Fitch - Understanding and tools for prevention of mental health stress in animal care staff: case studies of oiled wildlife responders
Date Range: 2018 - 2019
Funding Body: Lewis Fitch Veterinary Research Fund
Postdoctoral Fellows Supervised
Dr Laureline Meynier 2010 – 2013. Foraging behaviour and diet of New Zealand fur seals. NZ Foundation for Research Science & Technology Fellowship, Massey University
Dr Federico G. Riet-Sapriza 2009 – 2011. Foraging behaviour of lactating South American sea lions (Otaria flavescens) and spatial–temporal resource overlap with the Uruguayan fisheries. Departamento de Ecología y Evolución, Universidad de la República de Uruguay & UC Santa Cruz, USA.
Stefan Meyer, PhD, 2016, Otago University, Statistical analysis of New Zealand sea lion population ecology.
Elaine Lunge, PhD, 2013, Otago University, Juvenile foraging ecology of New Zealand sea lions.
Amelie Auge, PhD, 2010, Otago University, Foraging ecology of New Zealand sea lions.
Laureline Meynier, PhD, 2009, Massey University, Diet of New Zealand sea lions, stomach and fatty acid analysis.
Federico G. Riet-Sapriza, PhD, 2007, Massey University, Milk composition New Zealand sea lions.
Aurelie Castinel, PhD, 2006, Massey University, Causes of neonatal mortality in the New Zealand sea lion.
Amanda Hodgson, PhD, 2004, James Cook University, Dugong behaviour and social structure.
Rebecca French, MSc, 2018, Massey University, Behavioural consequences of human disturbance on subantarctic yellow-eyed penguins (Megadyptes antipodes).
Sarah Michael, MSc, 2014, Massey University, Disease prevalence in recolonising New Zealand sea lions.
Matthew Taylor, MSc, 2012, Otago University, Genetic population structure of New Zealand sea lions.
Amelie Auge, MSc, 2006, Otago University, 20New Zealand sea lions: Terrestrial Spatial Ecology.
Cheiko Azuma, MSc, 2002, James Cook University, Fine Scale movement patterns of bottlenose dolphins, Point Lookout, North Stradbroke Island, Australia.
Hamish McMillan, Honours, 2012, Otago University, New Zealand sea lion habitat mapping, GIS.
Vanessa Heibel, Honours, 2001, James Cook University, Mother and calf behaviour of bottlenose dolphins.
Chris Muller, PhD, Massey University, Population ecology, foraging behaviour and impacts of tourism on yellow-eyed penguins on the subantarctic Auckland Islands.