We welcome enquiries from postgraduate students, interns, prospective post-docs or collaborators about potential research projects linked to any of our research themes:

  • Defining prehuman ecological states to inform restoration and conservation.
  • Reconstructing high-resolution (temporal and spatial) records of human impacts on the flora and fauna of New Zealand to provide a context for understanding current and future rates of change and extinctions.
  • Examining past and present plant-animal interactions (diet, pollination, seed dispersal) through the analysis of droppings from extinct birds and introduced mammals in New Zealand forested ecosystems.
  • Defining the impact of natural (fire, volcanism, erosion) and human disturbance regimes (fire, clearance, extinctions and introductions) on the functioning of New Zealand terrestrial ecosystems.
  • Developing Holocene climate proxies and developing transfer functions to reconstruct aspects of past climates.

Our research is based mainly on the analyses of sediments (mainly pollen, charcoal, dung fungi, and plant macrofossils, ancient plant and animal DNA) collected from bogs, swamps, lakes, organic soils and caves, and from coprolites (preserved droppings). 

We have study sites spanning from islands in East Polynesia, down to the subantarctic Campbell, Auckland and Snares islands. Our work is undertaken in our fully dedicated palaeoecology laboratory suite (opened in 2014, the Long-Term Ecology Laboratory) which contains a palynology lab (the Macrofossil Preparation Laboratory), with refrigerated sample and core archive room, sample preparation lab (the Subsampling Room), and Ancient DNA Lab.