David M Houston

David M Houston
New Zealand Department of Conservation · Terrestrial Science Unit, Biodiversity Group

Parks and Recreation Management

About

42
Publications
9,083
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
628
Citations
Citations since 2016
25 Research Items
379 Citations
20162017201820192020202120220204060
20162017201820192020202120220204060
20162017201820192020202120220204060
20162017201820192020202120220204060
Additional affiliations
April 1987 - April 2020
New Zealand Department of Conservation
Position
  • Consultant
Education
February 1982 - December 1985
Lincoln University New Zealand
Field of study
  • Park Ranger

Publications

Publications (42)
Article
Full-text available
Context: Tourism operations that provide the opportunity for wildlife viewing can support conservation management through public education, habitat protection, population management, research activities and revenue generation. However, alongside these potential benefits there can be negative effects on the species that include the possibility of re...
Article
Climate shifts are key drivers of ecosystem change. Despite the critical importance of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean for global climate, the extent of climate-driven ecological change in this region remains controversial. In particular, the biological effects of changing sea ice conditions are poorly understood. We hypothesize that rapid postgl...
Article
Human impacts have substantially reduced avian biodiversity in many parts of the world, particularly on isolated islands of the Pacific Ocean. The New Zealand archipelago, including its five subantarctic island groups, holds breeding grounds for a third of the world's penguin species, including several representatives of the diverse crested penguin...
Article
Full-text available
Migratory species often roam vast distances bringing them into contact with diverse conditions and threats that could play significant roles in their population dynamics. This is especially true if long-range travels occur within crucial stages of a species’ annual life-cycle. Crested penguins, for example, usually disperse over several hundreds of...
Article
Full-text available
Free-ranging marine predators rarely search for prey along straight lines because dynamic ocean processes usually require complex search strategies. If linear movement patterns occur they are usually associated with travelling events or migratory behaviour. However, recent fine scale tracking of flying seabirds has revealed straight-line movements...
Article
Full-text available
Background Understanding the micro-­evolutionary response of populations to demographic declines is a major goal in evolutionary and conservation biology. In small populations, genetic drift can lead to an accumulation of deleterious mutations, which will increase the risk of extinction. However, demographic recovery can still occur after extreme d...
Article
Full-text available
Erect-crested penguins are the least studied of all penguins. They breed on two isolated subantarctic island groups, the Antipodes and Bounty Islands. Sporadic nest counts indicate a dramatic decline in numbers of erect-crested penguins over the last 50 years. Here we present data from a study undertaken in 1998 on the breeding biology, behavior an...
Article
Full-text available
Species recovery programs are increasingly using genomic data to measure neutral genetic diversity and calculate metrics like relatedness. While these measures can inform conservation management, determining the mechanisms underlying inbreeding depression requires information about functional genes associated with adaptive or maladaptive traits. To...
Article
Full-text available
Fiordland crested penguins (tawaki; Eudyptes pachyrhynchus) lack sexually dimorphic plumage so behavioural cues or bill size have traditionally been used to determine sex in the field. We aimed to identify morphological characters that can be quickly and reliably be measured in the field to accurately sex adult tawaki, and validated these with gene...
Article
Full-text available
Penguins (Sphenisciformes) are a remarkable order of flightless wing-propelled diving seabirds distributed widely across the southern hemisphere. They share a volant common ancestor with Procellariiformes close to the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary (66 million years ago) and subsequently lost the ability to fly but enhanced their diving capabilities...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Penguins (Sphenisciformes) are a remarkable order of flightless wing-propelled diving seabirds distributed widely across the southern hemisphere. They share a volant common ancestor with Procellariiformes close to the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary (66 million years ago) and subsequently lost the ability to fly but enhanced their diving...
Conference Paper
The Chatham oystercatcher (Haematopus chathamensis) is the world's rarest oystercatcher species. It is confined to the Chatham Islands 800 km east of New Zealand, and has a population of about 300 individuals. It is ranked Nationally Critical in the New Zealand Department of Conservation's threat ranking scheme. Intensive management of the species...
Preprint
Full-text available
The breeding routines and foraging behaviour of many pelagic seabird species is influenced by environmental factors. Seasonality greatly affects the temporal prey availability for many marine species while the spatial distribution of prey often correlates to oceanographic features. We examined the influence of such environmental factors on the nest...
Preprint
Full-text available
The breeding routines and foraging behaviour of many pelagic seabird species is influenced by environmental factors. Seasonality greatly affects the temporal prey availability for many marine species while the spatial distribution of prey often correlates to oceanographic features. We examined the influence of such environmental factors on the nest...
Preprint
Full-text available
Migratory species often roam vast distances bringing them into contact with diverse conditions and threats that could play significant roles in their population dynamics. This is especially true if long-range travels occur within crucial stages of a species’ annual life-cycle. Crested penguins, for example, usually disperse over several hundreds of...
Preprint
Full-text available
Migratory species often roam vast distances bringing them into contact with diverse conditions and threats that could play significant roles in their population dynamics. This is especially true if long-range travels occur within crucial stages of a species’ annual life-cycle. Crested penguins, for example, usually disperse over several hundreds of...
