VOICES Voices Icon Ideas and Insight From Explorers

Menu

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. Based out of Auckland, New Zealand, from 2015 to 2017 he is also working on a Scientist without Frontiers programme in Brazil.

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

Zero Invasive Predators at Bottle Rock

Over two years ago the NEXT foundation announced start-up funding for the new R&D company Zero Invasive Predators (ZIP). This past week I visited their intensive field site at Bottle Rock peninsula in the Marlborough Sounds for an update.

Species Introductions Accelerating

A study released this month has illustrated that the rate of species introductions to locations outside their native range is increasing faster than ever.

Breeding Ground of the Mascarene Petrel Discovered

Pétrel noir de Bourbon may sound like an exotic drink, but it is actually one of the rarest birds in the world. It is so rare, that it has taken a dedicated team of conservationists 15 years just to find their breeding grounds.

High tech solutions to invasive mammal pests

This year the Biological Heritage National Science Challenge in New Zealand launches its project on high tech solutions to invasive mammal pests, hosted by the University of Auckland. The high tech solutions project aims to deliver the long-term science solutions which will become a part of Predator Free New Zealand. In July 2016 the New…

Re-wilding an Island

Last week I bore witness to the re-wilding of an entire island ecosystem. Invasive mammalian predators were eradicated from Ahuahu (Great Mercury Island) in 2014, and the original predators and keystone species are now returning naturally.

Why Doubt Invasive Species Impacts?

Invasive alien species are now found on every corner of the planet and rank higher than climate change as a current threat to endangered species. So then why, despite all the scientific evidence of negative impacts from invasive species, would people be resistant to taking action against them?

Tracing the Global Invasion of Brown Rats

Brown rats are found throughout the world, on its continents and islands, affecting human health and biodiversity, but where did they originally come from? Researchers this month sought to answer that question when they released a global phylogeography of brown rats from cities and islands around the world.

Terrestrial Conservation on Tetiaroa

On Tetiaroa Marlon Brando wanted to “to maintain the natural beauty of the atoll setting” and as our expedition draws to a close we too are marvelling at the natural marine and terrestrial beauty of the atoll.

Polynesian Rats Don’t Come From Polynesia

The Polynesian rat is distributed throughout the Pacific Ocean and is found on most islands. Early European naturalists thought that because the rat was already present it must be native to each island.

Systematically Surveying the Ants of Tetiaroa

Ants are one of the best hitchhikers in the world. This is so true that in the Pacific, it’s hard to unravel whether the ants on even remote motu are native or ancient introductions with original voyagers.

Marine Conservation on Tetiaroa

Today we embarked for Tetiaroa with a two hour boat trip from Moorea. As we arrived at Tetiaroa we were fortunate enough to see humpback whales and spinner dolphins greeting us.

Seabirds Take a Long Time to Forget

Seabirds have incredibly high site fidelity, which means they typically return to the same breeding colony, often where they were born, time and time again. But at the same time they are also amazingly long-distance dispersers to colonise the remotest islands of the world. I was reminded of this paradox this evening barely a few…

Cats and Rats Lead Extinction Sweepstakes

As we travelled around the globe humans transported our favourite mammals with us. Either inadvertently such as rats, or intentionally such as cats. These species introductions have gone on to have unrivalled impacts.

The Hawaiʻi Commitments from the 2016 IUCN Congress

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) holds a congress every four years and this year it was in the island archipelago of Hawai‘i. Concluding today the congress adopted ‘The Hawaiʻi Commitments’.

Optimizing Rapid Eradication Assessment

Biological invasions can happen quickly and the best response is a rapidly confirmed eradication. Models combining data on the population dynamics of the invasive species with a given level of monitoring effort allow managers to quantify the probability that eradication has successfully been achieved.