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2016 Workshop speakers

Braided River 2016 workshop

Tuesday 31 May 2016

Workshop speakers


Dr Ken Hughey: Professor of Environmental Management, Lincoln University, and on secondment as Chief Science Advisor, DOC, Wellington (3 days per week).
Ken has worked at Lincoln University since 1995. He had previously worked for the Department of Conservation in a variety of research and management positions as well as for the NZ Wildlife Service. His PhD was on the habitat requirements of birds nesting on braided rivers and he continues to research and provide expert evidence on flow modelling related to braided river birds for helping resolve water resource management issues. He is on the Hurunui Waiau Water Zone Management Committee. Since 2014 he has been DOC’s Chief Science Advisor.

Dr Frances Schmechel: Senior Biodiversity Officer, Environment Canterbury
Frances has been involved with braided rivers and shorebirds (wader species) since she moved to NZ in the early 1990s.  She studied Chatham Island oystercatchers as part of her thesis while at Lincoln University, and has since been involved with waders via the black stilt recovery programme, braided river bird surveys, as a member of the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on Braided River birds, and is currently involved via her work at Environment Canterbury where she helps to implement the Canterbury Water Management Strategy (CWMS) and manages one of the
Regional Flagship Programmes for Braided Rivers.

Dan Clark: Environment Canterbury
Dan has a B.Sc. in Environmental Science and a Post Graduate Diploma in Water Resource Management. He began his career with Environment Canterbury as a field hydrologist, which involved working in waterbodies around our region. Currently Dan holds the position of Senior Hydrological Scientist. In this role he leads the technical team for the Orari-Temuka-Opihi-Pareora (OTOP) Local Water Management Project. This team is working with the local community to provide technical support to the OTOP Zone Committee to assist them with developing recommendations for managing water quantity and quality in the OTOP Zone.

Philip Grove: Environment Canterbury
Philip has worked at Environment Canterbury Regional Council since 2001 as a terrestrial and wetland ecologist in the Science Group. Amongst other things, this job has involved survey and monitoring of the region’s wetland and braided river floodplain habitats, and their birdlife

Duncan Gray: Environment Canterbury
Duncan Gray has worked extensively on invertebrate communities and ecosystem processes in braided rivers whilst undertaking research at the University of Canterbury. Subsequently, that knowledge has been applied within the resource management sphere whilst consulting and latterly working for the Canterbury Regional Council as a senior ecology scientist. Duncan has published several reports and paper on the ecology of braided rivers and is currently contributing a braided river chapter to the update of  Freshwaters of New Zealand book. Duncan is a keen outdoorsman but can’t cope with more than  day of walking up braided river beds.

Dr Colin O’Donnell, Principal Science Advisor: Department of Conservation
Colin has worked on braided river wildlife since the late 1970s, particularly on fauna surveys and habitat use studies of river birds. He maintains a number of long term monitoring databases for braided river bird populations. Colin’s research focuses on threatened species and threatened ecosystems, especially the ecology of rainforest bats and birds, developing predator control techniques for forests, wetlands, braided rivers, and alpine ecosystems and developing monitoring methods for lizards and invertebrates. Colin is based in DOCs Christchurch Office.

Aalbert Rebergen: Senior Ranger Project River Recovery & Biodiversity Assets, Department of Conservation
Aalbert Rebergen was part of PRR’s first survey and monitoring team in 1991-1996. Before and since he has worked in Conservation Research and Management in New Zealand and the Netherlands, with a strong focus on rivers, wetlands, coast and other areas with wide open spaces. He is an all-round ecologist, aspiring botanist and keen bird watcher and finder of strange and rare creatures in unexpected places.

Brad Edwards: Ranger Biodiversity:  Department of Conservation
Brad studied Zoology at Massey University before starting a career with Dept Of Conservation. Residing in Geraldine he works predominantly on Braided Riverbed Ecosysytem Recovery in the Rangitata and Waitaki. His career has been orientated towards threatened species work and is a strong supporter of whole ecosystem management to preserve them.

Jenny Christie: Department of Conservation
Jenny has worked on invasive predator ecology for the Department of Conservation since the late ’90s. Over the years she has worked on short-tailed bat research, the Takahe Recovery Programme, as well as various stoat and rat research projects. Recently she has been involved with researching the links between climate and invasive predators, mainly in beech forest, but also in dryland ecosystems adjacent to braided rivers. Jenny currently co-ordinates DOC’s science advice on climate change impacts on native biodiversity.

Dr David Latham: Senior scientist, Landcare Research
Dave is a Wildlife Ecologist with Landcare Research in Lincoln. His research focuses on wildlife management, conservation, and vertebrate pest control, especially mammals. He received a BSc, PGDipSci, and MSc in Zoology from the University of Otago, Dunedin, in 1999, 2000, and 2002, respectively. He subsequently completed a PhD in Environmental Biology and Ecology – specialising in wolf–prey relationships – from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, in 2009. Prior to joining Landcare Research in 2011, Dave was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Alberta. Dave currently serves as the research expert for the National Pest Control Agencies management committee and is the Biological Invasions Task Force specialist on ecology and management of mammal invasions in forests, part of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations.

