2017 Braided Rivers seminar speakers
Dr Ken Hughey: Professor of Environmental Management, Lincoln University and Chief Science Advisor Department of Conservation
Ken has worked at Lincoln University since 1995. He had previously worked for the Department of Conservation in a variety of research and management positions as well as for the NZ Wildlife Service. His PhD was on the habitat requirements of birds nesting on braided rivers and he continues to research and provide expert evidence on flow modelling related to braided river birds for helping resolve water resource management issues. He is on the Hurunui Waiau Water Zone Management Committee. Since 2014 he has been DOC’s Chief Science Advisor.
Dr Jo Hoyle: NIWA
Jo studied natural resources engineering in Christchurch and worked as a river engineer/manager in the Tasman District for several years before completing a PhD in the field of river geomorphology at Macquarie University, Australia. Her PhD thesis focused on the effects of European settlement on the gravel-bed Hunter River. Jo currently works at NIWA in Christchurch, managing the Sediment Processes group. Her current research interests relate to the implications of river geomorphology on freshwater ecosystems, and improving understanding of braided rivers to guide river management.
Grant Norbury: Landcare Research
Grant is a wildlife ecologist based in Alexandra. He specialises in predator-prey ecology in dryland ecosystems with a view to enhancing native biodiversity. He studies the interactions within pest guilds and how they affect native species. Grant is also the chairperson of a community conservation group, the Central Otago Ecological Trust, which aims to restore communities of native lizards that have become locally extinct or rare in the district.
Dr Colin O’Donnell, Principal Science Advisor: Department of Conservation
Colin has worked on braided river wildlife since the late 1970s, particularly on fauna surveys and habitat use studies of river birds. He maintains a number of long term monitoring databases for braided river bird populations. Colin’s research focuses on threatened species and threatened ecosystems, especially the ecology of rainforest bats and birds, developing predator control techniques for forests, wetlands, braided rivers, and alpine ecosystems and developing monitoring methods for lizards and invertebrates. Colin is based in DOC’s Christchurch Office.
Jennifer Schori: University of Canterbury
Raised in the foothills of Canterbury, Jennifer spent a lot of time exploring the great outdoors. A passion for conservation lead her to a do a degree in Ecology and it was there that she discovered the diversity and importance of insects. Today Jennifer is a PhD student at Canterbury University studying the conservation management of the robust grasshopper, a nationally endangered braided river insect. Jennifer is loving this research as it combines two of her greatest interests; conservation and entomology.
Ann-Kathrin Schlesselmann: PhD candidate, University of Otago
Ann-Kathrin is a researcher based out of Dunedin. Currently she is undertaking her PhD at the University of Otago focusing on the conservation management of black-fronted terns in New Zealand. This encompasses using a molecular ecology approach as well as large scale experiments in the field. In the past seven years she has called several parts of New Zealand and Germany home, where she worked as an ecologist. Ann-Kathrin had the privilege to not only work intensively with black-fronted terns, but also with New Zealand rock wren, eagle owls, peregrine falcons and many other species in the past. She holds a BSc in Biology from the University of Auckland and a PGDipSci in Wildlife Management from the University of Otago.
Courtney Hamblin: Lincoln University
Courtney is a Masters student at Lincoln University studying the use of social attractants as a potential management tool for black-fronted terns. She spent a lot of time in the outdoors growing up developing a love of nature and all of its quirky and strange creations, particularly the birds. She spent four years in America completing her undergraduate study in biology and following sporting endeavours before returning home. She is now very excited to be back working in the New Zealand environment, particularly the dynamic braided river systems.
Philip Grove: Environment Canterbury
Philip has worked at Environment Canterbury Regional Council since 2001 as a terrestrial and wetland ecologist in the Science Group. Amongst other things, this job has involved survey and monitoring of the region’s wetland and braided river floodplain habitats, and their birdlife.
Dean Nelson: Department of Conservation
Dean is currently Senior ranger for threatened species and Project River Recovery based in Twizel. For the twelve years that Dean has been in Twizel, he’s managed the kaki recovery programme, the Tasman Valley predator control programme, and the threatened freshwater fish work in the Mackenzie basin. Prior to that, he had 15 years in Dunedin where heworked on yellow-eyed penguin, amongst other species.
