Brushtail possums at a 21 ha site at Castlepoint in the Wairarapa, New Zealand, were studied with capture-mark-recapture from August 1989 to August 1994. The mean annual adult population density, based on counts of mature possums trapped each year, was 8.7 per ha and varied by only small amounts during the study period. The median survival age was 32 months (95% CI 28–39) for females and 27 months (95% CI 26–30) for males.
Has the science of ecology fulfilled the promises made by the originators of ecological science at the start of the last century? What should ecology achieve? Have good policies for environmental management flowed out of ecological science? These important questions are rarely discussed by ecologists working on detailed studies of individual systems. Until we decide what we wish to achieve as ecologists we cannot define progress toward those goals.
Fruit features of 17 Acaena species in New Zealand were investigated to determine the relations between reproductive allocation patterns, mode of dispersal and species ecology. Three basic morphological types, corresponding to major sections within the genus, are represented: spineless fruits (Sect. Pteracaena—one species), spined fruits lacking barbs (Sect. Microphyllae—6 species), and spined fruits with barbs (Sect. Ancistrum—10 species).
Stoats were monitored by three methods through an aerial 1080 poisoning operation at Waimanoa, Pureora Forest in August 1997. Tracking rates and number of live captures were used as indices of abundance, and radio-transmitters were used to follow individual animals. All 13 stoats with radio-transmitters within the poisoned area died between 2-18 days after the operation. No mustelids were tracked or live-trapped after the operation for three months. Of the radio-tracked stoats that died, rat remains occurred in 67%, passerine birds in 17%, cave weta in 17% and possum in 8%.
In this paper we document the role of Phormium tenax as a nurse plant in unimproved pasture. We show that for our study area the regeneration of woody species was limited solely to P. tenax clumps with 22 native and one introduced regenerating woody species present. The number of woody species and of individual woody plants regenerating within P. tenax is not correlated with distance from the edge of the remnant forest but is significantly correlated with P. tenax clump area. P.
New Zealand flowers are frequently considered unspecialised allowing easy access to pollen and nectar by a wide range of visitors. Most conform with a syndrome of insect pollination (entomophily). Pollination of forest flowers by birds has been described for a range of species whose flowers are morphologically ornithophilous. On Kapiti Island and Little Barrier Island, all three species of New Zealand honeyeaters have been described feeding on flowers currently assumed to be entomophilous or where the pollination system is unknown.
Food of the North Island kaka (Nestor meridionalis septentrionalis) on Kapiti Island was identified while quantifying the foraging activity of nine radio-tagged birds from March 1991 to January 1992. Additional food types were identified by opportunistic observation of feeding birds and qualitative examination of nestling faeces. A diverse range of food was taken, including wood-boring invertebrates, scale insects, seeds, nectar or pollen, fruits, and sap.
Ship rat (Rattus rattus) and mouse (Mus musculus) density and habitat use were estimated by snap trapping and tracking tunnels at Kaharoa in central North Island, New Zealand. Eighty-one ship rats were caught in an effective trapping area of 12.4 ha. Extinction trapping gave an estimated density of 6.7 rats ha(-1) (6.5-7.8 rats ha(-1), 95% confidence intervals). A linear relationship existed between ship rat trapping and tracking rates. Estimating the density of mice was impossible because trapping rates increased rather than decreased during the experiment.
Relationships between composition of secondary vegetation and environment were studied in central North Island, New Zealand. A classification procedure was used to identify broad compositional groups which included forest, broadleaved scrub, shrub-fernland, sclerophyllous scrub and shrubland, and tussock-shrubland. Generalised additive models (GAMs) were used to examine relationships between species' distributions and mean annual temperature and rainfall, stand age, distance from intact forest, slope, topography, and drainage.
Dactylanthus taylorii, a root parasite in the family Balanophoraceae, is New Zealand's only fully parasitic flowering plant. It grows attached to the roots of a wide range of hardwood trees and shrubs, often in fire-induced secondary forest on the margin of podocarp-hardwood forest. It is inconstantly dioecious with a skewed sex ratio of approximately 5:1 male to female inflorescences. The inflorescences, especially the males, contain a large quantity of nectar, up to 1.6 mi, and can produce 0.5 mi per day for 10 days.