Publications in a nutshell

KENDALL L, WARD DF. 2016. Habitat determinants of the taxonomic and functional diversity of parasitoid wasps. Biodiversity & Conservation. 25(10), 1955-1972

In a nutshell:

  • Vegetation type, plant diversity, and coarse woody debris were the most important factors affecting the abundance and diversity of parasitoid wasps.
  • Different parasitoid groups showed different patterns to habitat variables. So, a wide range of different micro-habitats is required to adequately conserve total diversity.
  • Kauri conifer forest supported a specialised parasitoid community, with lower abundance and species richness than broadleaved forest, but with higher functional evenness.


Sheppard CS, Burns BR, Stanley MC. 2016. Future-proofing weed management for the effects of climate change: is New Zealand underestimating the risk of increased plant invasions? New Zealand Journal of Ecology 40:

In a nutshell:

  • Subtropical and tropical plant species will be more successful and invasive in New Zealand under climate change conditions.
  • There is very little current management action directed towards addressing climate change impacts on weeds; the vast number of environmental weeds is overwhelming for managers.
  • Actions that could be taken include: incorporating a ‘climate change factor’ into predictions of future weed distributions and prioritisation processes; increasing funding for surveillance and early detection; banning plants that have weedy potential under climate change; and educating the public about their plant choices.


MACINNIS-NG C, ZEPPEL M, PALMER A, EAMUS D. 2016. Seasonal variations in tree water use and physiology correlate with soil salinity and soil water content in remnant woodlands on saline soils. Journal of Arid Environments, 129: 102-110.

In a nutshell:


  • Dryland salinity is a significant problem in semi-arid regions of the world where land has been cleared of vegetation.
  • Remnant woodlands combat salinity by lowering groundwater, reducing soil surface salt.
  • We measured seasonal carbon uptake and water use of trees, soil salinity and water content.
  • Some plant functional measurements were correlated with some soil measurements but seasonal changes in meteorology drove unexpected plant-soil relationships.
  • We found that trees that appeared unhealthy were functioning as well as those that were in better health.


Krull CR, Stanley MC, Burns BR, Etherington TR, Choquenot D. 2016. Reducing Wildlife Damage with Cost-Effective Management Programmes. PLoS One DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0146765

In a nutshell:

  • It is often assumed that a reduction in feral pig density will result in an equal reduction in ground disturbance impacts.
  • We measured ground disturbance (rooting) by pigs throughout the Waitakere Ranges (Auckland, NZ) over a 3-year control programme (hunting).
  • The control operation reduced the pig population by a third, but it reduced ground disturbance by more than half.
  • Simulating various hunting regimes via models showed that hunting teams must be deployed no more than 3 months apart to achieve a constant reduction in ground disturbance.
  • Managers should consider carefully both the level of investment and the level of damage that are acceptable, and decide on the damage trigger point for control to ensure biodiversity outcomes are achieved.


Stanley, M. C., J. R. Beggs, I. E. Bassett, B. R. Burns, K. N. Dirks, D. N. Jones, W. L. Linklater, C. Macinnis-Ng, R. Simcock, G. Souter-Brown, S. A. Trowsdale, and K. J. Gaston. 2015. Emerging threats in urban ecosystems: a horizon scanning exercise. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 13:553-560.

  • Early identification and mitigation of threats to the biota of urban ecosystems is important for both people and wildlife
  • We conducted a horizon scanning exercise to identify emerging (new and poorly known) threats to urban ecosystems, to facilitate planning and encourage prompt, proactive responses from policy makers and managers
  • Among the 10 potential threats identified were risks associated not only with rapid technological advances but also with increasing human demands on nature