Mr Finnbar Lee

BSc, PGDipSci, MSc (hons) first class

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Research Fellow


I completed a BSc majoring in Ecology and Biodiversity and minoring in Statistics at Victoria University in Wellington. I then completed an MSc (Environmental Science) at the University of Auckland. My MSc focused on the role agricultural land use plays in facilitating the spread of an invasive fish (Gambusia affinis) and the trophic ecology of Gambusia in degraded streams. I have recently submitted my PhD in Environmental Science (UoA), focusing on metacommunity dynamics in dendritic networks and am currently a Reserch Fellow at the University of Auckland. 

Research | Current

Research interests: population and community ecology, connectivity, dispersal, natural history, invasive species, fish.

Current research: My research focuses on the spatial dynamics of populations and communities, with a particular focus on freshwater fish. Currently I am working to better understand how amphidromous dispersal in whitebait populations can interact with stressors to determine extinction risk. This research is conducted with collaborators at UoA and around New Zealand and is supported by the George Mason Centre for the Natural Environment.  

PhD research: title "Metacommunity structure and connectivity in dendritic ecological networks". The aim of my thesis is to better understand how population and community structure is influenced by network topology and connectivity in freshwater fish metacommunities. 

Teaching | Current

Not currently teaching/tutoring.

Previous tutoring:

  • ENVSCI 101/101G Environment, Science and Management
  • GEOG 250 Geographical Research in Practice
  • BIOL 394 Terrestrial Ecology and Conservation
  • ENVSCI 705 Environmental Data Analysis


  • Best Paper (AFSS/NZFSS Conference 2019)
  • Best Poster (AFSS/NZFSS Conference 2019)
  • Postgraduate Student Research Award (UoA - SoE, 2018)
  • DAAD German Exchange Short-term Research Grant (2018)
  • The George Mason Centre for the Natural Environment University of Auckland - University of California, Davis Link Scholarship (2018)
  • SIL Trust Prize - Best Masters Oral Presentation (NZFSS Conference, 2016)
  • Marian Cranwell Prize for best MSc thesis focusing on environmental or ecological science (2015)

Areas of expertise

  • Community ecology
  • Freshwater ecology 

Committees/Professional groups/Services

  • New Zealand Ecological Society
  • New Zealand Freshwater Sciences Society
  • Ecological Scociety of America 

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.
  • Perry, G. L. W., & Lee, F. (2019). How does temporal variation in habitat connectivity influence metapopulation dynamics?. OIKOS, 128 (9), 1277-1286. 10.1111/oik.06052
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: George Perry
  • Lee, F., & Perry, G. L. W. (2019). Assessing the role of off-take and source-sink dynamics in the extinction of the amphidromous New Zealand grayling (Prototroctes oxyrhynchus). FRESHWATER BIOLOGY, 64 (10), 1747-1754. 10.1111/fwb.13366
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: George Perry
  • 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: George Perry, Sandra Anderson, James Brock
  • Lee, F., Simon, K. S., & Perry, G. L. W. (2018). Prey selectivity and ontogenetic diet shift of the globally invasive western mosquitofish ( Gambusia affinis ) in agriculturally impacted streams. Ecology of Freshwater Fish, 27 (3), 822-833. 10.1111/eff.12395
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: George Perry, Kevin Simon
  • Lee, F., Simon, K. S., & Perry, G. L. W. (2017). Increasing agricultural land use is associated with the spread of an invasive fish (Gambusia affinis). Science of the Total Environment, 586, 1113-1123. 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.02.101
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: George Perry, Kevin Simon

Contact details

Primary office location

SCIENCE CENTRE 302 - Bldg 302
Level 5, Room 519
New Zealand