Miss Carolina Lara Mendoza

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Doctoral Candidate - Doctor of Philosophy

Biography

I have been fascinated by animal behaviour with a direct focus on conservation biology and restoration of ecosystems. Ecology and animal-plant interactions are two other fields in which my PhD research focuses. 

Previous Research

2012 MsC with Specialization in Environmental Systems, Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM). Mexico.

2011 Academic stay at Hokkaido University, Faculty of Engineering, as part of the master research thesis “Characterization and termophilic-aerobic biodegradation of biological infectious biodegradable wastes”.

2009 Field research assistant in the management of Golden-Cheeked Warbler (Dendroica chrysopharia), an endangered species whose nesting is done exclusively at central Texas. Texas A&M University, Project called: “Recovery Credit System”.

2008-2009 Research intern in the Ornithology Department of the Biological Sciences Faculty, UANL as part of the conservation project called “Reproductive behaviour of the Worthen´s Sparrow (Spizella wortheni) in breeding sites in Galeana, Nuevo León, México”.

2006-2007 Academic stay in the German Primate Center (DPZ) in the Department of Cognitive Ethology  as part of the bachelor thesis project called “Understanding of Human Cues in the Object-Choice Paradigm by Baboons (Papio anubis)”.

 

Research | Current

Project title: Effectiveness of ecological corridors in maintaining bird movement and seed dispersal in urban areas.

Forest fragmentation refers to the subdivision of forest at a landscape scale and replacement of large areas of forest by other vegetation or impervious surfaces. Fragmentation results in the loss of native forest biota and exposes the remaining organisms to conditions of the surrounding matrix (e.g. pasture, impervious surfaces). In this way, landscapes are viewed as networks of fragments – metapopulations – in which local populations are connected by dispersal. Currently, New Zealand urban landscapes have been dramatically altered as a result of human occupation and continue to experience vegetation loss due to urban intensification. However, important species and habitats still occur within urban areas. Some New Zealand urban centres are beginning to explore how bird habitat around cities can be enhanced and whether ecological corridors can be used as a way to enable birds to traverse inhospitable urban areas. The North-West Wildlink ecological corridor concept was developed to restore and connect forest fragments across Auckland from the Hauraki Gulf Islands in the east across to the Waitakere Ranges in the west. However, the effectiveness of this corridor in terms of bird movement has not been tested. Furthermore, there is a complete lack of awareness and understanding of the plant community processes taking place in this corridor, particularly seed dispersal by frugivorous birds among fragments.

My research project focuses on bird distribution and movement across urban forest fragments and how this can affect quantity and quality of seed dispersal, seed deposition and recruitment. The aim is to identify spatial (habitat), behavioural, and temporal features and how they affect bird-plant relationships. The information gathered will be then employed to construct a spatially-explicit frugivory network analysis to evaluate community stability and function; first, by comparing plant-frugivore interaction patterns across different landscape types; and second, by identifying which species are the most essential in providing seed dispersal services for plants. 

Postgraduate supervision

  Principal: Dr. Margaret Stanley, University of Auckland

Associate: Prof. Jason Tylianakis, University of Canterbury

               Dr. Karine David, University of Auckland

Areas of expertise

Biodiversity, Biosecurity and Conservation.

Contact details

Alternative contact

laramendoz@gmail.com

TAMAKI BUILDING 733
Level 3, Room 733-316
TAMAKI CAMPUS GATE 1
261 MORRIN RD
Auckland 1072
ST JOHNS
New Zealand