James C. Russell's research while affiliated with University of Auckland and other places

Publications (159)

Chapter
Invasive species pose the highest overall threat to seabirds, affecting the most species and the greatest impact based on the timing, scope, and severity. Invasive mammals have been proven the most harmful on seabird breeding islands, and important advances have been made towards solutions to prevent, control, or eradicate these impacts to seabirds...
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Grey-faced Petrels (Pterodroma gouldi) are colonial burrowing seabirds predominantly nesting on offshore islands of the upper North Island of New Zealand. We studied their chick provisioning on Te Hāwere-a-Maki during two years of unfavourable warmer La Niña conditions in 2011 and 2013. We intensively monitored chicks in each year, weighing chicks...
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Islands are global hotspots for biodiversity and extinction, representing ~ 5% of Earth’s land area alongside 40% of globally threatened vertebrates and 61% of global extinctions since the 1500s. Invasive species are the primary driver of native biodiversity loss on islands, though eradication of invasive species from islands has been effective at...
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Conservation decision makers must negotiate social and technical complexities to achieve desired biodiversity outcomes. Quantitative models can inform decision making, by evaluating and predicting management outcomes, so that comparisons can be made between alternative courses of action. However, whether a proposed action is appropriate for impleme...
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Genetic diversity can affect population viability and can be reduced by both acute and chronic mechanisms. Using the history of the establishment and management of two invasive rat species on Tetiaroa atoll, French Polynesia, we investigated the intensity and longevity of contrasting population bottleneck mechanisms on genetic diversity and bottlen...
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Conservation volunteering aims to benefit species and ecosystems, but whether positive collective social outcomes exist for conservation group participants is largely unknown. To examine the importance of the collective social benefits from conservation, we surveyed members of the Auckland, New Zealand public to investigate social capital: the conn...
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Grey-faced Petrels (Pterodroma gouldi) are a colonial burrowing seabird predominantly nesting on offshore islands of the upper North Island of New Zealand. We studied their annual breeding biology and the impact of Southern Oscillation Index climatic effects by measuring colony productivity and chick growth rates from 2011 to 2015 on Te Hāwere-a-Ma...
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Flexibility in foraging strategy is an important mechanism by which seabirds cope with spatiotemporal heterogeneity in food availability and the variable energetic constraints of their annual life cycle. Foraging strategy flexibility was investigated in the grey-faced petrel Pterodroma gouldi breeding on Ihumoana Island (36°53′S, 174°26′E) using st...
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Seabird breeding success is known to reflect oceanic conditions. Gray-faced petrels (Pterodroma gouldi) breeding on the east coast of Auckland, New Zealand, exhibit poor reproductive success and slow chick development compared to west coast conspecifics. This study mapped changes in physiological traits (corticosterone [CORT] and hematological para...
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Aotearoa–New Zealand has embarked on an ambitious goal: to completely eradicate key invasive mammals by 2050. This will require novel tools capable of eliminating pests on a large scale. In New Zealand, large-scale pest suppression is typically carried out using aerial application of the toxin sodium fluoroacetate (1080). However, as currently appl...
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Invasive alien species continue to threaten global biodiversity. CRISPR‐based gene drives, which can theoretically spread through populations despite imparting a fitness cost, could be used to suppress or eradicate pest populations. We develop an individual‐based, spatially explicit, stochastic model to simulate the ability of CRISPR‐based homing a...
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In New Zealand (NZ), leptospirosis is a mostly occupational zoonosis, with >66% of the recently notified cases being farm or abattoir workers. Livestock species independently maintain Leptospira borgpetersenii serovar Hardjo and L. interrogans serovar Pomona, and both are included in livestock vaccines. The increasing importance in human cases of B...
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Invasive ship rats (Rattus rattus) are a major threat to the native species and ecosystems of islands. We used 10 self-resetting traps (A24 rat and stoat traps, Goodnature Ltd., Wellington, NZ), along with existing single kill DOC200 traps at two devices per hectare on a 9.3 hectare island in New Zealand to reduce rat numbers and ideally achieve er...
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We describe the history of Motukawanui, the largest island of the Cavalli Islands, off New Zealand’s Northland east coast, and report on a survey of terrestrial vertebrates undertaken in February 2020. We compare our findings to the previous published survey conducted in December 1979–January 1980. Over the last 40 years, the island’s landscape has...
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ContextMangroves and intertidal habitats have been identified as particularly challenging environments for bait application within both tropical and temperate environments, because bait applied to areas that are tidally inundated could degrade rapidly or become inaccessible to rats. AimsTo determine rat density, ranging behaviour and probability of...
Article
Achieving conservation objectives is time‐critical, but the vast number of threats and potential actions means some form of ranking is necessary to aid prioritization. Objective methods for ranking conservation actions based on when they are differentially likely to become feasible, or to succeed, are currently unavailable within existing decision‐...
