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Sir Alan Mark, Emeritus Professor

Email alan.mark@otago.ac.nz
Telephone +64 3 479 7573

Research Interests

  • Ecology, conservation and environmental management of indigenous vegetation, especially of tussock grassland, forest, lakeshore, wetland and alpine ecosystems.
  • The conservation status of New Zealand's indigenous grasslands.
  • History of the development and use of our tussock grasslands.

Sample of Recent Publications

Poster presented at Ecological Society of America Millenium Conference 2009: Water-Ecosystem Services, Drought and Environmental Justice. Athens, Georgia.

Maximising water yield with indigenous tall tussock (bunch) grassland on new Zealand uplands and trade-offs with alternative land uses

Provision of clean, freshwater is an essential ecosystem service that is under increasing pressure worldwide from a variety of conflicting demands. Water yields differ in relation to land-cover type. Successful resource management therefore requires accurate information on yields from alternative vegetation types to adequately address concerns regarding water production. Of particular importance are upper watersheds/catchments, regardless of where water is extracted. Research in New Zealand has shown that, when in good condition, indigenous tall tussock grasslands can maximize water yield relative to other vegetation cover types. A long-term hydrological paired-catchment study revealed reductions (up to 41% after 22 years) in water yielded annually from an afforested catchment relative to adjacent indigenous grassland. Furthermore, a stable isotope assessment showed that water from fog may substantially contribute to yield in upland tussock grasslands. The tall tussock life-form and its leaf anatomy and physiology, which minimize transpiration loss, appear to be the differentiating factors. Thus, maintaining dominance of such cover is important for water production, especially in upland catchments. Ecological analogues and integrated land-use planning are discussed in the context of this essential ecosystem service. Water management programs in other countries are reviewed and that of South Africa is commended as a model.

Altitudinal patterns of vegetation, flora, life forms, and environments in the alpine zone of the Fiord Ecological Region, New Zealand

The altitudinal zonation patterns of vegetation structure, vascular flora, and life/growth forms were comprehensively assessed in relation to temperature and soil factors from treeline (1040 m) to the high-alpine summit of Mt Burns (1645 m) in southeastern Fiord Ecological Region. We tested Körner’s hypothesis which stipulates that the physiognomic zonation pattern: treeline, shrubline, tussockline, and beyond, is driven mainly by increased decoupling between the ambient temperature and that experienced directly by plants in relation to proximity of their canopy to the ground. This hypothesis is generally supported, particularly with replacement of the tussock life form by dwarfed, mostly cushion species, at the low- to high-alpine zone transition. The soil pattern appears to be more of a response to, rather than a driver of, the alpine vegetation pattern, including a localised area of frost-active olifluction terraces. The Nothofagus menziesii treeline conformed to the “warmest month” model and also with a worldwide growing season mean (7.15°C) of 5.5–7.5°C. We stress the closer analogy in the overall alpine zonation pattern in this region of oceanic New Zealand to that of the tropical high mountains and other oceanic regions, than with the temperate Northern Hemisphere continental mountains.

Regional Summary: New Zealand Temperate Grasslands Conservation Hohhot, China, June 28-29, 2008

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Publications

Lord, J. M., Mark, A. F., Humar-Maegli, T., Halloy, S. R. P., Bannister, P., Knight, A., & Dickinson, K. J. M. (2018). Slow community responses but rapid species responses 14 years after alpine turf transplantation among snow cover zones, south–central New Zealand. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution & Systematics, 30, 51-61. doi: 10.1016/j.ppees.2017.07.004

Dickinson, K. J. M., Barratt, B. I. P., Lord, J. M., & Mark, A. F. (2017). Does unpredictability in alpine climatic conditions favour biotic fitness in a changing world? Proceedings of the Ecological Society of America (ESA) 102nd Annual Meeting. OOS 26-3. Washington, DC: Ecological Society of America. Retrieved from http://www.esa.org/portland/

Mark, A. F., Molau, U., Whigham, P., Little, L., & Nielsen, J. (2016). Periglacial tarn on the Rock and Pillar Range crest, south-central South Island, New Zealand, and its surrounding snowbank community. Austral Ecology, 41(3), 282-290. doi: 10.1111/aec.12310

Mark, A. F. (2015). Standing my ground: A voice for nature conservation. Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press, 284p.

Mark, A. F., Korsten, A. C., Urrutia Guevara, D., Dickinson, K. J. M., Humar-Maegli, T., Michel, P., … Lord, J. M., … Nielsen, J. A. (2015). Ecological responses to 52 years of experimental snow manipulation in high-alpine cushionfield, Old Man Range, south-central New Zealand. Arctic, Antarctic, & Alpine Research, 47(4), 751-772. doi: 10.1657/AAAR0014-098

Authored Book - Research

Mark, A. F. (2015). Standing my ground: A voice for nature conservation. Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press, 284p.

