Dr James Charles Russell


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Associate Professor


I am a conservation biologist jointly appointed in the School of Biological Sciences and the Department of Statistics. I obtained my PhD in Biology and Statistics from the University of Auckland in 2007 and then worked overseas before joining the faculty in 2010.

Research | Current

My research focuses broadly on biodiversity, biosecurity and conservation with a particular emphasis on island ecosystems.

I am interested in a variety of ecological questions which often have underlying application to conservation. I have a particular enthusiasm for islands, where complex ecological relationships can become reducible and tractable.

Of particular interest are population and behavioural biology questions relating to what makes species threatened or invasive, and how these trends can be reversed. I also work with macroecology questions related to biogeography such as species diversity and community composition, and in the application of genetic methods within an ecological context.

My work often has a strong statistical modelling or analytical component. I also have a strong interest in animal ethics and environmental values.

Research sites have included New Zealand, Southern Ocean, Western Indian Ocean, French Polynesia, Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic, Mediterranean and the Tibetan Plateau.

Teaching | Current

I co-ordinate BIOSCI739 Dialogues in Biology and contribute to BIOSCI209 Biometry, ENVSCI303 Environmental science, risk and society, and ENVSCI733 Biodiversity Management and Conservation.

Postgraduate supervision

I am happy to discuss graduate project supervision in areas of ecology and conservation, particularly those drawing on quantitative and social sciences. My students have an excellent track record of gaining immediate employment in the conservation and environment sector.


  • 2018 Society for Conservation Biology Oceania Section Distinguished Service Award
  • 2015 Scientist Without Frontiers (Brazil)
  • 2014 Rutherford Discovery Fellow
  • 2013 National Geographic Explorer
  • 2012 Prime Minister's Emerging Scientist Prize Winner


Project Leader, National Science Challenge

Research Committee, Faculty of Science

Health & Safety Committee, School of Biological Sciences




Areas of expertise

  • Island conservation
  • Invasive species
  • Statistics
  • Rats
  • Seabirds

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Strategy Team, PF2050 Ltd

Science Adviser, Zero Invasive Predators

Associate Editor, Biological Invasions

Strategic Committee, Predator Free New Zealand

Scientific Advisory Board, Tetiaroa Society

Advisory Group, Endangered Species Foundation New Zealand

Scientific Advisor, Hauturu Supporters Trust

Associate Editor, Diversity and Distributions

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Armstrong, D., Ellis, L., Hohneck, M., Iorns, C., Knight, J., Littin, K., ... Steeves, T. (2019). Predator Free New Zealand: Social, Cultural, and Ethical Challenges BioHeritage Challenge. Related URL.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/47718
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Emily Parke
  • Whitehead, E. A., Adams, N., Baird, K., Bell, E. A., Borrelle, S. B., Dunphy, B. J., ... Russell, J. C. (2019). Threats to Seabirds of Northern Aotearoa New Zealand. Auckland, New Zealand: The Northern New Zealand Seabird Trust. Related URL.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/47737
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Edin Whitehead, Brendon Dunphy, Todd Landers
  • Pichlmueller, F., & Russell, J. C. (2018). Survivors or reinvaders? Intraspecific priority effect masks reinvasion potential. BIOLOGICAL CONSERVATION, 227, 213-218. 10.1016/j.biocon.2018.09.020
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/46261
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Florian Pichlmueller
  • Russell, J. C., Abrahao, C. R., Silva, J. C. R., & Dias, R. A. (2018). Management of cats and rodents on inhabited islands: An overview and case study of Fernando de Noronha, Brazil. PERSPECTIVES IN ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION, 16 (4), 193-200. 10.1016/j.pecon.2018.10.005
  • Parke, E. C., & Russell, J. C. (2018). Ethical responsibilities in invasion biology. The Ecological Citizen, 2 (1), 17-19. Related URL.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/43625
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Emily Parke
  • Russell, J. C., Taylor, C. N., & Aley, J. P. (2018). Social assessment of inhabited islands for wildlife management and eradication. Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, 25 (1), 24-42. 10.1080/14486563.2017.1401964
  • Russell, J. C., & Stanley, M. C. (2018). An overview of introduced predator management in inhabited landscapes. Pacific Conservation Biology10.1071/PC18013
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Margaret Stanley
  • Russell, J. C., Meyer, J. Y., Holmes, N. D., & Pagad, S. (2017). Invasive alien species on islands: Impacts, distribution, interactions and management. Environmental Conservation, 44 (4), 359-370. 10.1017/S0376892917000297
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/42972


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 3, Room 381
New Zealand

Secondary office location

Level 1, Room 117
New Zealand

Social links

Web links