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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. 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.

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.

Island Biology 2016, Azores

This week the second Island Biology conference is taking place in the Azores Islands of Portugal. Its hard to believe its already been two years since the first one in Hawaii.

Antipodes Island One Step Closer

Antipodes Island is one step closer to being mouse-free after the first bait-drop across the entire island was completed in record time. Department of Conservation staff arrived on the island on 27th May and the first drop was completed by 29th June.

Resetting the rules for pest control

The science of pest control includes developing and testing new tools. Today we deployed self-resetting traps on Goat Island to test their efficiency at keeping rats from perpetually reinvading the island.

Invasive Ants Eradicated from Tiritiri Island

Ants are often an unwelcome pest species, particularly on islands, and so its great news this week that one of the world’s worst invasive ant species – the Argentine ant, has been successfully eradicated from Tiritiri Island.