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Click here an e-copy of the conference abstract booklet.

Click here for a list of recent changes to our websites.

Welcome to the home page and website for the 2014 annual conference of the New Zealand Ecological Society. This conference is being hosted by the Ecology Group of the Institute of Agriculture and Environment at Massey University, at the Turitea campus (main campus) of Massey University. We look forward to seeing you, and are working to make your visit both enjoyable and educational. Click on the side bar to check out contacts within the organising committee.

The Society

The New Zealand Ecological Society was formed in 1951 to promote the study of ecology and its applications to the understanding and conservation of New Zealand's unique environment. The Society runs annual conferences, produces a journal, New Zealand Journal of Ecology, and hosts a web page with news and notes for all - http://newzealandecology.org/. Membership of the Society is NOT a pre-requisite to attending this conference, though it does reduce the cost of attending the conference, and there are many advantages to being part of its network. Click on the above link to join NZES.

The conference

The NZES meets annually, sometimes in conjunction with other groups, to report research, plan further work, and discuss current ideas in ecological science, particularly those of relevance to the New Zealand environment.

This will be the first NZES to be held at Massey for more than a decade, and gives a great opportunity for professionals, practitioners, enthusiasts and academics alike to gather and update on the latest ideas and information. In particular, the Society has always encouraged graduate students to take part in both the main conference, and the student-only day on the Sunday. In addition there is a day of field trips at the end of the conference and occasional workshops. See side bar for details. 

The theme for 2014 is:

"Is NZ the world's invasion hotspot?"

This theme is designed to encourage understanding of the science of invasion, which can then  be applied to improving management of invading species, both plants and animals. To further that end we have planned a range of challenging symposia and have some great speakers coming to stir and inspire and confront us with their latest ideas. Click here for some information about the weed invasion problem in New Zealand. 

The plan for the conference is:

Sunday 16 November - The traditional Students' Day, for students to meet and greet in a relaxed environment, and to talk about their research proposals - no actual data needed!

Monday 17 November - Keynote and plenary speakers followed by symposia in the morning, with the latter half of the afternoon consisting of Posters, Drinks and Nibbles session.

Tuesday 18 November - Plenary speakers and lots of symposia, many parallel. The conference dinner will be held in the evening (included in the registration cost).

Wednesday 19 November - Keynote and plenary speakers followed by symposia through the middle of the day, with a concluding Keynote speaker.

Thursday 20 November - a range of day or part-day field excursions to areas of high ecological interest but low physical accessibility in the Manawatu and surrounding districts.

Friday 21 - Sunday 23 November - Writers' Retreat - a chance to get some traction on those papers that need completion.

The conference logo 

logoThe logo for this year reflects the conference theme, and was designed by June Lincoln, Design Studio, Massey University. The logo features some of the many pest animals and plants which have been so successful in New Zealand, all homing in on our natural environment, which has become (as we propose!) an invasion hotspot. Our staff or graduates are featured in the work below. 


The organisms, clockwise from upper left, are:


Tradescantia fluminensis, or wandering willy, is a very aggressive forest weed, particularly in the Manawatu, its first site of introduction to New Zealand. The image is by Alastair Robertson, who, with students has published on the topic.

Click here for a paper on impact of traddy on forest regeneration.


The ferret, Mustela fero, is a particularly active predator, whose omnivorous diet includes native birds and insects, as well as any available introduced species. This ferret was found in the "Fernbird area" of Manawatu Estuary - image by Jill Rapson.

Click here  for a paper on ferret ecology.

Yellow flower

Boneseed, Chrysanthemoides monilifera, is not yet a particularly common weed in New Zealand, but it is recognised for its invasiveness, and is slowly occupying the Manawatu, particularly waste areas, via its prolific seed output. Image by Jill Rapson.

Click here for a paper on boneseed ecology.


Mr Snuffles, the hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) is a welcome guest in many New Zealand gardens, but he has a tendency to seek out and consume a tasty range of native invertebrates and birds' eggs. Image by Matt Krna.

Click here for a paper on hedgehog diet.

The background image to our banner is a tinted version of two young fertile fronds of Blechnum discolor or crown fern, a common understorey species of red beech (Fuscospora fusca) forest in the Manawatu, where it can form thickets. In addition to its dimorphic frond type, crown fern has whitish backs to its sterile fronds, and often grows a "trunk", formed of accumulated frond bases. Image by Jill Rapson. Click here for a paper on the subject. Click here for an article about the project, and here for a copy of the management plan.


Te manu kai i te miro nōna te ngahere.
Te manu kai i te mātauranga nōna te ao.

The bird who eats of the miro tree owns the forest.
The bird who eats of the tree of knowledge owns the world.


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