Professor Phil Seddon: University of Otago
Phil is a Professor of Zoology and Director of the Postgraduate Wildlife Management Programme at the University of Otago. His areas of expertise include reintroduction biology and application of conservation translocations; seabird ecology; pest species management; protected area management; and nature-based tourism impact mitigation. Phil has worked in New Zealand, Southern Africa, and the Middle East. He is currently also Chair of the Bird Section of the IUCN Species Survival Commission’s Reintroduction Specialist Group; External member of the Department of Conservation’s Black Stilt (Kakī ), Yellow-eyed Penguin (Hoiho), and Takahe recovery groups; Member of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) and member of the WCPA Task Force on Tourism; International Editorial Board Member of Oryx – The International Journal of Conservation; and a Trustee of the New Zealand Endangered Species Foundation.

Anne-Kathrin Schlesselmann: PhD candidate, University of Otago
Ann-Kathrin is a researcher based out of Dunedin. Currently she is undertaking her PhD at the University of Otago focusing on the conservation management of black-fronted terns in New Zealand. This encompasses using a molecular ecology approach as well as large scale experiments in the field. In the past seven years she has called several parts of New Zealand and Germany home, where she worked as an ecologist. Ann-Kathrin had the privilege to not only work intensively with black-fronted terns, but also with New Zealand rock wren, eagle owls, peregrine falcons and many other species in the past. She holds a BSc in Biology from the University of Auckland and a PGDipSci in Wildlife Management from the University of Otago.

Julia Nicholls: University of Otago
Julia completed a Bachelor of Science majoring in Zoology at the University of Otago and is currently a student of the department’s Master of Wildlife Management programme. Her research project is conducting site assessments of two braided rivers, the Ashley-Rakahuri River and the Upper Rangitata River to determine whether they could be suitable for a black stilt/kakī reintroduction. Her project supervisor is Dr Richard Maloney and the project is on behalf of and with the support of the Ashley-Rakahuri Rivercare Group. She is enjoying her work learning about braided rivers, the birds that inhabit them and the threats they are facing.

Stephanie Galla: PhD candidate, University of Canterbury
Stephanie is studying conservation genomics of black stilt/kakī. Originally from the US, Stephanie developed a curiosity in the natural world and a love of birds at a young age. After obtaining a bachelors degree in wildlife biology, she pursued various field positions with avian conservation, eventually obtaining her masters degree studying conservation genetics in critically endangered Attwater’s Prairie-chickens at the University of North Texas. After working as a field biologist for two years, Stephanie was offered an opportunity to complete a PhD project studying conservation genomics of endangered black stilts/kakī with Dr Tammy Steeves.

Jennifer Schori: University of Canterbury
Growing up Jennifer spent a lot of time in the great outdoors. An admiration and appreciation of our natural world lead her to study ecology and conservation. Jennifer’s interest in insects stemmed largely from summer work during her BSc at UC, including work on forest insects in Franz Joseph and freshwater insects in Canterbury waterways. Currently a Master’s student at UC, Jennifer is working on developing monitoring techniques and improving translocation success of the Robust grasshopper, a project that combines two of her greatest interests: conservation and entomology.

Tyler Brummer: PhD candidate,Lincoln University
Tyler has spent the last three years studying plant invasions in Canterbury’s braided riverbeds with a keen interest in how future irrigation pressure and climate change may affect invasion in these systems. Looking beyond his PhD, Tyler aims to work at the intersection between science, action, and collective impact to regenerate ecosystem services across the New Zealand landscape.

Courtney Hamblin: Lincoln University
Courtney is a Masters student at Lincoln University studying the use of social attractants as a potential management tool for black-fronted terns. She spent a lot of time in the outdoors growing up developing a love of nature and all of its quirky and strange creations, particularly the birds. She spent four years in America completing her undergraduate study in biology and following sporting endeavours before returning home. She is now very excited to be back working in the New Zealand environment, particularly the dynamic braided river systems.

Sophie Allen: Working Waters Trust
Soph grew up splashing around in streams in Marlborough and Nelson, excited by glimpses of freshwater koura, scared of giant longfin tuna biting her toes, and making multiple mud pies. After undergraduate studies at the University of Otago, Sophie headed off to the land of lakes, beautiful Sweden, where she completed her Masters at the University of Uppsala studying human pathogens in algal blooms in streams and in the Baltic Sea. Sophie has worked for Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu as a Senior Environmental Advisor, working on the restoration of Te Waihora (Lake Ellesmere) and mahinga kai monitoring, Ministry of Primary Industries as an advisor for pest management, and for an urban stream restoration (Project Twin Streams) in Auckland – among many other roles, such a making wine in Italy and working at an outdoor school in the fjords of Norway. Her specialty is in the area of advising communities on management, restoration and conservation of freshwater resources.

Mike Bell: Principal, Wildlife Management International Limited
Mike Bell is the Managing Director of Wildlife Management International, an ecological consultancy specialising in bird conservation and pest control. Mike has worked on braided rivers in the Marlborough region for the past 15 years, especially with black-fronted tern and black-billed gull. This has seen him working in the Upper Clarence River in a new project aimed at improving breeding success of black-fronted tern.

