Best Publication by a New Researcher

Aims of the award

The New Zealand Ecological Society awards an annual prize for the best published paper of an ecological nature by a new researcher in the New Zealand Journal of Ecology. This award is targeted at people at the start of their research career to encourage participation in the Society’s journal and recognise research calibre of emerging ecologists.


Recipients of the award are:

  • announced at the New Zealand Ecological Society conference;
  • highlighted in the New Zealand Ecological Society’s newsletter, and on the society’s website and social media platforms;
  • awarded $250.



Authors eligible for the award must meet the following criteria:

  • be the first author or sole author of the paper published in the New Zealand Journal of Ecology in the last 12 months;
  • be a current member of the New Zealand Ecological Society;
  • either currently be a student or have graduated within the last three years (for the 2024 award the applicant must have graduated after 30 June 2021), and be at the start of their research career (or otherwise at the discretion of the Editor-in-Chief in agreement with the Awards Convenor);
  • only one paper per eligible author (author to decide).


All eligible publications will be reviewed by the Editor-in-Chief of the journal and the decision will be forwarded to the council. Authors are to alert the Editor-in-Chief of their eligibility for the award upon acceptance of their paper.


The Editor-in-Chief of the journal is responsible for the selection of this award. If a conflict of interest occurs, current members of the council will form a panel to oversee the selection. At the discretion of the nominated committee no award may be made in any given year.



Past Recipients: Best Paper by a New Researcher

From 2010 only papers published in New Zealand Journal of Ecology were eligible for this award.

2023. Grace Marshall, University of Canterbury for the paper:

  • Marshall, G.R., Wyse, S.V., Manley, B.R., and Forbes, A.S. (2023). International use of exotic plantations for native forest restoration and implications for Aotearoa New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Ecology, 47: 3516.

2022. Aaron Heimann, University of Otago for the paper:

2021. Jamie McAulay, Department of Conservation for the paper:

  • McAulay, J.R., Monks, J.M., Wilson, D.J., and Seddon, P. J. (2021). Individual specialists within a generalist niche: variable diet of stoats and implications for conservation. New Zealand Journal of Ecology, 45(2): 3443.

2020. Pauline Palmas, Aix-Marseille Université for the paper:

  • Palmas, P., Jourdan, H., Debar, L., Bourguet, E., Rigault, F., Bonnaud, E., and Vidal, E. (2020). A conservation paradox: endangered and iconic flightless kagu (Rhynochetos jubatus) apparently escape feral cat predation. New Zealand Journal of Ecology, 44(1): 3394.

2019. Faline Drummond, Massey University for the paper:

2018. James Brock, University of Auckland for the paper:

2016. Rachel Buxton, University of Otago for the paper:

  • Buxton, R., Taylor, G., Jones, C. Lyver, P.O., Moller, H. Cree, A. and Towns, D. (2016) Spatio-temporal changes in density and distribution of burrow-nesting seabird colonies after rat eradication. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 40(1): 88-99.

2015. Annette Evans, University of Auckland for the paper:

2014. Ellen Cieraad, Landcare Research, for the paper: 

2013. Sarah Wyse, University of Auckland, for the paper: 

2012. Merodie Beavon, University of Canterbury, for the paper:

2011. Susan Cunningham, Massey University, for the paper:

2010. Imogen Bassett, School of Biological Science, University of Auckland, for the paper:

2009. Dr Michelle Greenwood, University of Canterbury for the paper:

  • Greenwood M.J. McIntosh A.R.; 2008: Flooding impacts on responses of a riparian consumer to cross-ecosystem subsides. Ecology 89:1489-1486.

2008. Cynthia Roberts, Lincoln University for the paper:

  • Roberts C.M, Duncan R.P, Wilson K-J. 2007: Burrowing seabirds affect forest regeneration, Rangatira Island, Chatham Islands, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 31: 208-222.

2007. Robert Ewers, for the paper:

  • Ewers, R.M. Thorpe, S. and Didham R.K. 2007: Synergistic interactions between edge and area effects in a heavily fragmented landscape. Ecology 88: 96-106.

2006. James Russell, for the paper:

  • Russell, J.C. and Clout, M.N. 2004. Modelling the distribution and interaction of introduced rodents on the New Zealand offshore islands. Global Ecology and Biogeography 13: 497–507.

2005. Michael Joy, for the paper:

  • Joy, M.K. and Death, R.G. 2004: Predictive modelling and spatial mapping of freshwater fish and decapod assemblages using GIS and neural networks. Freshwater Biology 49: 1036-1052.

2004. Rachel Standish, for the paper:

  • Standish, R.J.; Williams, P.A.; Roberston, A.W.; Scott, N.A. and Hedderley, D.I. 2004: Invasion by a perennial herb increases decomposition rate and alters nutrient availability in warm  temperate lowland forest remnants. Biological Invasions 6: 71-81.

2003. Not presented.

2002. Angela Moles, for the paper:

  • Moles, A.T.; Westoby, M. 2003: Latitude, seed predation, and seed mass. Journal of Biogeography 30(1): 105-128.

2001. Duane Peltzer, Landcare Research, for the paper:

  • Peltzer, D.A.; Wilson, S.D. 2001: Variation in plant responses to neighbors at local and regional scales. The American Naturalist 157(6): 610-625.