Denise Fastier setting up a mist net to catch kokako
Boundary Stream Mainland Island encompasses the 800 hectare Boundary Stream Scenic Reserve situated on the eastern flanks of the Maungaharuru Range, about 60 km northwest of Napier. It spans and represents a whole altitudinal sequence from lowland forest to montaine forest environments.
The forest habitat has substantially improved at Boundary Stream since the nature restoration project began in 1996. Pest numbers have dramatically reduced and birds, insects and vegetation have increased.
We have a number of potential projects for post graduate students that can be undertaken at Boundary Stream.
While we are unable to offer funding to assist this work, we can provide free accommodation, subject to availability.
Impacts of intensive pest management on invertebrate abundance and diversity
Ten years of data on invertebrate communities has been collected at Boundary Stream and comparison sites. Project could include collection of more data, and analysis of abundance and community composition in relation to a number of factors including rodent and mustelid activity, climate and changes in vegetation structure.
Impacts of intensive pest management on tree weta abundance and diversity
As above, but more specific to data collected on tree weta.
Survey of lizard abundance and distribution
Little is known of the impacts of the intensive management at Boundary Stream on lizard assemblages. Current monitoring involves pitfall trapping and monitoring use of artificial covers but time for carrying out these tasks is minimal. The project could include
- analysis of best methods to gain population information (e.g. trialling different artificial covers, tracking tunnels in different configurations and with different lures, pitfall trapping and spot lighting);
- surveys using pitfall trapping;
- use of artificial cover objects and night searches; and
- comparing finds with surveys undertaken in the past.
Taxonomic and conservation status of the native snail, Powelliphanta traversii ‘Maungaharuru’
There are indications that a local snail population may represent a taxonomically distinct unit. This could be investigated through examination of morphological and genetic characteristics.
Inbreeding depression in a translocated North Island robin population
North Island robins were reintroduced to Boundary Stream in 1998 from a small heavily male biased founding population. While they have successfully established a large population there are questions about the long term genetic health of this population in light of current inbreeding depression theories.
Assessment of changes in vegetation plot composition
20x20 plot data and photo point records analyzed and compared with sites in non-treatment areas over the 10 year life of the project.
Analysis of mustelid capture data and tracking data to determine effectiveness of current operations
Efficiencies are needed to free up resources to undertake other tasks and this is an area of the work that may offer possibilities to achieve this.
Relationship between bird numbers and invertebrate densities in treatment and non-treatment sites
Annual changes in numbers of insectivorous bird species have been noted which may be related to annual variations in invertebrate populations. Other factors such as weather, competition (mustelids), new introductions (robins, kiwi, kokako) may also be having an influence on bird numbers.
Variation in kokako songs/calls
North Island kokako were first introduced to Boundary Stream in 2001. Ten kokako were placed into five aviaries for captive breeding. In 2004, all original ten birds and their three offspring were released into wild. In 2007, a further 10 kokako were transferred from the same source population to increase genetic diversity of the existing population. Despite the same origin, there are differences in dialects between birds transferred in 2001 and ones transferred in 2007. It may be interesting to investigate if the difference may affect courtship and breeding success.