Mark, A. F. (2012). Above the treeline: A nature guide to alpine New Zealand. Nelson, New Zealand: Craig Potton Publishing, 464p.

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Edited Book - Research

Darby, J., Fordyce, R. E., Mark, A. F., Probert, K., & Townsend, C. (Eds.). (2003). The natural history of Southern New Zealand. Dunedin, New Zealand: University of Otago Press, 370p.

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Edited Book - Other

Darby, J., Fordyce, R. E., Mark, A., Probert, K., & Townsend, C. (Eds.). (2006). The natural history of southern New Zealand [Reprint]. Dunedin, New Zealand: University of Otago Press, 400p.

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Chapter in Book - Research

Mark, A. F., Barratt, B. I. P., & Weeks, E. (2013). Ecosystem services in New Zealand’s indigenous tussock grasslands: Conditions and trends. In J. Dymond (Ed.), Ecosystem services in New Zealand: Conditions and trends. (pp. 1-33). Lincoln, New Zealand: Manaaki Whenua Press.

Coomes, D. A., Mark, A. F., & Bee, J. (2006). Animal control and ecosystem recovery. In R. B. Allen & W. G. Lee (Eds.), Biological invasions in New Zealand: Ecological studies 186. (pp. 339-353). Berlin, Germany: Springer.

Mark, A. F., & Dickinson, K. J. M. (2004). South Island high country in transition: Issues, options and initial outcomes with the tenure review process. In G. Kearsley & B. Fitzharris (Eds.), Glimpses of a Gaian world. (pp. 285-308). Dunedin, New Zealand: University of Otago School of Social Science.

Mark, A. F., Lee, W. G., Patrick, B. H., Cree, A., Darby, J., & Spencer, H. G. (2003). Tussock grasslands and associated mountain lands. In J. T. Darby, R. E. Fordyce, A. F. Mark, P. K. Probert & C. R. Townsend (Eds.), The natural history of Southern New Zealand. (pp. 191-235). Dunedin: University of Otago Press.

Mark, A. F. (1999). The Botany of Otago and Southland. In P. Sorrell (Ed.), The Cyclopedia of Otago and Southland. (pp. 1004-1007). Dunedin: Dunedin City Council / Longacre Press.

Mark, A. F. (1999). Guardians of the Lakes. In P. Sorrell (Ed.), The Cyclopedia of Otago and Southland. (pp. 1153-1155). Dunedin: Dunedin City Council / Longacre Press.

Mark, A. F. (1998). Te Waahipounamu: south-west New Zealand World Heritage Area. Ecological research and conservation history. An essay in honour of Peter Wardle. In R. Lynch (Ed.), Ecosystems, Entomology and Plants Miscellaneous Series 48. (pp. 39-68). The Royal Society of New Zealand.

Mark, A. F., & Dickinson, K. J. M. (1997). New Zealand Alpine Ecosystems. In F. E. Wielgolaski (Ed.), Polar and Alpine Tundra. (Ecosystems of the World, vol. 3). (pp. 311-345). Amsterdam; New York: Elsevier.

Mark, A. F., & Dickinson, K. J. M. (1996). Research as a basis for protected natural area management in New Zealand. In M. M. Ralston, K. F. D. Hughey & K. F. O'Connor (Eds.), Mountains of East Asia and the Pacific. (pp. 35-40). Lincoln: Centre for Mountain Studies, Lincoln University.

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Chapter in Book - Other

Grabherr, G., & Mark, A. (2004). Neuseeländische Alpen. In C. A. Burga, F. Klötzli & G. Grabherr (Eds.), Gebirge der Erde. (pp. 220-231). Stuttgart: Ulmer.

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Journal - Research Article

Lord, J. M., Mark, A. F., Humar-Maegli, T., Halloy, S. R. P., Bannister, P., Knight, A., & Dickinson, K. J. M. (2018). Slow community responses but rapid species responses 14 years after alpine turf transplantation among snow cover zones, south–central New Zealand. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution & Systematics, 30, 51-61. doi: 10.1016/j.ppees.2017.07.004

Mark, A. F., Molau, U., Whigham, P., Little, L., & Nielsen, J. (2016). Periglacial tarn on the Rock and Pillar Range crest, south-central South Island, New Zealand, and its surrounding snowbank community. Austral Ecology, 41(3), 282-290. doi: 10.1111/aec.12310

