Julia Marion Schmack

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Doctoral Candidate - Doctor of Philosophy


2016 - present  PhD student at the Centre for Biodiversity & Biosecurity, School of Biological Sciences,
                         University of Auckland. PhD thesis "Managing Vespula Wasp Invasion on Offshore Islands"

2015 - 2016      Environmental Educator (part-time) for the Germany-wide Project Kinder-Garten im Kindergarten

2013 - 2016      Research Assistant at FiBL, Frankfurt
                         Projects: Kinder-Garten im Kindergarten - fostering biodiversity throughout Germany
                                        Organic Farming Abu Dhabi - consulting to build up an organic sector in Abu Dhabi
                                        Wasserzeichen - traceability of crops via stable isotopes
                                        Leguminos Crops - fostering cultivation, proceeding and marketing of legumes

2013 - 2014      Trainee programme "Organic Farming" initiated by the German Federation of the Organic Food
                         Industry (BOELW) at Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Frankfurt

2011 - 2013      Master of Science in Ecology and Evolution, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany
                         Master thesis at Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F), Frankfurt
                         Research semester on Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

2007 - 2011      Bachelor of Science in Ecological Impact Assessment, University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany
                         Practical semester at Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine
                         Research, Sylt, Germany

Research | Current

Why wasps?

I have always been fascinated by nature and I find it intriguing to try and understand fractions of the 'intelligence' of ecosystems. In my previous studies, I focused on the beneficial effect of land-use management and biodiversity on ecosystem services. The results showed that natural habitats appear to be more resilient against environmental impacts than strongly altered ecosystems.

I chose to work on the ecology and control of Vespula wasps as they are invading various regions of the world and have become a severe pest in New Zealand. I am interested in the drivers of wasp invasion, it's assessment and control. With my PhD, I would like to contribute to the outstanding research on Vespula wasps in New Zealand that has been pursued over the last decades.

Postgraduate supervision

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Jacqueline Beggs, University of Auckland (main-supervisor)

Dr. Darren Ward, Landcare Research (co-supervisor)

Dr. Mandy Barron, Landcare Research (co-supervisor)


Barlow Scholarship 2017, New Zealand Ecological Society (NZES)

Centre of Biodiversity and Biosecurity Grant 2017

Bob Stewart Environmental Award 2017, Rotary Club Newmarket

Areas of expertise

Scientific expertise

In progress: ecology and population dynamics of Vespula wasps (i.e. Vespula vulgaris and Vespula germanica), invasion biology, population modelling, pest control

Previous research: ecosystem resilience, biodiversity, ecosystem services (i.e. pest predationa and pollination)

Hands-on expertise
Environmental education, organic farming, educational community gardening, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Ecology Ngatahi working Group, University of Auckland

Chair of Ecology Ngātahi lab meeting/journal club (17/05/17)

Contact details

Alternative contact

Tamaki Campus
Room 733-317
261 Morrin Rd
Auckland 1072

Primary office location

COMMERCE A - Bldg 114
Level 1, Room 129
New Zealand