Professor George Perry
BSc(Hons)/MSc (Canterbury), PhD (Melbourne), PGCAP (London)
I completed undergraduate and Masters studies in the Departments of Geography and Plant and Microbial Sciences at the University of Canterbury, before doing a PhD at the University of Melbourne. I worked in the Department of Geography at King's College London for four years before moving to the School of Environment.
Research | Current
I am interested in the dynamics of forest ecosystems at spatial scales from the population to the landscape and at temporal scales from decades to milennia. All of my research involves a strong field-based component supported by simulation and/or statistical modelling.
My current research is primarily focused on understanding the effects of humans on forest ecosystems. I am particularly interested in how anthropic changes to disturbance regimes, especially fire, have restructured ecosystems and the legacies and challenges this has left for modern ecosystems. I am also interested in how forest loss modifies and disrupts plant-animal mutualisms. I have developed high-resolution chronologies for prehistoric extinction events, including NZ's iconic moa, and, I have worked with graduate students on a variety of topics concerned with understanding how altered landscape structure influences habitat connectivity, seed dispersal and animal movement. I am a collaborator on two projects focused on developing socio-ecological simulation models to support decision-making for ecosystem services and conservation in multi-functional landscapes. In the past I have conducted research in ecosystems in SW Australia, Spain, and New Caledonia.
I have designed an Excel add-in for spatial point pattern analysis (including nearest-neighbour methods, refined nearest neighbour, Ripley's K, the neighbourhood density function, etc.) called SpPack. This software is currently being used by a number of researchers around the world and is described in a paper in Environmental Modelling & Software. This software is freely available on email request.
Teaching | Current
My teaching is focused in the broad areas of terrestrial ecology, environmental change and associated quantitative methods. My main contributions are in ENVSCI 101 (Environment, Science & Management), GEOG 261 (Climate, Hydrology & Biogeography), GEOG 334 (Environmental Change), ENVSCI 705 (Environmental data analysis) and ENVSCI 737 (Applied Terrestrial Ecology). I also contribute to two courses in the School of Biological Sciences: BIOSCI 396 (Terrestrial Ecology) and BIOSCI 734 (Terrestrial Plant Ecology).
Current doctoral students
Sandra Anderson 'The consequences of unravelling plant-bird mutualisms in NZ ecosystems' Co-supervised with Assoc Prof Janet Wilmshurst (Landcare Research & School of Environment).
Alex Boast 'Paleoecology and ancient DNA of the kakapo Strigops habroptilus' Co-supervised with Assoc Prof Janet Wilmshurst (Landcare Research & School of Environment).
Bree Powers 'Ecosystem services and land-use and cover change modelling in multi-functional landscapes'.
Ben Reed 'Coupled species distributuion and demographic models of moa extinction' Co-supervised with Assoc Prof Janet Wilmshurst (Landcare Research & School of Environment).
Finn Lee 'How are metacommunity structure and connectivity influenced by network structure in dendritic systems?' Co-supervised with Assoc Prof Kevin Simon (School of Environment).
Tristan Webb 'Agent-based models of interactions between humans, vegetation and fire in New Zealand's initial burning period' Co-supervised with Assoc Prof Janet Wilmshurst (Landcare Research & School of Environment).
Quinn Asena 'Evaluating the robustness of early warning signals of tipping points in palaeoecological data' Co-supervised with Assoc Prof Janet Wilmshurst (Landcare Research & School of Environment).
Recently completed doctoral students
- James Brock (SBS, University of Auckland, 2018) 'Ecosystem engineers? The role of tree-ferns (Cyathea) in New Zealand's forest ecosystems'. Co-supervised with Dr Bruce Burns (SBS).
Erin Kennedy (SBS, University of Auckland, 2017) ‘A spatially-explicit approach to assessing and resolving human-wildlife conflict’ Co-supervised with Dr Todd Dennis (SBS)
Alice Baranyovits (SBS, University of Auckland, 2017) ‘Seasonal movements of kereru (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae) through fragmented landscapes and the implications for seed dispersal’ Co-supervised with Prof Jacqueline Beggs and Prof Mick Clout (both SBS)
Craig Simpkins (SBS, University of Auckland, 2017) ‘Interactions between environmental variability and interspecific interactions in determining dispersal success’. Co-supervised with Dr Todd Dennis (SBS).
Jingjing Zhang (SBS, University of Auckland, 2016) ‘Modelling animal movement in heterogeneous environments: from statistical inferential models to individual-based models’. Co-supervised with Dr Todd Dennis (SBS)
Narkis Morales (SENV, University of Auckland, 2014) 'The role of post-dispersal regeneration processes in Beilschmiedia tawa forest fragments, Waikato, Northern New Zealand'
Charles Bullard Fellow, Harvard Forest, 2012
Areas of expertise
Forest ecology, fire ecology, palaeoecology, extinction, ecological modelling
- Member of the Editorial Boards: Ecosystems, Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution & Systematics and New Zealand Journal of Ecology.
- Council member, New Zealand Ecological Society
Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)
- Tepley, A. J., Veblen, T. T., Perry, G. L. W., Stewart, G. H., & Naficy, C. E. (2016). Positive feedbacks to fire-driven deforestation following human colonization of the South Island of New Zealand. Ecosystems, 19 (8), 1325-1344. 10.1007/s10021-016-0008-9
- Bowman, D. M. J. S., Perry, G. L. W., Higgins, S. I., Johnson, C. N., Fuhlendorf, S. D., & Murphy, B. P. (2016). Pyrodiversity is the coupling of biodiversity and fire regimes in food webs. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 371 (1696).10.1098/rstb.2015.0169
- Dickson, M., & Perry, G. (2016). Identifying the controls on coastal cliff landslides using machine-learning approaches. Environmental Modelling and Software, 76, 117-127. 10.1016/j.envsoft.2015.10.029
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Mark Dickson
- Etherington, T. R., & Perry, G. L. W. (2016). Visualising continuous intra-landscape isolation with uncertainty using least-cost modelling based catchment areas: common brushtail possums in the Auckland isthmus. International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 30 (1), 36-50. 10.1080/13658816.2014.926365
- (2016). A quantitative assessment of shoot flammability for 60 tree and shrub species supports rankings based on expert opinion. International Journal of Wildland Fire10.1071/WF15047
- Perry, G. L. W., Wilmshurst, J. M., Ogden, J., & Enright, N. J. (2015). Exotic mammals and invasive plants alter fire-related thresholds in southern temperate forested landscapes. Ecosystems, 18 (7), 1290-1305. 10.1007/s10021-015-9898-1
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Janet Wilmshurst
- Bowman, D. M., Perry, G. L., & Marston, J. B. (2015). Feedbacks and landscape-level vegetation dynamics. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 30 (5), 255-260. 10.1016/j.tree.2015.03.005
- Rawlence, N. J., Perry, G. L. W., Smith, I. W. G., Scofield, R. P., Tennyson, A. J. D., Matisoo-Smith, E. A., ... Waters, J. M. (2015). Radiocarbon-dating and ancient DNA reveal rapid replacement of extinct prehistoric penguins. Quaternary Science Reviews, 112, 59-65. 10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.01.011