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Phone +64 3 479 4107



Research Interests

  • Urban biodiversity
  • Impacts of cats and other predators on urban wildlife
  • Viability/distributions of urban wildlife populations
  • Human dimensions of urban biodiversity
  • Breeding ecology of seabirds

Current Projects

Households amongst biodiversity

  • Children's connection with nature in urban areas
  • Vegetative and invertebrate diversity in private gardens
  • Householder knowledge and attitudes towards biodiversity in their own gardens
  • Hunting behaviour of domestic cats
  • Resource use by native and exotic birds in urban forest fragments
  • Fine-scale classification of biodiversity values of urban spaces
  • Movements and habitat use of urban possums using GPS technology
  • Tourism impacts on little penguins
  • Life-time reproductive success  in yellow-eyed penguins
  • Diet of little penguins using stable isotopes
  • Resource selection by Peripatus across the urban landscape

Current and Recent Postgraduate Students

Avian community in suburbia

  • Emily Gray, "Seasonal resource use by native and exotic birds in mixed native/exotic urban forest fragments"
  • Cayley Coughlin, "Instrumentation effects and the use of tri-axial accelerometers to detect hunting behaviour in domestic cats".
  • Kate Hand, "Children's independent use of space in their neighbourhoods: do children access bio-diverse areas in proportion to their availability?"
  • Sara Larcombe, "Impacts of visitor disturbance on breeding little penguin".
  • Sam Haultain, "Maximising the conservation potential of the captive Otago skink (Oligosoma otagense) population".
  • Amy Adams, "Spatial ecology and genetic population structure of the common brushtail possum within a NZ urban environment"
  • Ed Waite, "Specimen trees as ecological keystone structures in the urban landscape".
  • Dan Barrett, "Multiple-scale resource selection of an undescribed urban invertebrate (Onychophora: Peripatopsidae) in Dunedin, New Zealand".
  • Aviva Stein, "Lifetime reproductive success in yellow-eyed penguins: influence of life-history parameters and investigator disturbance"
  • Scott Flemming, "Little penguin diet composition at three colonies: can stable isotope analysis be used to detect dietary trends?"
  • Kat Manno, "Physical environmental influences on breeding performance of the fairy prion"..
  • Mel Young, "Marine-based stochasticity and the impact upon Yellow-eyed penguins on mainland New Zealand; does it drive annual regional productivity?"


MacDonald, E., Farnworth, M., van Heezik, Y., Stafford, K., & Linklater, W. (2024). A conciliatory and persuasive social campaign changes owner behavior to reduce cats' hunting. Conservation Science & Practice. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/csp2.13152 Journal - Research Article

Hickcox, R., van Heezik, Y., Young, M., Rodríguez-Recio, M., Mattern, T., & Seddon, P. (2024). Resources, risks and refugia: Assessing the spatial overlap between yellow-eyed penguin foraging distribution, prey, commercial fisheries, and marine protected areas. New Zealand Journal of Zoology, (pp. 3-4). Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/03014223.2024.2332118 Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Varshney, K., MacKinnon, M., Pedersen Zari, M., Shanahan, D., Woolley, C., Freeman, C., & van Heezik, Y. (2024). Biodiverse residential development: A review of New Zealand policies and strategies for urban biodiversity. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 94, 128276. doi: 10.1016/j.ufug.2024.128276 Journal - Research Other

Patterson, C. R., Lustig, A., Seddon, P. J., Wilson, D. J., & van Heezik, Y. (2024). Eradicating an invasive mammal requires local elimination and reduced reinvasion from an urban source population. Ecological Applications. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/eap.2949 Journal - Research Article

van Heezik, Y., Simpson, L., Patterson, C. R., Seddon, P. J., & Wilson, D. J. (2023). Spatially explicit capture-recapture estimate of hedgehog population density in exotic grassland, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Ecology, 47(1), 3555. doi: 10.20417/nzjecol.47.3555 Journal - Research Article

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