Centre for Integrative Ecology (CIE)

Biology students out in the field doing research

Extensive freshwater ecosystems exist in New Zealand, from alpine tarns and braided rivers to rural ditches and urban drains. Research at UC aims to better understand these environments and the organisms that inhabit them. The Mackenzie Charitable Foundation has funded a Chair in Freshwater Ecology with the aim of enhancing the effectiveness of riparian management to reduce the impacts of sediments and pollutants on Canterbury waterways. Staff and students have applied their skills on campus with the award winning restoration of the Okeover stream, home of the endangered Canterbury mudfish. For more information, head here.

The major focus of marine ecology research at UC is marine intertidal and subtidal ecology and to integrate ecology with physics, chemistry, and genetics in order to develop a greater understanding of processes that structure marine communities. The Edward Percival field station on the coast at Kaikoura, two hours drive north of Christchurch provides an excellent base for researchers with laboratory facilities and comfortable living quarters. Collaborations exist nationally and internationally on large long term research programmes. For more information, head here.

Research projects in terrestrial ecology at UC range in scale from investigating individual organisms to whole ecosystems, and from pristine environments to those that are highly modified.

Examples of research include

  • Effects of land use, especially agriculture, and global change phenomena on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.
  • Mathematical modelling of the impact of biological control agents on weeds and plant/herbivore co-evolution involving inducible defences.
  • The effects of forest fragmentation, particularly edge effects, on insect community structure.
  • Bird-plant mutualisms - the importance and resilience of bird pollination and bird seed dispersal systems in the New Zealand flora
  • The impact of biodiversity loss on trophic structure dynamics.
  • Developing a preliminary mutualist web in a West African
    montane forest.

For advice

Jason Tylianakis

Professor
Terrestrial Ecology
Julius von Haast 330
Internal Phone: 95379

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