Emma Williams

Doctor of Philosophy, (Ecology)
Study Completed: 2016
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Developing monitoring methods for cryptic species: A case study of the Australasian bittern/ Botaurus poiciloptilus

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Cryptic species are those that are difficult to detect and monitor. Unfortunately the need to detect and monitor such species is great as they are often endangered and data deficient. Ms Williams investigated several monitoring challenges associated with the endangered and cryptic Australasian bittern (Matuku), a well camouflaged and secretive bird found in New Zealand wetlands. Through combining the use of recording devices and modelling techniques, she was able to solve several challenges experienced with using calling-rate to detect and count this species. Her results have enabled development of multiple monitoring methods that are more cost effective and informative in terms of project objectives. She was also able to validate important assumptions of these methods through a site fidelity study. This information is being applied nationally to inform management and monitoring practices, hopefully enabling conservation managers to prevent any further population declines with this species.

Professor Doug Armstrong
Associate Professor Phil Battley