Dr James Charles Russell


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Associate Professor


I am a conservation biologist jointly appointed in the School of Biological Sciences and the Department of Statistics. I obtained my PhD in Biology and Statistics from the University of Auckland in 2007 and then worked overseas before joining the faculty in 2010.

Research | Current

My research focuses broadly on biodiversity, biosecurity and conservation with a particular emphasis on island ecosystems.

I am interested in a variety of ecological questions which often have underlying application to conservation. I have a particular enthusiasm for islands, where complex ecological relationships can become reducible and tractable.

Of particular interest are population and behavioural biology questions relating to what makes species threatened or invasive, and how these trends can be reversed. I also work with macroecology questions related to biogeography such as species diversity and community composition, and in the application of genetic methods within an ecological context.

My work often has a strong statistical modelling or analytical component. I also have a strong interest in animal ethics and environmental values.

Research sites have included New Zealand, Southern Ocean, Western Indian Ocean, French Polynesia, Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic, Mediterranean and the Tibetan Plateau.

Teaching | Current

I co-ordinate BIOSCI739 Dialogues in Biology and contribute teaching to BIOSCI104 New Zealand Ecology and Conservation, BIOSCI206 Principles of Ecology and ENVSCI733 Biodiversity Management and Conservation.

Postgraduate supervision

I am happy to discuss graduate project supervision in areas of ecology and conservation, particularly those drawing on quantitative and social sciences. My students have an excellent track record of gaining immediate employment in the conservation and environment sector.


  • 2018 Society for Conservation Biology Oceania Section Distinguished Service Award
  • 2015 Scientist Without Frontiers (Brazil)
  • 2014 Rutherford Discovery Fellow
  • 2013 National Geographic Explorer
  • 2012 Prime Minister's Emerging Scientist Prize Winner


Project Leader, National Science Challenge

Senate Member, Sub-Professorial Staff at Large, University of Auckland

Health and Safety Committee, School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland

Marketing Committee, School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland



Areas of expertise

  • Island conservation
  • Invasive species
  • Statistics
  • Rats
  • Seabirds

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Strategy Team, PF2050 Ltd

Science Adviser, Zero Invasive Predators

Associate Editor, Biological Invasions

Strategic Committee, Predator Free New Zealand

Scientific Advisory Board, Tetiaroa Society

Advisory Group, Endangered Species Foundation New Zealand

Scientific Advisor, Hauturu Supporters Trust

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Russell, J. C., Taylor, C. N., & Aley, J. P. (2018). Social assessment of inhabited islands for wildlife management and eradication. Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, 25 (1), 24-42. 10.1080/14486563.2017.1401964
  • Russell, J. C., Meyer, J. Y., Holmes, N. D., & Pagad, S. (2017). Invasive alien species on islands: Impacts, distribution, interactions and management. Environmental Conservation, 44 (4), 359-370. 10.1017/S0376892917000297
  • Russell, J. C., & Blackburn, T. M. (2017). Invasive alien species: Denialism, disagreement, definitions, and dialogue. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 32 (5), 312-314. 10.1016/j.tree.2017.02.005
  • Russell, J. C., Binnie, H. R., Oh, J., Anderson, D. P., & Samaniego-Herrera, A. (2017). Optimizing confirmation of invasive species eradication with rapid eradication assessment. Journal of Applied Ecology, 54 (1), 160-169. 10.1111/1365-2664.12753
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/32765
  • Courchamp, F., Fournier, A., Bellard, C., Bertelsmeier, C., Bonnaud, E., Jeschke, J. M., & Russell, J. C. (2017). Invasion Biology: Specific Problems and Possible Solutions. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 32 (1), 13-22. 10.1016/j.tree.2016.11.001
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/32463
  • Russell, J. C., & Blackburn, T. M. (2017). The Rise of Invasive Species Denialism. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 32 (1), 3-6. 10.1016/j.tree.2016.10.012
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/32462
  • Russell, J. C., Jones, H. P., Armstrong, D. P., Courchamp, F., Kappes, P. J., Seddon, P. J., ... Rocamora, G. (2016). Importance of lethal control of invasive predators for island conservation. Conservation Biology, 30 (3), 670-672. 10.1111/cobi.12666
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/32491
  • Jones, H. P., Holmes, N. D., Butchart, S. H. M., Tershy, B. R., Kappes, P. J., Corkery, I., ... Burbidge, A. A. (2016). Invasive mammal eradication on islands results in substantial conservation gains. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113 (15), 4033-4038. 10.1073/pnas.1521179113
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/32565


Contact details

Primary office location

New Zealand

Secondary office location

TAMAKI BUILDING 733 - Bldg 733
Level 3 , Room 334
New Zealand

Social links

Web links