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On Aotea/Great Barrier Island, New Zealand, two invasive rat species (Pacific rats and ship rats) pose risks to the ecosystems and challenge the management in two sanctuaries. At Glenfern Sanctuary (83 ha) an eradication has successfully removed ship rats and a predator-proof fence prevents reinvasion. However, Pacific rats persist in low abundance...
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Biodiversity loss is currently one of the most important societal concerns worldwide, and it is caused mainly by habitat loss and fragmentation, biological invasion, and climate change (Vitousek et al. 1996, Newbold et al. 2015, Bellard et al. 2016). Introduced species can have positive effects on human well‐being, especially when used for liveliho...
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Investigations of the genetic structure of populations over the entire range of a species yield valuable information about connectivity among populations. Seabirds are an intriguing taxon in this regard because they move extensively when not breeding, facilitating intermixing of populations, but breed consistently on the same isolated islands, rest...
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Managing vertebrate pests is a global conservation challenge given their undesirable socio-ecological impacts. Pest management often focuses on the 'average' individual, neglecting individual-level behavioural variation ('personalities') and differences in life histories. These differences affect pest impacts and modify attraction to, or avoidance...
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In an era of profound biodiversity crisis, invasion costs, invader impacts, and human agency should not be dismissed.
Article
Invasive species are the major threat to island biodiversity worldwide. Genetic analyses assist in identifying invasion routes as well as revealing population connectivity, which both represent crucial information for conservation management strategies and risk evaluation. Such information is critical to safeguarding vulnerable species on nearshore...
Chapter
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Fernando de Noronha (FN) is an oceanic archipelago in the northeast coast of Brazil, approximately 360 km away from the continent. It is composed of 21 islands and the biggest (also named Fernando de Noronha) has 16.4 km² and is inhabited since the 17th century. The archipelago is an important breeding site for several marine birds, including regio...
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Understanding the likely future impacts of biological invasions is crucial yet highly challenging given the multiple relevant environmental, socio‐economic and societal contexts and drivers. In the absence of quantitative models, methods based on expert knowledge are the best option for assessing future invasion trajectories. Here, we present an ex...
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Stewart Island/Rakiura, the third largest island in New Zealand, around 30 km off the South Island, provides sanctuaries for endangered species and subsequent work on ecological restoration. The natural environment of Rakiura is nationally significant, with habitats and ecosystems that, physically and ecologically, are highly interdependent and rel...
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Since the European discovery of the Auckland Islands, at least ten species of land mammals have been introduced there. Most arrived in the first half of the ninteenth century during periods of exploitation by sealers and whalers, followed by short-lived Māori and European settlements at Port Ross. Several species required multiple introductions bef...
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Removing invasive rodents from islands has many ecological and social benefits. However, eradications fail more frequently on tropical than on temperate islands, and causes for these failures are not yet well understood. We addressed two major plausible reasons for eradication failure, testing whether actively reproducing females and pre-weaned pup...
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House mice (Mus musculus) are a widespread invasive species on islands. Where they are the sole introduced mammal they can have particularly strong negative impacts on recipient ecosystems. House mice impacts have been documented on almost every component of the terrestrial ecosystem on Southern Ocean islands, including plants, invertebrates, birds...
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We successfully eradicated rats from Reiono Island despite reducing the interval between bait applications from the recommended 10-21 days to 7 days, and reducing bait availability from the recommended >4 nights, to 2 nights. We focused on meeting the eradication principle of exposing all rats to poison bait by ensuring complete bait coverage acros...
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Invasive mammals such as rats are associated with negative impacts on native fauna and their eradication on islands around the world has been proved to result in substantial conservation gains. Fernando de Noronha is an archipelago located off the north-east coast of Brazil and has records of native fauna negatively impacted by introduced rats. We...
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Synthetic gene drive approaches are nascent technologies with potential applicability for pest control for conservation purposes. Responsible science mandates that society be engaged in a dialogue over new technology, particularly where there exist global ramifications as with gene drive. We hypothesize that public attitudes towards gene drive are...
Article
Aim Island isolation is measured in many ways. We seek to determine what the underlying latent factors characterizing these measures are, in order to understand how they mechanistically drive island biogeographical patterns and in order to recommend the most parsimonious measures. We then test the discriminatory power of the identified components a...
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Abstract Context. Pest species are a widespread environmental and biodiversity threat and understanding people’s attitudes towards managing pests is critical for nature conservation. Attitudes towards pest species and their management are often contextually dependent on the species and location, and no domain-free measure is currently available. Th...
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ContextEradication of invasive species is necessary to protect and assist the recovery of native species and ecosystems. Knowing when to declare an eradication has been successful after ongoing non-detections is a challenge. AimsThe rapid eradication assessment (REA) model is a powerful simulation framework to determine, given model parameters and...
Technical Report
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The progression of pest eradication to inhabited islands is now possible due to the knowledge gained from successful eradications on uninhabited islands. However, the success of this is likely to be influenced by the attitudes of landowners. The consistency of island inhabitants’ attitudes towards pest management, both within and among islands, is...
