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PhD Students

Sarah Herbert profile-picture photograph

Sarah Herbert

Taranaki, New Zealand | Blog | Contact Sarah

Can habitat enhancement (aka gardening for lizards) improve the resilience of endemic lizard populations in the presence of alien predators?

My PhD research examines whether a form of ecological reconciliation, habitat enhancement (or, ‘gardening for lizards’), can reduce the negative effects of exotic predators (which includes mice, rats, hedgehogs, stoats, weasels, ferrets and cats) on endemic lizard populations.

The central questions of the research are:

  1. What habitat enhancement techniques have been trialled for reptiles, and were they successful?
  2. Is habitat complexity correlated with lizard abundance and species richness?
  3. Does an abundant lizard population have a negligible risk of extinction when it co-exists with predatory mammals?
  4. Can habitat enhancement increase the resistance to extinction of resident lizard populations in mainland areas?

This research is being conducted at several sites across the Greater Wellington region with permission from DOC, WCC, GWRC and VUW. I started in October 2016, and the project will run though to late 2019.


Ox Lennon profile-picture photograph

Ox Lennon

Christchurch, New Zealand | Contact Ox

Mitigation translocation for conservation of New Zealand lizards

Mitigation translocation is an increasingly common strategy worldwide for reducing damage to wildlife caused by human development and construction. Mitigation translocation is the movement of living organisms from a future development site to another location in an effort to mitigate damage caused to the organisms, and is often a legal requirement. However, this practice may only be fulfilling regulatory requirements rather than providing conservation benefit. My research uses New Zealand skinks as a study system to investigate the effectiveness of mitigation translocations for meeting legal and conservation goals, and how mitigation translocation practices might be improved to result in better conservation outcomes.


Chris Woolley profile-picture photograph

Chris Woolley

Christchurch, New Zealand | Contact Chris

Restoring lizard faunas in New Zealand cities

I am interested in reptile conservation and the relationship between people and wildlife living in cities. My research investigates where different lizard species live in New Zealand cities and what can be done to promote populations. I am also investigating the potential for 'backyard' lizard monitoring, both to aid the conservation of urban-dwelling lizards and as a way to engage urbanites in conservation.