Ms Sandra Helen Anderson

MSc (Auckland)

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Doctoral Candidate - Doctor of Philosophy


I completed undergraduate and Masters degrees at the University of Auckland. I previously worked with the Department of Conservation (NZ), the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (NZ) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (UK) before my employment at the School of Biological Sciences.

Research | Current

  • The role of plant-animal mutualisms in the pollination and seed dispersal of the NZ flora
    I am interested in the importance of mutualistic interactions to maintaining native ecosystems. The implication of both local and national declines in the suite of native pollinators and seed dispersers in New Zealand have been only briefly considered, and the pollination and seed dispersal requirements of many native plants are still poorly understood. In addition the introduction and naturalisation of a range of bird and insect species, as well as flowering and fruiting plants, has altered the original pattern of these interactions. My research aims to identify mutualisms between the native flora and fauna, and to assess the impact of changes in these on ecosystem function. The research objective is to enable us to predict vulnerability in mutualistic interactions, so that management of native biodiversity can be optimised.
  • Population dynamics and dispersal of individuals in a new environment
    Understanding the behaviour and population dynamics of both native and alien species introduced to a new system is critical to biodiversity conservation in New Zealand. I am interested in the population dynamics of translocated species, as well as the mechanics and dispersal of alien animals and plants invading new sites.

Teaching | Current

Field-based teaching in New Zealand Ecology and Conservation BIO104; Principles of Ecology BIO206; Conservation Ecology BIO396; Terrestrial Ecology BIO394; Plant Diversity BIO323; Applied Terrestrial Ecology ENVSCI 737 and Landscape and Restoration Ecology ENVSCI734.


Professional Staff Excellence Award 2014

Areas of expertise

  • Bird-plant interactions (pollination and seed dispersal)
  • Invasive species ecology
  • Paleo-ecology and current ecosystem processes

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Secretary, New Zealand Ecological Society

Hauturu (Little Barrier Island) Trust Science Advisory Board member

Sustainability Network working group, Faculty of Science

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.
  • Simpkins, C., Lee, F., Powers, B., Anderson, S., Asena, Q., Brock, J., & Perry, G. (2018). Population viability analyses in New Zealand: a review. New Zealand Journal of Ecology, 42 (2).10.20417/nzjecol.42.32
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Finnbar Lee, George Perry, James Brock
  • Drummond, A. J., Newcomb, R. D., Buckley, T. R., Xie, D., Dopheide, A., Potter, B. C. M., ... Grosser, S. (2015). Evaluating a multigene environmental DNA approach for biodiversity assessment. GigaScience, 4 (1)10.1186/s13742-015-0086-1
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Richard Newcomb, Thomas Buckley, Alexei Drummond, James Russell, Walter Xie
  • Van Etten, M. L., Tate, J. A., Anderson, S. H., Kelly, D., Ladley, J. J., Merrett, M. F., ... Robertson, A. W. (2015). The compounding effects of high pollen limitation, selfing rates and inbreeding depression leave a New Zealand tree with few viable offspring. Annals of botany, 116 (5), 833-843. 10.1093/aob/mcv118
  • Russell, J., Caut, S., Anderson, S., & Lee, M. (2015). Invasive rat interactions and over-invasion on a coral atoll. Biological Conservation, 185, 59-65. 10.1016/j.biocon.2014.10.001
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: James Russell
  • Cummings, G., Anderson, S., Dennis, T. E., Toth, C., & Parsons, S. (2014). Competition for pollination by the lesser short-tailed bat and its influence on the flowering phenology of some New Zealand endemics. Journal of Zoology, 293 (4), 281-288. 10.1111/jzo.12147
  • Gartrell, B. D., French, N. P., Howe, L., Nelson, N. J., Houston, M., Burrows, E. A., ... Anderson, S. H. (2013). First detection of Chlamydia psittaci from a wild native passerine bird in New Zealand. NEW ZEALAND VETERINARY JOURNAL, 61 (3), 174-176. 10.1080/00480169.2012.740656
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: James Russell
  • Pattemore, D. E., Pattemore, D. E., & Anderson, S. H. (2012). Severe pollen limitation in populations of the New Zealand shrub Alseuosmia macrophylla (Alseuosmiaceae) can be attributed to the loss of pollinating bird species. Austral Ecology10.1111/j.1442-9993.2012.02381.x
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: David Pattemore
  • Anderson, S. H., Kelly, D., Ladley, J. J., Molloy, S., & Terry, J. (2011). Cascading effects of bird functional extinction reduce pollination and plant density. Science, 331 (6020), 1068-1071. 10.1126/science.1199092


Contact details

Alternative contact

Phone (City Campus): +64 9 373 7599 ext 87214;  (mobile): 021 02377806

Primary office location

Level 1, Room 1002
New Zealand

Web links