Article
The rate of non-native species introductions continues to increase, with directionality from continents to islands. It is no longer single species but entire networks of coevolved and newly interacting continental species that are establishing on islands. The consequences of multispecies introductions on the population dynamics and interactions of...
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Biodiversity on marine islands is characterized by unique biogeographic, phylogenetic and functional characteristics. Islands hold a disproportionate amount of the world's biodiversity, and they have also experienced a disproportionate loss of it. Following human contact, island biodiversity has sustained negative human impacts increasing in rate a...
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To cure a patient's cancer is to eradicate invasive cells from the ecosystem of the body. However, the ecological complexity of this challenge is not well understood. Here we show how results from eradications of invasive mammalian species from islands-one of the few contexts in which invasive species have been regularly cleared-inform new research...
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Eradicating invasive rodents from islands is a common and powerful tool for conserving and restoring island ecosystems and populations. However, a variety of practical and ecological factors make rodent eradications susceptible to several different types of failure. If an eradication operation is not successful, we are faced with many difficult dec...
Technical Report
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Threats to seabird species breeding and visiting the northern Aotearoa New Zealand region.
Article
Grey-faced Petrels (Pterodroma gouldi) are burrow-nesting seabirds endemic to New Zealand. They usually breed on mammal-free offshore islands along the North Island coast. Mechanisms by which breeding colonies can persist on the North Island with introduced mammals present are still uncertain. Motion-sensing video cameras were used in the Waitakere...
Data
Table of islands where no socio-political feasibility data was available during this study, country or territory of ownership, invasive mammals and highly threatened species occurring on island. Invasive mammal species listed are only those identified as having negative impact on highly threatened species and fall below island area and human popula...
Data
Additional figures, tables and text supporting the main paper. (DOCX)
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Invasive alien species are a major threat to native insular species. Eradicating invasive mammals from islands is a feasible and proven approach to prevent biodiversity loss. We developed a conceptual framework to identify globally important islands for invasive mammal eradications to prevent imminent extinctions of highly threatened species using...
Data
Table of islands, country or territory of ownership, invasive mammals and highly threatened species occurring on island, island rank reflecting conservation value, and timeframe assessed by socio-political survey in which an eradication could feasibly be initiated. Invasive mammal species listed are only those identified as having negative impact o...
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Shearwaters and petrels (hereafter petrels) are highly adapted seabirds that occur across all the world’s oceans. Petrels are a threatened seabird group comprising 124 species. They have bet-hedging life histories typified by extended chick rearing periods, low fecundity, high adult survival, strong philopatry, monogamy and long-term mate fidelity...
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Two species of invasive rats (Rattus norvegicus and R. rattus) arrived in New Zealand with Europeans in the mid to late eighteenth and nineteenth century respectively. They rapidly spread across the main islands of New Zealand and its offshore islands, displacing the historically introduced R. exulans. Today both species are widespread although the...
Article
The endemic fauna of New Zealand evolved in the absence of mammalian predators and the introduction of the latter has been devastating. There have been numerous avian extinctions and 80% of the extant native avian taxa are currently threatened or at risk of extinction. Declines continue, and a fundamental change in predator management is required....
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Monitoring the fauna of an island before ecological restoration work begins provides a baseline against which changes to that environment can be quantified. Ants are a diverse and ecologically important group of insects, and many are extremely successful invasive species. In this study we provide the first description of the ant fauna of Rakitu (Ar...
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Before‐After‐Control‐Impact (BACI) designs are powerful tools to derive inferences about environmental perturbations (e.g. hurricanes, restoration programs) when controlled experimental designs are unfeasible. Applications of BACI designs mostly rely on testing for a significant interaction between periods and treatments (so‐called BACI contrast) t...
Article
Invasions of alien species on islands cause serious deleterious effects on native species through predation and competition often to the point of extinction. Where eradication is not possible ongoing control programs are the only alternative. Following control efforts there are risks of both recolonisation from survivors and reinvasion from neighbo...
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In this paper, an overview of introduced cat and rodent impacts on islands, and methods for their control and eradication, are presented. Fernando de Noronha, an inhabited oceanic island of Brazil, is used as a case study to illustrate the challenges of cat and rodent management on inhabited islands. Cat impacts have been recorded for 175 vertebrat...
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Context Dogs are often used to find rare or cryptic species, but search methods are not standardised, making it difficult to interpret and compare results. Standardised approaches are needed to optimise search effectiveness and/or efficiency. Designing an optimal search strategy requires knowledge of the effective sweep width, which is related to t...
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The house mouse (Mus musculus) provides a fascinating system for studying both the genomic basis of reproductive isolation, and the patterns of human-mediated dispersal. New Zealand has a complex history of mouse invasions, and the living descendants of these invaders have genetic ancestry from all three subspecies, although most are primarily desc...