New Zealand Journal of Ecology (2013) 37(3): 298- 306

The value of long-term ecological research: integrating knowledge for conservation of hihi on Tiritiri Matangi Island

Review Article
Rose Thorogood 1*
Doug P. Armstrong 2
Matthew Low 3
Patricia Brekke 4
John G. Ewen 4
  1. Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street CB2 3EJ, Cambridge, United Kingdom
  2. Wildlife Ecology Group, Institute of Natural Resources, Massey University, Private Bag 11-222, Palmerston North, New Zealand
  3. Department of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 7044, 75007 Uppsala, Sweden
  4. Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, Regents Park, NW1 4RY, London, United Kingdom
*  Corresponding author

In 1995 and 1996, release of 51 hihi (stitchbird, Notiomystis cincta) onto Tiritiri Matangi Island (wild caught on Hauturu, Little Barrier Island) marked the start of a research and ecological restoration success story. Although establishment of populations of hihi elsewhere in New Zealand has proven to be difficult, the population on Tiritiri Matangi Island has grown to c. 150 individuals and has become one of New Zealand’s few detailed case-study species. Here we review the major contributions from over 15 years of ongoing research on this dynamic species at this spectacular study location and demonstrate how behavioural ecology, molecular ecology, parasitology, and applied population ecology can inform conservation management.