Article
Full-text available
A short popular account of the discovery of a new species of Lecanora and the subsequent pathways taken to its formal description as Lecanora kohu is recounted
Article
Full-text available
Lecanora kohu Printzen, Blanchon, Fryday et de Lange is described as new to science from Rangatira (South East Island), Chatham Islands. It is morphologically similar to L. symmicta (Ach.) Ach., from which it is distinguished by the continuous, areolate thallus, immersed apothecia with pale pink to pink-brown discs, and by the presence of atranorin...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change is a global issue with effects that are difficult to manage at a regional scale. Yet more often than not climate factors are just some of multiple stressors affecting species on a population level. Non-climatic factors—especially those of anthropogenic origins—may play equally important roles with regard to impacts on species and are...
Data
ESM4—Correlation matrices for model parametrization
Data
ESM3—Posterior distributions for all three prio configurations
Preprint
Climate change is a global issue with effects that are difficult to manage at a regional scale. Yet more often than not climate factors are just some of multiple stressors affecting species on a population level. Non-climatic factors - especially those of anthropogenic origins - may play equally important roles with regard to impacts on species and...
Article
Full-text available
Little Penguin (Eudyptula minor) populations on the south-eastern coastline of the South Island, New Zealand, thrive at locations where they are protected from predation by introduced mammals and disturbance by people. Our objective was to investigate the reproductive performance of a population of Little Penguins at Oamaru over a period of 19 year...
Article
Full-text available
Historically, little contact with humans makes the Snares Penguin, Eudyptes robustus, an ideal species to study the natural response of penguins to human proximity. We measured behavioural and heart rate (HR) responses of Snares Penguins to a range of stimuli commonly occurring at their breeding sites and to experimental human disturbance. While be...
Article
Full-text available
Worldwide, crested penguins (Eudyptes spp.) are in decline and it is suspected that reduced prey availability plays an important role. However, the population of Snares Penguins (E. robustus) does not follow this trend, with its population being stable if not slightly increasing. To assess whether the success of the Snares Penguins is a result of a...
Article
Full-text available
The stomach contents of 158 hedgehogs captured at Macraes Flat, Otago, New Zealand, over two summers in 2000 and 2001 were examined for the occurrence of lizards. The remains of at least 43 skinks (both Oligosoma nigriplantare polychroma and O. maccanni) and one gecko (Hoplodactylus sp.) were found. Twenty-one percent (n = 33; 8 males and 25 female...
Conference Paper
The distribution of prey for penguins is often a result of physical oceonographic processes. This is particularily so for penguin species breeding in isolated oceanic areas like sub-Antarctic islands. Snares penguins are primarily planktivorous foragers that find their food in a pelagic environment where prey distribution is a product of currents a...
Article
Full-text available
Yellow-eyed penguins Megadyptes antipodes seemingly forage at discrete marine locations over the continental shelf, where they are believed to feed predominantly at the seafloor. Such behaviour would distinguish them from most other penguin species that generally employ pelagic foraging strategies. From 2003 to 2005 we studied the foraging behaviou...
Article
The endangered, endemic Yellow-eyed penguin (Megadyptes antipodes) is one of the flagship species for New Zealand's wildlife tourism, and recently concern has been raised that tourism-related pressures may be becoming too great. We compared two neighbouring breeding areas exposed to different levels of human disturbance. Penguins at the site expose...
Technical Report
Full-text available
For seabird foraging studies, data loggers that use signals transmitted from Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites represent a major methodological breakthrough. GPS loggers small and robust enough to be deployed on diving animals such as penguins are a recent development. The application of GPS devices on diving animals has its limitations du...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
For seabird foraging studies, data loggers that use signals transmitted from Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites represent a major methodological breakthrough. GPS loggers small and robust enough to be deployed on diving animals such as penguins are a recent development. The application of GPS devices on diving animals has its limitations du...
Article
The little penguin Eudyptula minor is unique among penguin species in being able to fledge chicks from two clutches in one breeding season. Pairs laying two clutches in a given season make a higher reproductive investment, and may be rewarded by a higher reproductive success as they may raise twice as many chicks as pairs laying one clutch. The hig...
Technical Report
Full-text available
In June/July 2002 the eradication of Pacific rats from Maninita Island in the Vava’u group of the Kingdom of Tonga was attempted using Brodifacoum pellets in bait stations. In December 2002, Maninita was revisited and rat trapping carried out to determine if rats were present. While no rats were caught and none were seen, further monitoring in June...
Article
Full-text available
El Niño and La Niña climate perturbations alter sea currents and food availability for seabirds in many areas of the world. This changes their breeding success and mortality. Blue penguin (Eudyptula minor) breeding success is dependent upon whether one or two clutches per season are laid, and the hatching and fledging success of these clutches. Thi...
Article
Full-text available
Some 300 wooden nest boxes have been used for blue penguins in the Oamaru area. Experience suggests that many blue penguins prefer nest boxes to natural nest sites. Reproductive success in nest boxes is high and the use of tanalised timber appears to present no risk.
Article
Full-text available
The stomach contents of 158 hedgehogs captured at Macraes Flat, Otago, New Zealand, over two summers in 2000 and 2001 were examined for the occurrence of lizards. The remains of at least 43 skinks (both Oligosoma nigriplantare polychroma and O. maccanni) and one gecko (Hoplodactylus sp.) were found. Twenty-one percent (n = 33; 8 males and 25 female...