Mark, A. F., Korsten, A. C., Urrutia Guevara, D., Dickinson, K. J. M., Humar-Maegli, T., Michel, P., … Lord, J. M., … Nielsen, J. A. (2015). Ecological responses to 52 years of experimental snow manipulation in high-alpine cushionfield, Old Man Range, south-central New Zealand. Arctic, Antarctic, & Alpine Research, 47(4), 751-772. doi: 10.1657/AAAR0014-098

Cavieres, L. A., Brooker, R. W., Butterfield, B. J., Cook, B. J., Kikvidze, Z., Lortie, C. J., … Dickinson, K. J. M., Cranston, B. H., … Mark, A. F., … Callaway, R. M. (2014). Facilitative plant interactions and climate simultaneously drive alpine plant diversity. Ecology Letters, 17(2), 193-202. doi: 10.1111/ele.12217

Hofstede, R. G. M., Dickinson, K. J. M., Mark, A. F., & Narváez, E. (2014). A broad transition from cloud forest to páramo characterizes an undisturbed treeline in Parque Nacional Llanganates, Ecuador. Arctic, Antarctic, & Alpine Research, 46(4), 975-986. doi: 10.1657/1938-4246-46.4.975

Kelly, D., Geldenhuis, A., James, A., Holland, E. P., Plank, M. J., Brockie, R. E., … Mark, A. F., … Byrom, A. E. (2013). Of mast and mean: Differential-temperature cue makes mast seeding insensitive to climate change. Ecology Letters, 16(1), 90-98. doi: 10.1111/ele.12020

Chapin, III, F. S., Mark, A. F., Mitchell, R. A., & Dickinson, K. J. M. (2012). Design principles for social-ecological transformation toward sustainability: Lessons from New Zealand sense of place. Ecosphere, 3(5), 40. doi: 10.1890/ES12-00009.1

Mark, A. F. (2012). Recent progress with the conservation and protection of temperate indigenous grasslands in New Zealand. Parks, 18(1), 37-48.

Kepner, W. G., Ramsey, M. M., Brown, E. S., Jarchow, M. E., Dickinson, K. J. M., & Mark, A. F. (2012). Hydrologic futures: Using scenario analysis to evaluate impacts of forecasted land use change on hydrologic services. Ecosphere, 3(7), 69. doi: 10.1890/ES11-00367.1

Mark, A. F., & Whigham, P. A. (2011). Disturbance-induced changes in a high-alpine cushionfield community, south-central New Zealand. Austral Ecology, 36(5), 581-592. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-9993.2010.02193.x

Bee, J. N., Tanentzap, A. J., Lee, W. G., Lavers, R. B., Mark, A. F., Mills, J. A., & Coomes, D. A. (2011). Influence of foliar traits on forage selection by introduced red deer in New Zealand. Basic & Applied Ecology, 12(1), 56-63. doi: 10.1016/j.baae.2010.09.010

Mark, A. F., Wilson, J. B., & Scott, C. (2011). Long-term retirement of New Zealand snow tussock rangeland: Effects on canopy structure, hawkweed (Hieracium spp.) invasion and plant diversity. New Zealand Journal of Botany, 49(2), 243-262. doi: 10.1080/0028825X.2010.533685

Michel, P., Mathieu, R., & Mark, A. F. (2010). Spatial analysis of oblique photo-point images for quantifying spatio-temporal changes in plant communities. Applied Vegetation Science, 13(2), 173-182. doi: 10.1111/j.1654-109X.2009.01059.x

Chagué-Goff, C., Mark, A. F., & Dickinson, K. J. M. (2010). Hydrological processes and chemical characteristics of low-alpine patterned wetlands, south-central New Zealand. Journal of Hydrology, 385, 105-119. doi: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2010.02.007

Bee, J. N., Wright, D. M., Tanentzap, A. J., Lee, W. G., Lavers, R. B., Mills, J. A., Mark, A. F., & Coomes, D. A. (2010). Spatio-temporal feeding selection of red deer in a mountainous landscape. Austral Ecology, 35(7), 752-764. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-9993.2009.02082.x

Mark, A. F., Michel, P., Dickinson, K. J. M., & McLennan, B. R. (2009). The conservation (protected area) status of New Zealand's indigenous grasslands: An update. New Zealand Journal of Botany, 47(1), 53-60. doi: 10.1080/00288250909509793

Tanentzap, A. J., Bee, J. N., Lee, W. G., Lavers, R. B., Mills, J. A., Mark, A. F., & Coomes, D. A. (2009). The reliability of palatability estimates obtained from rumen contents analysis and a field-based index of diet selection. Journal of Zoology, 278(3), 243-248. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7998.2009.00572.x

Bee, J. N., Tanentzap, A. J., Lee, W. G., Lavers, R. B., Mark, A. F., Mills, J. A., & Coomes, D. A. (2009). The benefits of being in a bad neighbourhood: Plant community composition influences red deer foraging decisions. Oikos, 118(1), 18-24. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0706.2008.16756.x

Mark, A. F., & Dickinson, K. J. M. (2008). Maximizing water yield with indigenous non-forest vegetation: A New Zealand perspective. Frontiers in Ecology & the Environment, 6(1), 25-34. doi: 10.1890/060130

Grab, S. W., Dickinson, K. J. M., Mark, A. F., & Maegli, T. (2008). Ploughing boulders on the Rock and Pillar Range, south-central New Zealand: Their geomorphology and alpine plant associations. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 38(1), 51-70. doi: 10.1080/03014220809510546

Mark, A. F., Porter, S., Piggott, J. J., Michel, P., Maegli, T., & Dickinson, K. J. M. (2008). Altitudinal patterns of vegetation, flora, life forms, and environments in the alpine zone of the Fiord Ecological Region, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany, 46(2), 205-237. doi: 10.1080/00288250809509763

Dickinson, K. J. M., Kelly, D., Mark, A. F., Wells, G., & Clayton, R. (2007). What limits a rare alpine plant species? Comparative demography of three endemic species of Myosotis (Boraginaceae). Austral Ecology, 32, 155-168.

Brown, C. S., Mark, A. F., Kershaw, G. P., & Dickinson, K. J. M. (2006). Secondary succession 24 years after disturbance of a New Zealand high-alpine cushionfield. Arctic, Antarctic, & Alpine Research, 38(3), 325-334.

Mark, A. F., Dickinson, K. J. M., Maegli, T., & Halloy, S. R. P. (2006). Two GLORIA long-term alpine monitoring sites established in New Zealand as part of a global network. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 36(3), 111-128. doi: 10.1080/03014223.2006.9517804

Mark, A. F., & Wilson, J. B. (2005). Tempo and mode of vegetation dynamics over 50 years in a New Zealand alpine cushion / tussock community. Journal of Vegetation Science, 16, 227-236.

Onipchenko, V., Mark, A. F., & Wells, G. (2005). Floristic richness of three perhumid New Zealand alpine plant communities in comparison with other regions. Austral Ecology, 30, 518-525.

Mark, A. F., & McLennan, B. (2005). The conservation status of New Zealand's indigenous grasslands. New Zealand Journal of Botany, 43, 245-270.

Bannister, P., Maegli, T., Dickinson, K. J. M., Halloy, S. R. P., Knight, A., Lord, J. M., Mark, A. F., & Spencer, K. L. (2005). Will loss of snow cover during climatic warming expose New Zealand alpine plants to increased frost damage? Oecologia, 144, 245-256.

Bond, W. J., Dickinson, K. J. M., & Mark, A. F. (2004). What limits the spread of fire-dependent vegetation? Evidence from geographic variation of serotiny in a New Zealand shrub. Global Ecology & Biogeography, 13, 115-127.

Mark, A. F., Dickinson, K. J. M., & Patrick, B. H. (2003). Indigenous grassland protection in New Zealand. Frontiers in Ecology & the Environment, 1(6), 290-291.

Mark, A. F., & Dickinson, K. J. M. (2003). Temporal responses over 30 years to removal of grazing from a mid-altitude snow tussock grassland reserve, Lammerlaw Ecological Region, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany, 41, 655-668.

Halloy, S. R. P., & Mark, A. F. (2003). Climate-change effects on alpine plant biodiversity: A New Zealand perspective on quantifying the threat. Arctic, Antarctic, & Alpine Research, 35(2), 248-254.

Dickinson, K. J. M., Chagué-Goff, C., Mark, A. F., & Cullen, L. (2002). Ecological processes and trophic status of two low-alpine patterned mires, south-central South Island, New Zealand. Austral Ecology, 27, 369-384.

Grove, P. B., Mark, A. F., & Dickinson, K. J. M. (2002). Vegetation monitoring of recently protected tussock grasslands in the southern South Island, New Zealand. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 32(3), 379-414.

Hofstede, R. G. M., Dickinson, K. J. M., & Mark, A. F. (2001). Distribution, abundance and biomass of epiphyte-lianoid communities in a New Zealand lowland Nothofagus-podocarp temperate rain forest: Tropical comparisons. Journal of Biogeography, 28, 1033-1049.

Mark, A. F., & Dickinson, K. J. M. (2001). Deschampsia cespitosa subalpine tussockland on the Green Lake landslide, Hunter Mountains, Fiord Ecological Region, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany, 39, 577-585.

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