Dr Andrew Barnes
I am a senior lecturer at the University of Waikato and head of the EcoDiv lab group. I am broadly interested in the impacts of global change drivers on natural systems and the resulting functional consequences. My research focuses on how environmental changes alter the seemingly complex relationships between biodiversity, the structure of communities, biotic interactions, and ecosystem functioning. See my publications here

Kasey Kiesewetter (Postdoc)
Kasey is involved in the MBIE programme ‘Restoring Urban Nature’, where she will be studying how urban restoration drives changes in below- and aboveground microbial networks, and how these changes might influence the health of humans and wildlife.

Marijke Struijk (Postdoc)
Marijke’s postdoc is part of the BioHeritage Challenge programme Ngā Rākau Taketake – Saving our iconic trees. She is investigating the impact of kauri dieback (Phytophthora agathidicida) on soil invertebrate food webs.

Stella Brachmann (PhD candidate)
Stella will be investigating the long-term reassembly of microbial biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.

Estela Folch Chaos (PhD candidate)
Estela is carrying out research in a unique set of natural, geothermally warmed sites, where she is able to study the temperature dependence of soil food web structure and ecosystem functioning. She is combining field and lab experiments to determine how food webs will respond to future warming and land-use change.

Fevziye Hasan (PhD candidate)
Fevziye investigates how traits of introduced dung beetles affect biotic and abiotic drivers of ecosystem multifunctionality, such as changes in the soil physicochemical environment and below-ground soil arthropod communities.

Bibishan Rai (PhD candidate)
Bibishan is studying the re-assembly of belowground food-webs in urban forests across different stages of succession. Using a ‘food web energetics’ approach, he is investigating changes in energy flux, complexity and stability of soil food webs over the course of urban forest restoration across New Zealand.

Poppy Romera (MSc Candidate)
Poppy is investigating drivers of soil fauna community structuring, from fundamental energetic constraints to bottom-up effects of microbial diversity across a nationwide urban forest restoration chronosequence in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Gemma Young (MSc Candidate)
Gemma is studying the landscape drivers of invertebrate biodiversity and ecosystem services in avocado plantations. In particular, she is using remote sensing to help understand how landscape structure can influence insect pollinator and pest communities.

Maike Ziegler (MSc candidate – in the EIE group at iDiv)
Maike is working with a range of techniques such as phospholipid fatty acid and Microresp analyses to reveal restoration trajectories of fungal and bacterial communities in urban forest restoration sites. Maike is also interested in understanding the biotic and abiotic factors that influence microbial community reassembly.

Toni Cornes (Research technician)
Toni is an ecology technician at the University of Waikato here to help the students and academics achieve their research objectives. She has a background in plant ecology and enjoys working out in the field. Working with the Ecodiv team has given her the opportunity to learn more about animals and overall ecosystem interactions.

Guest Members

Dr Kiri Wallace (Research Fellow)
Kiri is passionate about forest ecology, community ecology, and discovering how to restore native ecosystems. Going hand-in-hand with that, she likes to restore people’s connection to nature and help them enjoy and benefit from it! Ecological research sparks her interest and allows her to shine, whatever a specific project may entail.  

Clare Beet (PhD candidate)
Clare’s research explores the resilience of polar springtails (Collembola) to climate changes with a specific focus on ecophysiological and transcriptomic responses to heat stress.

Monique Hall (Research Assistant)
Using her background in urban restoration ecology, Monique is the research assistant for the Eco-index (NZ BioHeritage National Science Challenge). They are developing a tool to guide Aotearoa New Zealand landowners in making investments that have the best biodiversity impact.

Past Members

René Devenish (MSc)
René studied the energetic impacts of warming on pollinator behaviour and the provisioning of pollination services. She also investigated the allometric relationships between metabolism, temperature and pollinator behaviour.

Rebecca Booth (MSc)
Rebecca investigated the effects of riparian vegetation on temperature, dissolved oxygen, and macroinvertebrate community structure and ecosystem functioning in low-gradient streams throughout the Waikato region.

Grace Mitchell (MSc)
Grace studyed the reassembly of microbial and mesofaunal communities along an urban forest restoration chronosequence.

Rebecca Le Grice (Postdoc)
Rebecca investigated soil invertebrate food webs associated with Aotearoa’s iconic kauri, and the impact that kauri dieback (Phytophthora agathidicida) may be having on this ecosystem. This work is part of the programme Ngā Rākau Taketake – Saving our iconic trees, within the BioHeritage Challenge

Nigel Binks (PhD)
Nigel investigated how invasive mammalian predators affect forest soil arthropod communities and the transboundary effects on belowground arthropod biodiversity in adjacent pasture soils. He applied DNA barcoding techniques to link emerging forest soil arthropods with their belowground larval stages.

Elizabeth Elliot Noe (PhD)
Elizabeth’s research combined ecological and social science to evaluate the contribution that restored native forests in New Zealand cities can make to native bird conservation and reconnecting urban residents with nature

Shaun Morgan (MSc)
Shaun’s MSc research explored how invasive mammal control interacts with fragment size and isolation to affect the abundance of invasive mammalian predators and the resulting impacts on native bird communities throughout the Waikato basin in the North Island, New Zealand.

Dr Gemma Collins (PhD)
Gemma is broadly interested in the genetic diversity of invertebrates and how these populations change across various spatial and temporal scales.

Sarah Busbridge (MSc)
Sarah’s research explored the link between research and implementation in urban forest restoration, as well as factors influencing native tree regeneration. She’s interested in urban ecology, restoration ecology, and socio-ecololgical systems.