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Associate Professor Bruce Robertson

Email bruce.robertson@otago.ac.nz

Phone 64-3-479-4110

Dr Bruce C. Robertson

Teaching

Research Interests

Current Projects

Kakapo (Strigops habroptilus)

  • Mate choice, reproductive behaviour and conservation genetics of kakapo
  • Role of genetic similarity/heterozygosity in poor hatching success
  • Immunocompetence and Mhc variation in kakapo and other large NZ parrots
  • Genetic management of kakapo recovery

Kea (Nestor notabilis)

  • Phylogeography and population genetic structure of kea
  • Genetic basis of explorative behaviour of kea

Rock wren (Xenicus gilviventris)

  • Phylogeography and population genetic structure of rock wren
  • Mating system of rock wren

Silvereye (Zosterops spp)

  • Genetic basis of winter dominance

New Zealand Dotterel (Charadrius obscurus)

  • Phylogeography of dotterels

Oceanitinae Storm-petrel and Diving-petrel

  • Microsatellite analysis of the NZ storm-petrel to examine genetic variation and population size
  • Phylogenetics of Fregetta storm-petrels
  • Phylogenetic affinities of Codfish Island Diving-petrels

Kaki (Himantopus novaezelandiae)

  • Sex allocation in captive breeding of kaki
  • MC1R gene variation in kaki hybrids

New Zealand fur seal (Arctocephalus forsteri)

  • Population genetic structure of NZ fur seals
  • Genetic assignment of NZ fur seals killed as bycatch in NZ trawl fisheries to colonies of origin

New Zealand sea lion (Phocarctos hookeri)

  • Population genetic structure of NZ sea lions
  • Fine-scale genetic structure of a breeding colony
  • Reproductive behaviour, paternity and dispersal
  • Historic population size based on DNA evidence
  • Management of sea lion bycatch in NZ deepwater fisheries

Current Postgraduate Students

  • Catherine Collins (PhD):  Ancient DNA investigation of the New Zealand sea lion Phocarctos hookeri
  • Bastien Egeter (PhD): DNA-based identification of frog predation by introduced mammalian predators
  • Stefanie Großer (PhD): Past and contemporary population genetics of little blue penguins, Eudyptula minor
  • Gabby Knafler (PhD): The application of MHC, TLR, and microsatellite markers to examine bottleneck effects in three diverse New Zealand birds
  • Nathan McNally (PhD): Survival, recruitment, and breeding behaviour of male New Zealand sea lions
  • Stefan Meyer (PhD): Modeling the impacts of fisheries bycatch on the New Zealand sea lion
  • Kalinka Rexer-Huber (PhD): White-chinned petrels Procellaria aequinoctialis: movement ecology, populationsm and provenance of bycatch.
  • Kerry Anne Weston (PhD):  Conservation of Conservation genetics of rock wren (Xenicus gilviventris)
  • Samantha Botting (MSc): A molecular test of sex for New Zealand skinks and geckos
  • Samantha Haultain (MSc): Maximising the conservation potential of the captive Otago skink (Oligosoma otagense) population.
  • Matthew Taylor (MSc): Population genetic structure of the New Zealand sea lion (Phocarctos hookeri)

Past Postgraduate Students

  • Amy Adams (PhD): Spatial ecology, resource use and population structure of common brushtail possums across an urban-rural gradient
  • Nicolas Dussex (PhD): Conservation genetics of the alpine parrot, the kea Nestor notabilis
  • Thorsten Horn (PhD, University of Canterbury): Molecular aging of kakapo
  • Elaine Leung (PhD): Ontogeny of diving and juvenile survival of threatened New Zealand sea lions Phocarctos hookeri
  • Jolene Sutton (PhD): Characterization of neutral and MHC diversity, along with malaria resistance, in New Zealand saddlebacks and robins
  • Laura Bergner (MSc): Resolving founder relationships in a genetically depauperate population of Kakapo (Strigops habroptilus) using mtDNA and microsatellite markers
  • Kaitlyn White (MSc): Inbreeding depression in the kakapo (Strigops habroptilus)
  • Ludovic Breton (PGDipSci)

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Publications

Holtmann, B., Grosser, S., Lagisz, M., Johnson, S. L., Santos, E. S. A., Lara, C. E., Robertson, B. C., & Nakagawa, S. (2016). Population differentiation and behavioural association of the two 'personality' genes DRD4 and SERT in dunnocks (Prunella modularis). Molecular Ecology, 25(3), 706-722. doi: 10.1111/mec.13514