Claudia Mischler: Ecologist, Wildlife Management International Limited
Claudia completed a BSc in Environmental Sciences/Conservation Biology in Canada, and has been working with various seabird species around the world for the past ten years. Since coming to New Zealand in 2012, she has taken a special interest in the black-billed gulls. Continuing on from the work Mike Bell had started in Marlborough in 2009, Claudia has been actively monitoring all gull colonies in Marlborough and Tasman. She recently coordinated surveys of black-billed gull colonies for Marlborough, Tasman, Canterbury, and the West Coast. As a keen seabird ornithologist, she continues to be involved in the monitoring and conservation efforts of many species.

Dr Des Smith: Senior Fauna Ecologist and Christchurch Office Manager, Wildlands Consultants
Des has 19 years’ experience in conservation and wildlife management. He started out working for Lincoln University and the Department of Conservation (DOC) assessing the impacts of off-road vehicles on braided river birds, before working as a threatened species ranger with the endangered takahe in Fiordland. Des then went on to complete an MSc investigating stoats (an introduced predator of New Zealand’s native fauna) in the Takahe Special Area. During this time he also took part in the eradication of stoats from offshore islands, and in the establishment of large-scale stoat control in the Takahe Special Area. Des then went on to do a PhD on the ecology and management of stoats in alpine areas. Following this Des worked as a scientist for the Department of Conservation investigating the effectiveness of poison bait stations at controlling ship rat outbreaks in beech forest, to protect native birds and bats. In this role he also participated in the writing and review of a national inventory and monitoring framework and tool box for monitoring wildlife. Des then worked in Canada for four years as a threatened species biologist, where he worked on egg hatching failure in captive breed whooping cranes, large scale monitoring and modelling of northern leopard frogs, and assessed the likelihood of success of the translocation and reintroduction of burrowing owls. More recently he has been at Lincoln University where he lectured in ecology and was deputy leader of the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment funded programme Pest Control for the 21st Century. This programme was focussed on the development of new tools and methods for protecting New Zealand’s biodiversity from invasive vertebrate pests. Des also has considerable experience in statistical analysis and modelling and is proficient with R. Des Started with Wildlands in August 2013. Some highlights of Des’s time at Wildlands so far include: providing strategic advice and planning to sanctuaries seeking to eradicate pests from within predator-proof fenced areas, modelling forest bird counts for a range of projects, analysing forest Recce data, developing monitoring methods for detecting stoats and other mammalian pests in alpine areas, modelling black-billed gull counts for a review of their threat status, modelling how weather and climate variables influence the probability of detecting endemic bats during surveys, monitoring the impacts of fluoride emissions on gardens in residential Christchurch, and undertaking field monitoring for a number of pest control and conservation projects.
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Peter Langlands: Wild Capture
Peter has been interested in braided river birds since 1985. In 2008 he was employed for DOC under the Awawai Kakariki wetland fund to monitor wrybills in the Upper Rangitata. In addition to wrybills he has also been involved with a research project on Bittern. He also spends time in the outdoors of Canterbury as a photographer and fly fisher. For Peter braided rivers are a challenging yet very dynamic and rewarding environment to work in.

James Jolly: Jolly Consulting Ltd
A consultant ornithologist with a Masters in Zoology from the University of Canterbury, Jim has over 40 years experience working on major research programmes on braided river birds on the Rangitata, Waimakariri, and Wairau Rivers. He was a scientist for the Forest Research Institute, NZ Wildlife Service/DOC, scientist adviser and writer for the NZ Natural Heritage Foundation, Massey University, and also lecturer at Massey University. Since 1993 he has worked as a consultant for companies seeking to extract water for hydro-electric power generation for irrigation, advised Environment Canterbury and submitted evidence to the Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan on the bird values and environmental flows of the Orari River, and contributes to the Orari Opihi Pareora Zone Committee’s Implementation Programme.

Nick Ledgard: Chair Ashley Rakahuri Rivercare Group Inc (ARRG) and BRaid Inc.
Nick is a retired forestry researcher (Scion/NZFRI) returning to ornithological roots put out as a youngster. He is a long-time OSNZ member.  Currently he spends most of his time trying to improve the lot of native birds on braided rivers (particularly on the Ashley-Rakahuri River), and pursuing his interests in farm forestry and wilding trees.

Sonny Whitelaw: Manager, BRaid
In 1981, having a Master’s degree in climate change didn’t offer many career prospects, so Sonny moved to Vanuatu where she became a freelance writer/photographer for publications such as National Geographic, while developing and marketing village-based ecotourism and conservation projects. In 2012, she became the Community Development Advisor for the Hurunui District Council to investigate the social impacts of the Canterbury earthquakes. As the Council’s Biodiversity Advisor, she ran a collaborate project with over 100 children to produce a 250-page book on Hurunui biodiversity. Sonny has written several novels centered on the consequences of environmental (mis)management, and considers community engagement and citizen science essential elements in the long-term success of conservation projects. She is also one of the principal organisers of the Nina Valley Ecoblitz.

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