Dr Anne C Gaskett
PhD Macquarie University; BA, BSc Hons The University of Melbourne
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
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
Faculty of Science Equity Leadership Committee
Faculty of Science Staffing Committee
Independent Chair - PhD oral examinations
Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)
- Friesen, M. R., Beggs, J. R., & Gaskett, A. C. (2016). Sensory-based conservation of seabirds: a review of management strategies and animal behaviours that facilitate success. Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society10.1111/brv.12308
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jacqueline Beggs, Megan Friesen
- 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, 1-20. 10.1080/0028825X.2016.1147470
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jacqueline Beggs
- STAVERT, J. A. M. I. E. R., DRAYTON, B. R. A. D. L. E. Y. A., BEGGS, J. A. C. Q. U. E. L. I. N. E. R., & GASKETT, A. N. N. E. C. (2014). The volatile organic compounds of introduced and native dung and carrion and their role in dung beetle foraging behaviour. Ecological Entomology, 39 (5), 556-565. 10.1111/een.12133
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jacqueline Beggs, Jamie Stavert
- Buser, C. C., Newcomb, R. D., Gaskett, A. C., & Goddard, M. R. (2014). Niche construction initiates the evolution of mutualistic interactions. Ecology letters, 17 (10), 1257-1264. 10.1111/ele.12331
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Matthew Goddard, Richard Newcomb
- Stavert, J. R., Gaskett, A. C., Scott, D. J., & Beggs, J. R. (2014). Dung beetles in an avian‑dominated island ecosystem: feeding and trophic ecology. Oecologia, 176 (1), 259-271. 10.1007/s00442-014-3001-z
Other University of Auckland co-authors: David Scott, Jacqueline Beggs, Jamie Stavert
- Kelly, M. M., & Gaskett, A. C. (2014). UV reflectance but no evidence for colour mimicry in a putative brood-deceptive orchid Corybas cheesemanii. Current Zoology, 60 (1), 104-113. Related URL.
- Gaskett, A. C. (2014). Color and sexual deception in orchids: Progress toward understanding the functions and pollinator perception of floral color. In R. Edens-Meier, P. Berhnardt (Eds.) Darwin's Orchids: Then and Now. Chicago, USA: University of Chicago Press.
- Herberstein, M. E., Baldwin, H. J., & Gaskett, A. C. (2014). Deception down under: is Australia a hot-spot for deception?. Behavioral Ecology, 25 (1), 12-16. 10.1093/beheco/art105