Emeritus Professor Mick Clout

BSc(Hons) (Edinburgh), PhD (Auckland)

Profile Image
Emeritus Professor

Research | Current

I am a vertebrate ecologist. My interests fall into three main areas:

1. Conservation biology of threatened wildlife

This programme involves research, by postgraduate students and myself, on the conservation biology of a variety of threatened vertebrates. My personal interests are in the ecology of New Zealand birds, including the critically endangered kakapo (Strigops habroptilus) and NZ pigeons/kereru (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae), which are important seed dispersers. I have supervised several postgraduates working on these and other threatened birds.

The work of myself and my postgraduates on threatened species has led to involvement in a number of NZ conservation initiatives, including the eradication of invasive mammals on islands and their intensive management at mainland sites.

I am currently a member of the NZ Conservation Authority (nominated by the Royal Society of NZ) and have chaired the Kakapo Recovery Group since 1995.


2. Ecology of introduced mammals

This programme incorporates my longstanding interests in the ecology and behaviour of brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula), but has extended to work on other introduced mammals, including hedgehogs, cats, mustelids and rodents. Our research on brushtail possum ecology has aimed to improve the prospects for control of these invasive marsupials through study of their behaviour in the wild, including their mating system and movement patterns. This programme has supported three postdoctoral fellows (Dr S. Sarre, Dr W. Ji, Dr J. MacKay) and several postgraduate students, with many resulting publications.

A strong recent interest (jointly with several postgraduate students) has been the invasion ecology of other introduced mammals (mice, rats, stoats) on islands. This has led to several publications, including papers in Nature (Russell et al. 2005), PNAS (Rayner et al. 2007) and Molecular Ecology (Veale et al. 2013).


3. International work on invasive species

From 1993-2009 I chaired the IUCN Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG), a global group of scientific experts on invasive species that I founded at the invitation of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. The purpose of the group (now consisting of over 200 scientists from more than 50 countries) is to foster work on the impacts of invasive species on global biodiversity and to provide scientific and policy advice to international conventions, governments and conservation bodies.

The ISSG online Global Invasive Species Database that we established (and which continues to be maintained and populated from UoA), incorporates biological information on invasive species and information on how to manage the threats that they pose to biodiversity.

I continue to work internationally on invasive species and other global conservation issues. Recent publications include annual ‘horizon scans’ of global conservation issues (eg. Sutherland et al. 2019), and a book on ‘Invasive Species Management’ commissioned by Oxford University Press (Clout & Williams 2009).


Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand (elected 2010)

Marsden Medal (NZ Association of Scientists), 2014

Sir Peter Scott Award for Conservation Merit (Species Survival Commission, IUCN), 2008. 

Charles Fleming Award for Environmental Achievement (Royal Society of New Zealand), 2007

NZ Ecological Society Life Membership (2014)

NZ Ecological Society Award for Ecological Excellence, 2007

Fellow of the International Ornithologists Union (elected 2002)

Chair, Invasive Species Specialist Group, Species Survival Commission, IUCN (by invitation), 1993-2008

Member, Steering Committee of the Species Survival Commission of IUCN (invited), 2005-2008


Areas of expertise

Biodiversity, Biosecurity and Conservation

Committees/Professional groups/Services

  • Chair, Kakapo Recovery Group
  • Member, New Zealand Conservation Authority
  • Chair, IUCN Invasive Species Specialist Group (1993-2009)

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.
  • Sutherland, W. J., Fleishman, E., Clout, M., Gibbons, D. W., Lickorish, F., Peck, L. S., ... Ockendon, N. (2019). Ten Years On: A Review of the First Global Conservation Horizon Scan. Trends in ecology & evolution, 34 (2), 139-153. 10.1016/j.tree.2018.12.003
  • Eason, C. T., Shapiro, L., Ogilvie, S., King, C., & Clout, M. (2017). Trends in the development of mammalian pest control technology in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Zoology, 44 (4), 267-304. 10.1080/03014223.2017.1337645
  • Sutherland, W. J., Barnard, P., Broad, S., Clout, M., Connor, B., Côté IM, ... Fleishman, E. (2017). A 2017 Horizon Scan of Emerging Issues for Global Conservation and Biological Diversity. Trends in ecology & evolution, 32 (1), 31-40. 10.1016/j.tree.2016.11.005
  • Veale, A. J., Holland, O. J., McDonald, R. A., Clout, M. N., & Gleeson, D. M. (2015). An invasive non-native mammal population conserves genetic diversity lost from its native range. Molecular Ecology, 24 (9), 2156-2163. 10.1111/mec.13102
  • Clout, M. N. (2011). Bird conservation in New Zealand: progress and problems. Paper presented at 25th International Congress for Conservation Biology, Auckland, New Zealand. 5 December - 9 December 2011.
  • Veitch, C. R., Clout, M. N., & Towns, D. R. (Eds.) (2011). Island invasives: Eradication and Management. Proceedings of the International Conference on Island Invasives. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN and Auckland, New Zealand:CBB: IUCN. Pages: xii+ 542.
  • Clout, M. N., & Williams, P. A. (Eds.) (2009). Invasive Species Management: A Handbook of Principles and Techniques. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, UK. Pages: 308.
  • Veitch, C. R., & Clout, M. N. (Eds.) (2002). Turning the Tide: the eradication of invasive species. IUCN. Pages: 414. Related URL.

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 1, Room 102
New Zealand

Web links