Questions

Questions (2)
Question
Are shorebirds startled by the launches, either when feeding/roosting or from the nest? Do any startle events have any impacts that are different natural events?
How far from the launch site are any effects noted?
Do night-time launches have any greater of lesser effects?
In this case we're talking about an endangered shorebird nesting less than 2km from a launch site for small 2-stage orbital vehicles.
Any experiences or references appreciated.
Question
Aside from McDonald, P.G. & Griffith, S.C., 2011. To pluck or not to pluck: the hidden ethical and scientific costs of relying on feathers as a primary source of DNA. Journal of Avian Biology, 42(3), pp.197–203, does anyone have any thoughts on the impacts of plucking 3 contour feathers from small (and highly endangered) passerines?

Network

Cited By

Projects

Project (1)
Project
The Tawaki Project is the first comprehensive study of one of world’s rarest and New Zealand’s least known penguin species, the Fiordland penguin/tawaki. The main focus of the 5-year project is to examine the species’ marine ecology (foraging ranges, diving behaviour) using GPS dive loggers. This information is crucial for the development of marine protected areas and in the face of anthropogenic influences (e.g. accidental bycatch, habitat degradation, human disturbance and pollution) that increasingly impact on penguins that are struggling with climate related changes in their marine habitat. The project also aims at increasing the public awareness by using an open science approach and involving local communities in its activities. The project maintains strong social media and other online presences with plans to introduce a citizen science program (reporting sightings of colour marked penguins) in Milford Sound starting this year.