Dr Anne C Gaskett

PhD Macquarie University; BA, 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. A youtube clip about my orchid research.


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. 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 coordinate BIOSCI 323: Plant Diversity, and lecture in behavioural ecology in BIOSCI 104: NZ Ecology & Conservation, BIOSCI 207: Adaptive Design, and postgraduate BIOSCI 735: Advanced Behavioural Ecology.

I aim to create a welcoming, inspiring, and intellectually challenging teaching environment.

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

Write@Uni is a snappy new resource to guide you through the academic writing process


Postgraduate supervision

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


2016 Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden grant

2012 Dean's Award for Teaching Excellence

Areas of expertise

Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Faculty of Science Equity Leadership Committee

Faculty of Science Staffing Committee

Independent Chair - PhD oral examinations


Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • 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
  • Schultz, H., Hohnhold, R. J., Taylor, G. A., Bury, S. J., Bliss, T., Ismar, S. M. H., ... Dennis, T. E. (2018). Non-breeding distribution and activity patterns in a temperate population of brown skua. MARINE ECOLOGY PROGRESS SERIES, 603, 215-226. 10.3354/meps12720
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Craig Millar
  • Stavert, J. R., Pattemore, D. E., Bartomeus, I., Gaskett, A. C., & Beggs, J. R. (2018). Exotic flies maintain pollination services as native pollinators decline with agricultural expansion. Journal of Applied Ecology, 55 (4), 1737-1746. 10.1111/1365-2664.13103
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jacqueline Beggs, David Pattemore
  • Brunton Martin, A. L., Gaskett, A. C., & Friesen, M. R. (2018). Feather colours of live birds and museum specimens look similar when viewed by seabirds. Ibis, 160 (1), 185-189. 10.1111/ibi.12501
  • Stavert, J., Pattemore, D., Gaskett, A., Beggs, J., & Bartomeus, I. (2017). Exotic species enhance response diversity to land-use change but modify functional composition. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 284 (1860)10.1098/rspb.2017.0788
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jacqueline Beggs, David Pattemore
  • Friesen, M. R., Beggs, J. R., & Gaskett, A. C. (2017). Sensory-based conservation of seabirds: A review of management strategies and animal behaviours that facilitate success. Biological Reviews, 92 (3), 1769-1784. 10.1111/brv.12308
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jacqueline Beggs
  • Gaskett, A. C., Endler, J. A., & Phillips, R. D. (2017). Convergent evolution of sexual deception via chromatic and achromatic contrast rather than colour mimicry. Evolutionary Ecology, 31 (2), 205-227. 10.1007/s10682-016-9863-2
  • Bodley, E. J., Beggs, J. R., Toft, R., & Gaskett, A. C. (2016). Flowers, phenology and pollination of the endemic New Zealand greenhood orchid Pterostylis brumalis. New Zealand Journal of Botany, 54 (3), 291-310. 10.1080/0028825X.2016.1147470
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jacqueline Beggs


Contact details

Primary office location

COMMERCE A - Bldg 114
Level 1, Room 107
New Zealand

Web links