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I work principally on the biology of migratory shorebirds, particularly those that make huge trans-hemispheric journeys. Following an MSc looking at the ecology of shorebirds at the end of Farewell Spit, the long sandspit at the top of New Zealand's South Island, I moved to Australia. My PhD work was on the ecophysiology and behaviour of migrating Great Knots at Broome, NW Australia, though I also sampled knots caught upon arrival from migration at the mouth of the Yangtze River, China. Back in New Zealand my research has focused on national and international movements of individual shorebirds, the timing of migration, and plumage colouration. I do have broader interests in ornithology, however, and students have worked on a range of species and topics including Kereru, Rockhopper and Little Penguins, Mallards, Wrybills, swans, godwits and polychaete worms. Current work (2020) includes satellite-tracking godwits both within New Zealand and to Alaska and back.
I am a member of the National Response Team for Maritime New Zealand in the event of an oil spill, and am on the editorial board for Ibis, the journal of the British Ornithologists' Union, and The Stilt (Australasian Wader Studies Group).
I am interested in ornithology in general, but specifically in bird migration, particularly shorebirds along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. This work involves remote tracking of Bar-tailed Godwits and Red Knots from New Zealand, and investigating the molecular basis to migration timing.
Long-distance bird migration
Remote tracking of migrants
Avian body composition
Field of research codes
Animal Behaviour (060801): Animal Structure and Function (060807): Behavioural Ecology (060201): Biological Sciences (060000): Ecology (060200): Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology) (060205): Vertebrate Biology (060809): Zoology (060800)
Project Title: The genetics and epigenetics of bird migration timing
Date Range: 2013 - 2017
Funding Body: Marsden Fund - Full
Project Title: My Plumage is degrading! Strategies to overcome feather wear in migratory birds.
Date Range: 2008 - 2010
Funding Body: Marsden Fund - Fast Start
I mainly teach about vertebrate diversity, structure and evolution, and ornithology.
199212 Vertebrate Zoology
199103 Animals and the Environment
199206 Fauna of New Zealand
194345 Comparative Physiology
Main Supervisor of: