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Professor Bruce Robertson

Bruce Robertson 2022Email bruce.robertson@otago.ac.nz

Tel +64 3 479 4110

Teaching

Research Interests

Current and Potential Projects

Kakapo (Strigops habroptilus)

  • Mate choice, reproductive behaviour and conservation genomics 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 wild and captive 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

  • Yasmin Foster (PhD) Genetic aging and genomic analysis of the kakapo Strigops habroptilus
  • Melanie Young (PhD) Coping with nutritional stress: diet, dispersal and plasticity in the foraging strategies of hōiho/yellow-eyed penguins (Megadyptes antipodes)
  • Denise Martini (PhD) Conservation genomics of the kaka

Past Postgraduate Students

  • Luke Easton (PhD) Phylogeography of New Zealand native frogs.
  • Ann-Kathrin Schlesselmann (PhD) Population genetic structure of the New Zealand black-fronted tern.
  • Kalinka Rexer-Huber (PhD) White-chinned petrels Procellaria aequinoctialis: movement ecology, populations and provenance of bycatch.
  • Carlos Esteban Lara (PhD) Maternal effects and offspring quality in the dunnock.
  • Gabby Knafler (PhD) The application of MHC, TLR, and microsatellite markers to examine bottleneck effects in three diverse New Zealand birds.
  • Stefanie Grosser (PhD) Past and contemporary population genetics of little blue penguins, Eudyptula minor.
  • Stefan Meyer (PhD) Population modeling of New Zealand sea lions Phocarctos hookeri at the Auckland Islands, New Zealand - Estimating the population’s current status, future trends and management options.
  • Benedikt Holtmann (PhD) Personality in a species with variable mating systems, the dunnock.
  • Kerry Anne Weston (PhD) Conservation genetics of the rock wren.
  • Bastian Egeter (PhD) Molecular detection of mammalian predation of frogs.
  • Catherine Collins (PhD) Temporal genetic analyses on Phocarctos sea lions.
  • Nicolas Dussex (PhD) Conservation genetics of the alpine parrot, kea Nestor notabilis.
  • Jolene Sutton (PhD) Characterization of neutral and MHC diversity, along with malaria resistance, in New Zealand saddlebacks and robins.
  • Amy Adams (PhD) Spatial ecology, resource use and population structure of the common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) across an urban-rural gradient.
  • Elaine Leung (PhD) Ontogeny of diving and juvenile survival of threatened New Zealand sea lions Phocarctos hookeri.
  • Thorsten Horn (PhD) Molecular aging of vertebrates.
  • Nathan McNally (PhD) Survival, recruitment, mass estimates and breeding behaviour/tenure of male New Zealand sea lions, Phocarctos hookeri, at Enderby Island, Auckland Islands.

  • Samanthan Haultain (MSc) Inbreeding depression in captive Otago skinks.
  • Tristan Rawlence (MSc) Response of alpine rock wren to predator control.
  • Claudia Mischler (MSc) Conservation genetics of the endangered black billed gull.
  • Imogen Foote (MSc) Genetic basis of personality in the New Zealand sea lion.
  • Meghan Milner-Jones (MSc) Conservation genetics of kokako.
  • Emma Kelman (MSc) Bioacoustic analysis of the kakapo.
  • Clare Cross (MSc) Feral cats in New Zealand.
  • Samantha Botting (MSc) Sexing New Zealand skinks.
  • Laura Berger (MSc) Female kakapo lineages: population structure and pedigree reconstruction.
  • Kaitlyn White (MSc) Inbreeding depression in the kakapo.
  • Kristina Thompson (MSc) Mate choice and reproductive success of the kakapo.
  • Matthew Taylor (MSc) Population genetic structure of the New Zealand sea lion (Phocarctos hookeri)

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Publications

Martini, D., Dussex, N., Robertson, B. C., Gemmell, N. J., & Knapp, M. (2022, August-September). Is the kea really an alpine parrot? A genomic investigation into the fate of the kea in a warming world. Verbal presentation at the Queenstown Molecular Biology (QMB) Meetings, Queenstown, New Zealand.

Young, M. J., Seddon, P. J., Pütz, K., Agnew, P., Mattern, T., Hickcox, R. P., Robertson, B. C., & van Heezik, Y. (2022). Conservation implications for post-fledging dispersal of yellow-eyed penguins/hoiho. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 695, 173-188. doi: 10.3354/meps14124

Lubbe, P., Rawlence, N. J., Kardailsky, O., Robertson, B. C., Day, R., Knapp, M., & Dussex, N. (2022). Mitogenomes resolve the phylogeography and divergence times within the endemic New Zealand Callaeidae (Aves: Passerida). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1093/zoolinnean/zlac060

Sandvig, E. M., Coulson, T., Robertson, B. C., Feeney, W. E., & Clegg, S. M. (2022). Insular nestling growth and its relationship to parental care effort in Silvereyes, Zosterops lateralis. Emu. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/01584197.2022.2105723

Schlesselmann, A.-K. V., Cooper, J., Dussex, N., & Robertson, B. C. (2022). New Zealand endemic open-habitat specialist, the Black-fronted Tern (Chlidonias albostriatus), experienced population expansion during Pleistocene glaciation and recent decline. Ibis. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/ibi.13107

Grosser, S., Dutoit, L., Foster, Y., Robertson, F., Fidler, A. E., Martini, D., Knapp, M., & Robertson, B. C. (2022). Genomic evidence of a functional RH2 opsin in New Zealand parrots and implications for pest control. New Zealand Journal of Zoology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/03014223.2022.2053554

Journal - Research Article

Lubbe, P., Rawlence, N. J., Kardailsky, O., Robertson, B. C., Day, R., Knapp, M., & Dussex, N. (2022). Mitogenomes resolve the phylogeography and divergence times within the endemic New Zealand Callaeidae (Aves: Passerida). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1093/zoolinnean/zlac060

Journal - Research Article

Sandvig, E. M., Coulson, T., Robertson, B. C., Feeney, W. E., & Clegg, S. M. (2022). Insular nestling growth and its relationship to parental care effort in Silvereyes, Zosterops lateralis. Emu. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/01584197.2022.2105723

Journal - Research Article

Schlesselmann, A.-K. V., Cooper, J., Dussex, N., & Robertson, B. C. (2022). New Zealand endemic open-habitat specialist, the Black-fronted Tern (Chlidonias albostriatus), experienced population expansion during Pleistocene glaciation and recent decline. Ibis. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/ibi.13107

Journal - Research Article

Young, M. J., Seddon, P. J., Pütz, K., Agnew, P., Mattern, T., Hickcox, R. P., Robertson, B. C., & van Heezik, Y. (2022). Conservation implications for post-fledging dispersal of yellow-eyed penguins/hoiho. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 695, 173-188. doi: 10.3354/meps14124

Journal - Research Article

Foster, Y., Dutoit, L., Grosser, S., Dussex, N., Foster, B. J., Dodds, K. G., … Robertson, F., … Robertson, B. C. (2021). Genomic signatures of inbreeding in a critically endangered parrot, the kākāpō. Genes Genomes Genetics. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1093/g3journal/jkab307

Journal - Research Article

Grosser, S., Robertson, F., Shepherd, L. D., Tennyson, A. J. D., Miskelly, C. M., Taylor, G. A., & Robertson, B. C. (2021). Phylogenetic affinities of the Whenua Hou Diving Petrel: Implications for conservation. Emu, 121(1-2), 102-112. doi: 10.1080/01584197.2021.1908148

Journal - Research Article

Lopes, F., Oliveira, L. R., Kessler, A., Beux, Y., Crespo, E., Cárdenas-Alayza, S., … Loch, C., Robertson, B. C., … Bonatto, S. L. (2021). Phylogenomic discordance in the eared seals is best explained by incomplete lineage sorting following explosive radiation in the southern hemisphere. Systematic Biology, 70(4), 786-802. doi: 10.1093/sysbio/syaa099

Journal - Research Article

Martini, D., Dussex, N., Robertson, B. C., Gemmell, N. J., & Knapp, M. (2021). Evolution of the world's only alpine parrot: Genomic adaptation or phenotypic plasticity, behaviour and ecology? Molecular Ecology, 30, 6370-6386. doi: 10.1111/mec.15978

Journal - Research Article

Rhie, A., McCarthy, S., Fedrigo, O., Damas, J., Formenti, G., Koren, S., … Robertson, B., … Jarvis, E. D. (2021). Towards complete and error-free genome assemblies of all vertebrate species. Nature, 592(7856), 737-746. doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-03451-0

Journal - Research Article

Sendell-Price, A. T., Ruegg, K. C., Robertson, B. C., & Clegg, S. M. (2021). An island-hopping bird reveals how founder events shape genome-wide divergence. Molecular Ecology, 30, 2495-2510. doi: 10.1111/mec.15898

Journal - Research Article

Feng, S., Stiller, J., Deng, Y., Armstrong, J., Fang, Q., Reeve, A. H., … Robertson, B. C., … Jamieson, I. G., … Rutherford, K. M., Gemmell, N. J., Dussex, N., … Zhang, G. (2020). Dense sampling of bird diversity increases power of comparative genomics. Nature, 587, 252-257. doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2873-9

Journal - Research Article

Lara, C. E., Grueber, C. E., Holtmann, B., Santos, E. S. A., Johnson, S. L., Robertson, B. C., … Nakagawa, S. (2020). Assessment of the dunnocks’ introduction to New Zealand using innate immune-gene diversity. Evolutionary Ecology, 34, 803-820. doi: 10.1007/s10682-020-10070-0

Journal - Research Article

Schlesselmann, A.-K. V., Dussex, N., Cooper, J., Monks, J. M., O'Donnell, C. F. J., & Robertson, B. C. (2020). Contrasting patterns of population structure at large and fine geographical scales in a migratory avian disturbance specialist of braided river ecosystems. Diversity & Distributions, 26, 16-33. doi: 10.1111/ddi.12994

Journal - Research Article

Young, M. J., Dutoit, L., Robertson, F., van Heezik, Y., Seddon, P. J., & Robertson, B. C. (2020). Species in the faeces: DNA metabarcoding as a method to determine the diet of the endangered yellow-eyed penguin. Wildlife Research, 47(6), 509-522. doi: 10.1071/wr19246

Journal - Research Article

Dussex, N., von Seth, J., Knapp, M., Kardailsky, O., Robertson, B. C., & Dalén, L. (2019). Complete genomes of two extinct New Zealand passerines show responses to climate fluctuations but no evidence for genomic erosion prior to extinction. Biology Letters, 15(9), 20190491. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2019.0491

Journal - Research Article

Egeter, B., Roe, C., Peixoto, S., Puppo, P., Easton, L. J., Pinto, J., Bishop, P. J., & Robertson, B. C. (2019). Using molecular diet analysis to inform invasive species management: A case study of introduced rats consuming endemic New Zealand frogs. Ecology & Evolution, 9, 5032-5048. doi: 10.1002/ece3.4903

Journal - Research Article

Rexer-Huber, K., Veale, A. J., Catry, P., Cherel, Y., Dutoit, L., Foster, Y., … Waters, J., & Robertson, B. C. (2019). Genomics detects population structure within and between ocean basins in a circumpolar seabird: The white-chinned petrel. Molecular Ecology, 28, 4552-4572. doi: 10.1111/mec.15248

Journal - Research Article

Verry, A. J. F., Scarsbrook, L., Scofield, R. P., Tennyson, A. J. D., Weston, K. A., Robertson, B. C., & Rawlence, N. J. (2019). Who, where, what, wren? Using ancient DNA to examine the veracity of museum specimen data: A case study of the New Zealand rock wren (Xenicus gilviventris). Frontiers in Ecology & Evolution, 7, 496. doi: 10.3389/fevo.2019.00496

Journal - Research Article

Dussex, N., & Robertson, B. C. (2018). Contemporary effective population size and predicted maintenance of genetic diversity in the endangered kea (Nestor notabilis). New Zealand Journal of Zoology, 45(1), 13-28. doi: 10.1080/03014223.2017.1325381

Journal - Research Article

Dussex, N., von Seth, J., Robertson, B. C., & Dalén, L. (2018). Full Mitogenomes in the Critically Endangered Kakapo Reveal Major Post-Glacial and Anthropogenic Effects on Neutral Genetic Diversity. Genes, 9, 220. doi: 10.3390/genes9040220

Journal - Research Article

Foote, I., Godfrey, S. S., & Robertson, B. C. (2018). Mate choice explains high genetic diversity in a small founding population of the New Zealand sea lion (Phocarctos hookeri). Australian Journal of Zoology, 66, 343-351. doi: 10.1071/ZO19023

Journal - Research Article

Mischler, C., Veale, A., van Stijn, T., Brauning, R., McEwan, J. C., Maloney, R., & Robertson, B. (2018). Population connectivity and traces of mitochondrial introgression in New Zealand black-billed gulls (Larus bulleri). Genes, 9(11), 544. doi: 10.3390/genes9110544

Journal - Research Article

Schlesselmann, A.-K. V., O'Donnell, C. F. J., Monks, J. M., & Robertson, B. C. (2018). Clearing islands as refugia for black-fronted tern (Chlidonias albostriatus) breeding colonies in braided rivers. New Zealand Journal of Ecology, 42(2), 137-148. doi: 10.20417/nzjecol.42.23

Journal - Research Article

Stoffel, M. A., Humble, E., Paijmans, A. J., Acevedo-Whitehouse, K., Chilvers, B. L., Dickerson, B., … Gemmell, N. J., … Robertson, B. C., … Hoffmann, J. I. (2018). Demographic histories and genetic diversity across pinnipeds are shaped by human exploitation, ecology and life-history. Nature Communications, 9(1), 4836. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-06695-z

Journal - Research Article

Collins, C. J., Chilvers, B. L., Osborne, A., Taylor, M., & Robertson, B. C. (2017). Unique and isolated: Population structure has implications for management of the endangered New Zealand sea lion. Conservation Genetics, 18(5), 1177-1189. doi: 10.1007/s10592-017-0969-z

Journal - Research Article

Grosser, S., Abdelkrim, J., Wing, J., Robertson, B. C., & Gemmell, N. J. (2017). Strong isolation by distance argues for separate population management of endangered blue duck (Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos). Conservation Genetics, 18(2), 327-341. doi: 10.1007/s10592-016-0908-4

Journal - Research Article

Grueber, C. E., Sutton, J. T., Heber, S., Briskie, J. V., Jamieson, I. G., & Robertson, B. C. (2017). Reciprocal translocation of small numbers of inbred individuals rescues immunogenetic diversity. Molecular Ecology, 26(10), 2660-2673. doi: 10.1111/mec.14063

Journal - Research Article

Meyer, S., Robertson, B. C., Chilvers, B. L., & Krkošek, M. (2017). Marine mammal population decline linked to obscured by-catch. PNAS, 114(44), 11781-11786. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1703165114

Journal - Research Article

Schlesselmann, A.-K. V., & Robertson, B. C. (2017). Isolation and characterization of 18 polymorphic microsatellite loci for the endangered New Zealand Black-fronted Tern (Chlidonias albostriatus). Waterbirds, 40(3), 297-301. doi: 10.1675/063.040.0311

Journal - Research Article

Bergner, L. M., Dussex, N., Jamieson, I. G., & Robertson, B. C. (2016). European colonization, not Polynesian arrival, impacted population size and genetic diversity in the critically endangered New Zealand Kākāpō. Journal of Heredity, 107(7), 593-602. doi: 10.1093/jhered/esw065

Journal - Research Article

Collins, C. J., Chilvers, B. L., Taylor, M., & Robertson, B. C. (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

Journal - Research Article

Dussex, N., Robertson, B. C., Salis, A. T., Kalinin, A., Best, H., & Gemmell, N. J. (2016). Low spatial genetic differentiation associated with rapid recolonization in the New Zealand fur seal Arctocephalus forsteri. Journal of Heredity, 107(7), 581-592. doi: 10.1093/jhered/esw056

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

Journal - Research Article

Knafler, G. J., Ortiz-Catedral, L., Jackson, B., Varsani, A., Grueber, C. E., Robertson, B. C., & Jamieson, I. G. (2016). 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, 161(4), 811-820. doi: 10.1007/s00705-015-2717-3

Journal - Research Article

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, 107(5), 392-402. doi: 10.1093/jhered/esw015

Journal - Research Article

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, 25(16), 3950-3961. doi: 10.1111/mec.13726

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

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.

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

Sutton, J. T., Robertson, B. C., & Jamieson, I. G. (2015). MHC variation reflects the bottleneck histories of New Zealand passerines. Molecular Ecology, 24(2), 362-373. doi: 10.1111/mec.13039

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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