Robertson, B. C., Stephenson, B. M., Ronconi, R. A., Goldstien, S. J., Shepherd, L., Tennyson, A., … Ryan, P. G. (2016). Phylogenetic affinities of the Fregetta storm-petrels are not black and white. Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution, 97, 170-176. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2016.01.004

Collins, C. J., Chilvers, B. L., Robertson, B. C., & Taylor, M. (2016). Historical population size of the threatened New Zealand sea lion Phocarctos hookeri. Journal of Mammalogy, 97(2), 436-443. doi: 10.1093/jmammal/gyv187

Osborne, A. J., Negro, S. S., Chilvers, B. L., Robertson, B. C., Kennedy, M. A., & Gemmell, N. J. (2016). Genetic evidence of a population bottleneck and inbreeding in the endangered New Zealand sea lion, Phocarctos hookeri. Journal of Heredity. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1093/jhered/esw015

Salis, A. T., Easton, L. J., Robertson, B. C., Gemmell, N., Smith, I. W. G., Weisler, M. I., Waters, J. M., & Rawlence, N. J. (2016). Myth or relict: Does ancient DNA detect the enigmatic Upland seal? Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution, 97, 101-106. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2015.12.012

Journal - Research Article

Holtmann, B., Grosser, S., Lagisz, M., Johnson, S. L., Santos, E. S. A., Lara, C. E., Robertson, B. C., & Nakagawa, S. (2016). Population differentiation and behavioural association of the two 'personality' genes DRD4 and SERT in dunnocks (Prunella modularis). Molecular Ecology, 25(3), 706-722. doi: 10.1111/mec.13514

Salis, A. T., Easton, L. J., Robertson, B. C., Gemmell, N., Smith, I. W. G., Weisler, M. I., Waters, J. M., & Rawlence, N. J. (2016). Myth or relict: Does ancient DNA detect the enigmatic Upland seal? Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution, 97, 101-106. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2015.12.012

Osborne, A. J., Negro, S. S., Chilvers, B. L., Robertson, B. C., Kennedy, M. A., & Gemmell, N. J. (2016). Genetic evidence of a population bottleneck and inbreeding in the endangered New Zealand sea lion, Phocarctos hookeri. Journal of Heredity. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1093/jhered/esw015

Collins, C. J., Chilvers, B. L., Robertson, B. C., & Taylor, M. (2016). Historical population size of the threatened New Zealand sea lion Phocarctos hookeri. Journal of Mammalogy, 97(2), 436-443. doi: 10.1093/jmammal/gyv187

Robertson, B. C., Stephenson, B. M., Ronconi, R. A., Goldstien, S. J., Shepherd, L., Tennyson, A., … Ryan, P. G. (2016). Phylogenetic affinities of the Fregetta storm-petrels are not black and white. Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution, 97, 170-176. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2016.01.004

Rawlence, N. J., Collins, C. J., Anderson, C. N. K., Maxwell, J. J., Smith, I. W. G., Robertson, B. C., Knapp, M., Horsburgh, K. A., Stanton, J.-A. L., Scofield, R. P., … Matisoo-Smith, E. A., & Waters, J. M. (2016). Human-mediated extirpation of the unique Chatham Islands sea lion and implications for the conservation management of remaining New Zealand sea lion populations. Molecular Ecology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/mec.13726

Sutton, J. T., Castro, I., Robertson, B. C., Tompkins, D. M., Stanton, J.-A. L., & Jamieson, I. G. (2016). MHC genetic diversity and avian malaria prevalence in Mokoia Island saddlebacks. New Zealand Journal of Ecology, 40(3), 351-360.

Weston, K. A., & Robertson, B. C. (2015). Population structure within an alpine archipelago: Strong signature of past climate change in the New Zealand rock wren (Xenicus gilviventris). Molecular Ecology, 24(18), 4778-4794. doi: 10.1111/mec.13349

Dussex, N., Sainsbury, J., Moorhouse, R., Jamieson, I. G., & Robertson, B. C. (2015). Evidence for Bergmann's Rule and not allopatric subspeciation in the threatened Kaka (Nestor meridionalis). Journal of Heredity, 106(6), 679-691. doi: 10.1093/jhered/esv079

Knafler, G. J., Ortiz-Catedral, L., Jackson, B., Varsani, A., Grueber, C. E., Robertson, B. C., & Jamieson, I. G. (2015). Comparison of beak and feather disease virus prevalence and immunity-associated genetic diversity over time in an island population of red-crowned parakeets. Archives of Virology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s00705-015-2717-3

