Natasha Bansal

Doctor of Philosophy, (Conservation Biology)
Study Completed: 2020
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Exploring the host-parasite relationship between Brown Kiwi (Apteryx mantelli), kiwi ticks (Ixodes anatis) and kiwi tick-borne haemoparasites

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Parasites and hosts have co-evolved for millennia, providing selection pressures for each other to develop mutual defence strategies for better survival. To study any host-parasite relationship, one needs to know basic life history traits of both parasites and hosts. Ms Bansal used a multifaceted approach to investigate the biology and host impacts of the kiwi tick on North Island brown kiwi. Her results showed that the kiwi ticks negatively affect kiwi. However, as the ticks are extensively dependent on the kiwi to complete their life cycle, they are as endangered as the birds themselves and need to be protected. This research comprises a significant and diverse range of work on an animal of national significance and suggests that wildlife managers should also take parasite conservation into consideration while managing endemic host-parasite networks.

Professor Isabel Castro
Associate Professor Maurice Alley
Dr Allen Heath
Professor Bill Pomroy
Professor Peter Lockhart