People | Ngā Tāngata


Janet Wilmshurst

Director of Long-Term Ecology Laboratory. Analyses modern and fossil pollen, charcoal and testate amoebae analyses of lakes, bogs, swamps, coprolites and cave sediments to reconstruct past vegetation and fire history, initial human impacts, and former plant-animal interactions of extinct birds and introduced kiore (Rattus exulans).

Jamie Wood

Manager of the Ancient DNA Laboratory. Analyses ancient DNA of sediments, coprolites, bones and environmental samples, and pollen and charcoal records, to reconstruct former diets and habits of extinct birds, and recent vegetation change. Uses modern DNA analyses of soils as a biodiversity assessment tool.

Matt McGlone

Emeritus researcher. Analyses of long-term vegetation and climate history of New Zealand, plant biogeography, human and climate change impacts on biodiversity. Numerous post-retirement projects on the go, current obsession: gender in the New Zealand flora, taxonomy and ecology of kanuka (Kunzea spp.).


Jo Carpenter

Researcher of plant-animal interactions and how they have shifted over time, the role of antagonistic interactions (predation, herbivory, etc) in island ecosystems, and factors affecting the conservation of New Zealand's forest birds.

Olivia Burge

A quantitative ecologist with a focus on community ecology, often in wetland ecosystems. Interested in invasion, resilience, plant traits and integrating long-term ecological data with neo-ecological data are key interests – particularly where the intersect.

Research technicians

Nic Bolstridge

Prepares microfossil slides from lake sediments, peats, soils, coprolites, caves, fresh dung, and feathers, and manages the Microfossil Preparation Laboratory and refrigerated sample archives.

Karen Boot

Prepares samples for sediment and charcoal analyses, manages the Subsampling Room, field store, transitional facility, and sample archives.


Alex Boast (PhD candidate, University of Auckland)

Project: Prehistoric ecology of kakapo from coprolites

Past students & visitors

Francisca Diaz

Project: Extraction of ancient DNA from the Atacama rodent fossil coprolites to reconstruct vegetation change.

Helen Boothby

Participant Teacher on the Royal Society of New Zealand’s Science Teacher Leadership Programme

Lea de Nascimento

Project: Tracking past human impact on islands by improving palaeoecological reconstructions with PalEnDNA analysis

Edward Mitchell

Institute of Biology, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland

Tess Cole (PhD candidate, University of Otago)

Project: Ancient and modern crested penguins (Eudyptes spp.)

Michelle McKeown

Palaeoecologist. Analyses long-term environmental and climate change over the Holocene using biological proxies, which include chironomid subfossils, pollen, and charcoal, sourced from lakes, bogs and rock-pools.

Jessica Rivera Perez

Project: Paleoecology of kiore in New Zealand