Dussex, N., Rawlence, N. J., & Robertson, B. C. (2015). Ancient and contemporary DNA reveal a pre-human decline but no population bottleneck associated with recent human persecution in the Kea (Nestor notabilis). PLoS ONE, 10(2), e0118522. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0118522

Meyer, S., Robertson, B. C., Chilvers, B. L., & Krkošek, M. (2015). Population dynamics reveal conservation priorities of the threatened New Zealand sea lion Phocarctos hookeri. Marine Biology, 162, 1587-1596. doi: 10.1007/s00227-015-2695-8

Robertson, B. C. (2015). Is management limiting the recovery of the New Zealand sea lion Phocarctos hookeri? Polar Biology, 38(4), 539-546. doi: 10.1007/s00300-014-1619-2

Egeter, B., Bishop, P. J., & Robertson, B. C. (2015). Detecting frogs as prey in the diets of introduced mammals: A comparison between morphological and DNA-based diet analyses. Molecular Ecology Resources, 15(2), 306-316. doi: 10.1111/1755-0998.12309

Grueber, C. E., Knafler, G. J., King, T. M., Senior, A. M., Grosser, S., Robertson, B., Weston, K. A., … Harris, C. L. W., & Jamieson, I. G. (2015). Toll-like receptor diversity in 10 threatened bird species: Relationship with microsatellite heterozygosity. Conservation Genetics, 16(3), 595-611. doi: 10.1007/s10592-014-0685-x

Sutton, J. T., Robertson, B. C., & Jamieson, I. G. (2015). MHC variation reflects the bottleneck histories of New Zealand passerines. Molecular Ecology, 24, 362-373. doi: 10.1111/mec.13039

White, K. L., Eason, D. K., Jamieson, I. G., & Robertson, B. C. (2015). Evidence of inbreeding depression in the critically endangered parrot, the kakapo. Animal Conservation, 18(4), 341-347. doi: 10.1111/acv.12177

Rayner, M. J., Gaskin, C. P., Fitzgerald, N. B., Baird, K. A., Berg, M. M., Boyle, D., … Robertson, B. C., … Ismar, S. M. H. (2015). Using miniaturized radiotelemetry to discover the breeding grounds of the endangered New Zealand Storm Petrel Fregetta maoriana. Ibis, 157(4), 754-766. doi: 10.1111/ibi.12287

Bergner, L. M., Jamieson, I. G., & Robertson, B. C. (2014). Combining genetic data to identify relatedness among founders in a genetically depauperate parrot, the Kakapo (Strigops habroptilus). Conservation Genetics, 15(5), 1013-1020. doi: 10.1007/s10592-014-0595-y

Leung, E. S., Chilvers, B. L., Moore, A. B., & Robertson, B. C. (2014). Do yearling New Zealand sea lions (Phocarctos hookeri) learn foraging behavior from their mothers? Marine Mammal Science, 30(3), 1220-1228. doi: 10.1111/mms.12087

Dussex, N., Wegmann, D., & Robertson, B. C. (2014). Postglacial expansion and not human influence best explains the population structure in the endangered kea (Nestor notabilis). Molecular Ecology, 23(9), 2193-2209. doi: 10.1111/mec.12729

Knafler, G. J., Fiddler, A., Jamieson, I. G., & Robertson, B. C. (2014). Evidence for multiple MHC class II β loci in New Zealand's critically endangered kakapo, Strigops habroptilus. Immunogenetics, 66(2), 115-121. doi: 10.1007/s00251-013-0750-5

Leung, E. S., Chilvers, B. L., Nakagawa, S., & Robertson, B. C. (2014). Size and experience matter: Diving behaviour of juvenile New Zealand sea lions (Phocarctos hookeri). Polar Biology, 37(1), 15-26. doi: 10.1007/s00300-013-1405-6

Adams, A. L., van Heezik, Y., Dickinson, K. J. M., & Robertson, B. C. (2014). Identifying eradication units in an invasive mammalian pest species. Biological Invasions, 16(7), 1481-1496. doi: 10.1007/s10530-013-0586-9

Rayner, M. J., Gaskin, C. P., Stephenson, B. M., Fitzgerald, N. B., Landers, T. J., Robertson, B. C., … Imber, M. J. (2014). Brood patch and sex-ratio observations indicate breeding provenance and timing in New Zealand storm-petrel Fregetta maoriana. Marine Ornithology, 41(2), 107-111.

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