I am a PhD student in the Department of Statistics at the University of Auckland. Previously I gained undergraduate degrees in commerce and science, majoring in Accounting & Finance and Statistics respectively, and a postgraduate Honours degree (equivalent to a first-year Masters) also in Statistics, all from the University of Auckland.
My project involves estimating the rate of migration of rats between islands based on gene-flow. Potential sources of rat samples include island chains in the Hauraki Gulf, Eastern Bay of Islands, Southern Kaipara Harbour, Goat Island, Stewart Island, Western Coromandel and Great Barrier Island. For information about areas under consideration for trapping, please follow the links on the map page.
The study focuses on Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus; brown rat) and ship rats (Rattus rattus; black rat), but not kiore (Rattus exulans; Pacific rat) out of cultural respect. The ultimate aim is to develop software which will be able to suggest optimal eradication strategies for rat-infested island groups so that rats are not expected to re-invade over a given time period.
This project is part of a wider field of ecological studies at the University of Auckland involving the invasiveness of rats. For more information, see the website for the Rodent Invasion Project. This group includes James Russell, and his now world-famous Razza the Rat, the subject of an article in Nature, as well as a children's book by celebrated New Zealand author Witi Ihimaera.