School of Biological Sciences

My work draws on genomic and transcriptomic sequencing techniques and field based ecological studies to address fundamental questions in evolution, ecology and demography of at-risk species. I’m particularly interested in the interplay of sexual and natural selection in local adaptation, the effects of mating system on genetic variation, and impacts of genetic bottleneck effects and inbreeding on population persistence. I have worked with a broad array of taxa, including salmon and tuatara, but currently focus on New Zealand’s endemic kiwi.

I’m also interested in indigenous traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and the interface of TEK with Western science. Applied species conservation is a primary goal of both my genetics and TEK research.

In addition to research, I am a Coordinator for Study Abroad Aotearoa, an innovative programme offering a series of customized courses for overseas students.

Read more about my kiwi genomics research

View some of the media highlights from my kiwi research:

Science NOW, Rising numbers may not be enough to save tigers and kiwis, 5/2013

Scientific American, NZ's little spotted kiwi are in more trouble than we thought, 5/2013

Dominion Post, Lack of diversity puts little spotted kiwi at risk, 5/2013

Dominion Post, Scientists peek into kapiti spotted kiwi, 10/2012

Victorious (magazine of Victoria University), Are endangered kiwi inbreeding? Aut/2011

Dominion Post, Two very little spotted kiwi spotted in Karori sanctuary, 1/2011


Selection of Publications

 Kolle, G, HC Miller, and KM Ramstad. In preparation. De novo sequence assembly of kiwi transcriptomes: candidate gene discovery and expression analysis. Intended for submission to Genome Research.

Ramstad, KM, HA Robertson, CH Daugherty, R Abbott, and FW Allendorf. In preparation. The rarest kiwi (Apteryx rowi) survives in a single remnant population. Intended for submission to Conservation Genetics.

Taylor, HR, RM Colbourne, HA Robertson, NJ Nelson, and KM Ramstad. In review. Population growth is not a suitable measure of translocation success: reduced hatching success suggests cryptic inbreeding depression in a growing translocated population of little spotted kiwi. Ibis.

Taylor, HR, M Kardos, KM Ramstad and FW Allendorf. In review. Valid estimates of individual inbreeding coefficients from marker-based pedigrees are not feasible in wild populations with low allelic diversity. Conservation Genetics. 

View more publications.