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Conservation biologist Dr. James Russell works throughout the world on remote islands and other sites to provide conservation solutions by applying a combination of scientific methods. In 2015 he is working on a Scientist without Frontiers programme in Brazil. For his work in island conservation he was awarded a 2014 Rutherford Discovery Fellowship, the 2012 New Zealand Prime Minister's Emerging Scientist prize and a 2011 Chinese Academy of Sciences Young International Scientist Fellowship.

Follow James on National Geographic blogs for regular updates on his own work or other exciting developments in island conservation.

Tropical island conservation: Rat eradication for species recovery

Having just returned from Fernando de Noronha the plight of tropical islands under attack from invasive species is still at the forefront of my thoughts. Can the techniques we have developed in temperate latitudes on uninhabited islands be applied so readily to inhabited tropical islands? This was exactly the question that was asked in 2013…

Cat and Mouse vs. Bird on a Tropical Island

The bird species that have lived on Fernando de Noronha for millions of years have new predators to battle: introduced cats, rats, and a three-foot Brazilian lizard. Can they survive?

Island’s Invasive Species Wreak Havoc: How Did They Get Here?

Invasive cats, rats, and lizards are wreaking havoc on the native species of Fernando de Noronha. How did they all get here?

A Day in the Life of a Researcher in Search of Rats

The last twenty-four hours on Fernando de Noronha have been non-stop, non-sleep, and action filled, and not just because it’s been Carnival in Brazil.

500 Years on a Tropic Island in 500 Words or Less

When studying invasive species on a remote island, it helps to know the island’s history. And this one’s good.

First Impressions of Fernando de Noronha

As we watch the sunset from a rocky promenade, a rodent known in Brazil as mocó, darts around, and I realize the islands must have many surprises in store for me.

Expedition Begins Amid Drought in São Paulo

After 16 hours of flying, I’m keen for a shower. Unfortunately for me, but much more so for the rest of São Paulo, the city is falling in to the grip of its worst drought since 1930.

Expedition: Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

This week I am packing my bags in anticipation of my trip to Brazil. Over the next month I will be working in the remote oceanic archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, supported by the Ciência sem Fronteiras programme of CAPES. I will be updating my Voices Blog regularly every few days with updates of the…

Environmental Attitudes to Pest Control

The control of pest animals is as much about the attitudes of people to pests, and how those pests are controlled, as it is about the ecology of their impacts. Whereas some people may want to introduce game animals to establish hunting, at the very same time other people may want to eradicate them to…

Zero Invasive Predators

This week past the NEXT Foundation of New Zealand made the major announcement of start-up funding for a company named ZIP. Zero Invasive Predators (ZIP) aims to regenerate our native birdlife by transforming the way invasive predators are managed on mainland New Zealand. On small islands (in the range of 10,000 hectares) we have the…

Tolaga Bay Islands

Last weekend I visited Uawa (Tolaga Bay) and was lucky enough to visit some of the offshore islands off the coast and survey them. A small group of us were supported by the local surf life-saving club who capably took us out in their IRBs to visit Motueka and Pourewa Islands. On each island we…

Tetiaroa Society – The Brando

For the past five years I have worked on Tetiaroa atoll in French Polynesia – famous as the island hideaway of Marlon Brando. This week I was invited to the inaugural meeting of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Tetiaroa Society – a not for profit organisation established to oversee the conservation and sustainable use…

Allan Wilson Centre Meeting

Last week I participated in the annual meeting of the Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology & Evolution. Allan Wilson was a Professor of Biochemistry at UC Berkeley who grew up on a small farm just down the road from me in New Zealand. He pioneered the use of molecular approaches to understand evolutionary change…

Mouse Impacts on Antipodes Island

Eradication of an invasive species from an island must be justified by strong evidence of their negative impacts on the ecosystem, and confidence that those impacts outweigh any unexpected surprise effects which might occur. For invasive rats and mice these impacts have been already well documented globally. In some cases impacts of mice may be…

A Winter of Mouse Eradications

This winter has seen New Zealand teams busy with mouse eradications across the country. In the Hauraki Gulf the University of Auckland and Auckland Council teamed up to eradicate introduced house mice (Mus musculus) from two neighbouring small islands; Moturekareka and Motuketekete, with the last bait being applied last weekend. At around 25 hectares each…