Dr Anne C Gaskett

PhD in Biology (Macquarie University); BA, BSc, BSc Hons (The University of Melbourne)

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Senior Lecturer

Research | Current

I'm a behavioural ecologist, specialising in Sensory Ecology. I study, teach and make discoveries about how animals behave, and perceive colours, sounds and smells. I have a special interest in how plants manipulate animals into acting as pollinators, and how we can use information about how animals (and plants!) communicate for conservation.

1. Pollination by sexual deception in orchids

Diverse and enigmatic, orchids and their pollinators make fascinating research subjects. I investigate how orchids lure insects into acting as pollinators, and how deception by orchids affects pollinator behaviour and ecology. The orchids of New Zealand and Australia are renowned for their wide range of unusual pollination systems involving sexual, food and brood-site deception and I use a range of experimental field and laboratory techniques to understand the evolution of mimicry, sensory exploitation and other forms of pollinator deception.

2. Seabird sensory ecology

Auckland is one of the world's top seabird hotspots. Seabirds' tend to live in colonies, often in burrows and return from long foraging trips at night. They also have to travel and forage long-distance over featureless oceans. These unique behaviours mean they are likely to use scent and colour in different ways to terrestrial, diurnal birds. Furthermore, they are one of the most at-risk animal groups due to habitat loss and fishing by-catch. We aim to use their unique sensory adaptations to assist in conservation.

3. Moss ecology and animal behaviour

Surprisingly, several mosses employ insects and other arthropods in their reproduction. Studying these ancient moss lineages gives insight into the early origins of complex plant-animal interactions, and crucially, how ecological networks can survive in a changing world.

3. Plant-animal interactions, chemical ecology, colour, signaling & mimicry

I am also interested or working on many other types of plant-animal interactions especially those involving scents, behavioural manipulation, or ancient groups such as basal angiosperms. Please contact me for further details of potential student projects or collaborations.

Teaching | Current

I aim to create a welcoming, inspiring, and intellectually challenging teaching environment that builds skills for a scientific career. I genuinely love crafting courses, working with students, and sharing in a tuakana-teina approach. Let's teach and study in ways that champion diversity and celebrate diverse talents and skills.

I coordinate BIOSCI338 Biology of Terrestrial Animals and postgraduate BIOSCI 735: Advanced Behavioural Ecology. I also lecture in BIOSCI 207: Animal Form and Function, and BIOSCI337 Animal Behaviour

The Ecology Writing Guide is available here. You can browse for specific items (e.g. should I write in the active or passive tense?) or work through the modules.

Postgraduate supervision

Current postgrads are investigating orchid ecology, native and introduced insect pollination, and seabird sensory ecology and conservation.


2016, 2019    Marsden Fund grants, Royal Society of New Zealand 

2018              School of Biological Sciences "Innovation in Teaching Practice" Award

2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 Dean’s teaching commendation

2012 Dean's Award for Teaching Excellence (early career)

Areas of expertise

Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour, Pollination, orchids, orchids, orchids... and moss and seabirds and other stuff.

Committees/Professional groups/Services

University of Auckland Women In Leadership team

Faculty of Science Equity Committee

Chair - Biological Sciences Equity Committee

Secretary - Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour

Associate Editor: Evolutionary Ecology, New Zealand Journal of Ecology


Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Campos, I. B., Fewster, R., Truskinger, A., Towsey, M., Roe, P., Vasques Filho, D., ... Gaskett, A. (2021). Assessing the potential of acoustic indices for protected area monitoring in the Serra do Cipó National Park, Brazil. Ecological Indicators, 120.10.1016/j.ecolind.2020.106953
  • Martin, A. L. B., O'Hanlon JC, & Gaskett, A. C. (2020). Orchid sexual deceit affects pollinator sperm transfer. FUNCTIONAL ECOLOGY, 34 (7), 1336-1344. 10.1111/1365-2435.13551
  • Gaskett, A. C. (2019). Testing for mimicry-An evolutionary biologist's wish list. FUNCTIONAL ECOLOGY, 33 (9), 1580-1582. 10.1111/1365-2435.13398
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/48867
  • Stavert, J. R., Bartomeus, I., Beggs, J. R., Gaskett, A. C., & Pattemore, D. E. (2019). Plant species dominance increases pollination complementarity and plant reproductive function. Ecology, 100 (9)10.1002/ecy.2749
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jacqueline Beggs
  • Mawalagedera, S. M. U. P., Callahan, D. L., Gaskett, A. C., Ronsted, N., & Symonds, M. R. E. (2019). Combining evolutionary inference and metabolomics to identify plants with medicinal potential. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 710.3389/fevo.2019.00267
  • Campos, I. B., Landers, T. J., Lee, K. D., Lee, W. G., Friesen, M. R., Gaskett, A. C., & Ranjard, L. (2019). Assemblage of Focal Species Recognizers-AFSR: A technique for decreasing false indications of presence from acoustic automatic identification in a multiple species context. PloS one, 14 (12)10.1371/journal.pone.0212727
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Todd Landers
  • Whitehead, M. R., Gaskett, A. C., & Johnson, S. D. (2019). Floral community predicts pollinators' color preference: implications for Batesian floral mimicry. BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY, 30 (1), 213-222. 10.1093/beheco/ary138
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/48296
  • Gaskett, A. C., & Gallagher, R. V. (2018). Orchid diversity: Spatial and climatic patterns from herbarium records. ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION, 8 (22), 11235-11245. 10.1002/ece3.4598


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 1, Room 107
New Zealand

Web links