mast seeding

Impacts of introduced mammalian predators on New Zealand’s alpine fauna

Alpine zones are threatened globally by invasive species, hunting, and habitat loss caused by fire, anthropogenic development and climate change. These global threats are pertinent in New Zealand, with the least understood pressure being the potential impacts of introduced mammalian predators, the focus of this review. In New Zealand, alpine zones include an extensive suite of cold climate ecosystems covering c. 11% of the land mass. They support rich communities of indigenous invertebrates, lizards, fish, and birds.

How elevation affects ship rat (Rattus rattus) capture patterns, Mt Misery, New Zealand

There is a lack of information about how elevation affects the distribution of ship rats in New Zealand. In this study, ship rats (Rattus rattus) were captured in traps set along a 2 km elevational transect (455–1585 m a.s.l.) in beech (Nothofagaceae) forest and adjacent alpine tussock at Mt Misery, in Nelson Lakes National Park, from 1974 to 1993. A total of 118 rats were captured.

Little geographic or host plant genetic variation in a Chionochloa (Poaceae) seed predator (Cecidomyiidae: undescribed species)

The grass genus Chionochloa in New Zealand exhibits a high degree of mast seeding synchronised across species and habitats. Masting appears to be maintained by a predator satiation mechanism involving three pre-dispersal seed- and flower-feeding insects. It is not clear how important each of the three insects is in favouring the masting strategy. An undescribed cecidomyiid fly (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) may be particularly important, since its conspicuous larvae are found throughout the South Island of New Zealand on many Chinochloa species.