Dr. Georgina Pickerell: University of Otago
George completed her PhD looking at the risk of mammalian predator presence on braided river islands in 2015. Prior to that she had worked for 10 years as a research assistant in NZ and overseas on projects including seabird and forest bird monitoring, effects of predator control on wader populations, and mammalian predator ecology. She is currently a Zoology Teaching Fellow at Otago University and in her spare time she likes to help with bird counts and other community conservation projects.
Jim Jolly: Jolly Consulting Ltd
A consultant ornithologist with a Masters in Zoology from the University of Canterbury, Jim has over 40 years experience working on major research programmes on braided river birds on the Rangitata, Waimakariri, and Wairau Rivers. He was a scientist for the Forest Research Institute, NZ Wildlife Service/DOC, scientist adviser and writer for the NZ Natural Heritage Foundation, Massey University, and also lecturer at Massey University. Since 1993 he has worked as a consultant for companies seeking to extract water for hydro-electric power generation for irrigation, advised Environment Canterbury and submitted evidence to the Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan on the bird values and environmental flows of the Orari River, and contributes to the Orari Opihi Pareora Zone Committee’s Implementation Programme.
Kevin Fraley: University of Canterbury
Under the supervision of Dr. Angus McIntosh, Kevin is studying freshwater fish communities and food webs in Canterbury. Before beginning study at UC, Kevin received his Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (United States), and investigated ecology and movements of native salmonids in a braided, glacially influenced, subarctic river basin.
Natalie Forsdick: University of Canterbury
A passion for conservation resulted in Natalie completing an MSc at the University of Canterbury in 2016, investigating the genetic diversity of the Chatham Island Black Robin through comparison between island populations and the closely-related Chatham Island Tomtit. An interest in the genetic challenges faced by small populations, such as low genetic diversity, inbreeding, and hybridisation, have led Natalie to study towards a PhD at the University of Otago. This project focusses on the use of genomic techniques to tackle complex conservation questions in collaboration with diverse end-users, particularly with regard to Kakī, but relevant to conservation management in general.
Claudia completed a BSc in Environmental Sciences/Conservation Biology in Canada, and has been working with various seabird species around the world for the past ten years. Since coming to New Zealand in 2012, she has taken a special interest in the black-billed gulls. Continuing on from the work Mike Bell had started in Marlborough in 2009, Claudia has been actively monitoring all gull colonies in Marlborough and Tasman. She recently coordinated surveys of black-billed gull colonies for Marlborough, Tasman, Canterbury, and the West Coast. As a keen seabird ornithologist, she continues to be involved in the monitoring and conservation efforts of many species.
Ailsa Howard: Forest & Bird / Hutton’s Shearwater Charitable Trust
Ailsa graduated in Botany (with a Biogeography leaning) from Otago in 1983. A keen tramper and birder, she is currently Chairperson of Forest and Bird, Kaikoura Branch, and Secretary and Trustee of The Hutton’s Shearwater Charitable Trust. Alisa is also a freelance photographer, with a particular interest in advocacy for wildlife. She is currently undertaking 5-year research project: The Banded Dotterels of South Bay – the empty nest syndrome, a project born from the influx of weeds into the braided river systems forcing dotterels to nest (almost entirely unsuccessfully) on the beach.
Grant Davey: Ashley Rakahuri Rivercare Group Inc (ARRG)
A mineral exploration geologist and hydrogeologist, Grant’s career has taken him to Indonesia, Australia, and most recently here in New Zealand with ECan. He has had a longstanding interest in birds, primarily as a photographer. Living on a banks of the Ashley River, he is now applying his technical and IT skills to support the work of the Ashley Rakahuri Rivercare Group.
Nick Ledgard: Chair Ashley Rakahuri Rivercare Group Inc (ARRG) and BRaid Inc.
Nick is a retired forestry researcher (Scion/NZFRI) returning to ornithological roots put out as a youngster. He is a long-time OSNZ member. Currently he spends most of his time trying to improve the lot of native birds on braided rivers (particularly on the Ashley-Rakahuri River), and pursuing his interests in farm forestry and wilding trees.
Sonny Whitelaw: Manager, BRaid
In 1981, having a degree in climate change didn’t offer many career prospects, so Sonny moved to Vanuatu where she developed village-based ecotourism projects. In 2012, she investigated the social impacts of the Canterbury earthquakes for the Hurunui District Council. As the Council’s Biodiversity Advisor, she was one of the principal organisers of the Nina Valley Ecoblitz and collaborated with over 100 children to produce a book on Hurunui biodiversity. The author of several novels centred on the environmental (mis)management, she considers community engagement and citizen science essential to the success of conservation projects.