Impact of the irruptive fluctuation in abundance of brushtail possum populations since their initial colonisation was investigated in the forests of South Westland, New Zealand. Possum abundance, fecundity, and diet, the condition of common possum-palatable tree species, and the abundance of common forest birds were measured at three sites occupied by possums for c. 10, 20, and 30 years. Possum densities were highest at the site where possums had been present for c. 20 years.
A simple deterministic accounting model was used to predict the rate at which a colonising stoat (Mustela erminea L.) population would reach specified sizes. The model was used to explore how the size and composition of the founder population, and the survival schedule to which it was exposed, influenced this rate. A function used in disease surveillance was modified to predict the number of tracking tunnels necessary to detect the presence of the colonising Population with a specified degree of confidence.
Changes in Hieracium abundance in Eastern Otago tussock grassland were examined by sampling 163 sites in 1982 and again in 1992. For Hieracium pilosella, H. praealtum and H. lepidulum, as well as Agrostis capillaris for comparison, colonisation of new sites was recorded, as well as extinction of species from sites over the 10 years, and changes in cover. H. pilosella colonised the majority of sites from which it had been absent in 1982; it disappeared from only a few sites where it had been present at very low cover.
Adele (87 ha) and Fisherman (3.6 ha) Islands lie 800 m and 1100 m, respectively, offshore in Tasman Bay, Nelson. Both are covered predominantly in native forest and scrub. There are mice (Mus musculus) on Adele Island but no rodents on Fisherman Island. Both islands are within swimming range of stoats (Mustela erminea) which have colonised Adele Island and occasionally visit Fisherman Island, 700 m distant.
The endangered grand skink (Oligosoma grande) is a New Zealand endemic lizard that persists as metapopulations occupying rock patches within matrices of mixed native vegetation and modified agricultural pasture. Parameterisation of metapopulation models applied in conservation biology assumes complete detectability of target species. Incomplete detectability may result in underestimates of occupancy and biased estimates of extinction and colonisation rates.