Spatial Ecology

Students mapping plant distribution patterns at Molesworth Station, South Island.

We study plants, insects and other animals; in particular their distribution patterns. Our research interests are diverse and include how distribution patterns can be mapped in the field and described mathematically, what factors influence the distribution, and the ecological consequences of the patterns.

We study ecological systems at multiple scales from global biogeography to landscape ecology, down to local interactions between individual insects and plants. Explanations for why some species are rare and clustered and others are widespread; or why some species are limited by climate and others by their own dispersal ability benefit from an integrated approach of field work, experimentation and modelling.

These areas of interest naturally lead to applications in conservation biology, restoration ecology and invasive species.

Our group includes PhD students and Masters students primarily supervised by Stephen Hartley. Depending on the topic, students of spatial ecology are co-supervised with Julie Deslippe, Phil Lester, Kevin Burns and others, including external collaborators. Graduate students attend regular lab group meetings with their peers. For further details of projects see Current Research.

Prospective Students

If you are interested in postgraduate study with us, contact Stephen below with a short cover letter and CV:


Director of the Centre of Biodiversity & Restoration Ecology