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. Recently I have begun to consider how forest loss modifies and disrupts plant-animal mutualisms and drives extinction. In this context I have developed high-resolution chronologies for prehistoric extinction events, including NZ's iconic moa and the cryptic waitaha penguin. Finally, I have worked with graduate students on a variety of topics concerned with understanding how landscape structure influences habitat connectivity, seed dispersal and animal movement. I am an AI on a MBIE-funded project called BeST, which is focused on developing socio-ecological simulation models to support decision-making for ecosystem services 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 area of terrestrial ecology and associated quantitative methods. My main contributions are in ENVSCI 101 (Environment, Science & Management), GEOG 261 (Climate, Hydrology & Biogeography), GEOG 334 (Environmental Change) 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
Erin Kennedy ‘A spatially-explicit approach to assessing and resolving human-wildlife conflict’ Co-supervised with Dr Todd Dennis (SBS)
Alice Baranyovits ‘Seasonal movements of kereru (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae) through fragmented landscapes and the implications for seed dispersal’ Co-supervised with Prof Mick Clout and Assoc Prof Jacqueline Beggs (both SBS)
Craig Simpkins ‘Interactions between environmental variability and interspecific interactions in determining dispersal success’. Co-supervised with Dr Todd Dennis (SBS).
James Brock 'Ecosystem engineers? The role of tree-ferns (Cyathea) in New Zealand's forest ecosystems'. Co-supervised with Dr Bruce Burns (SBS).
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'.
Finn Lee 'How is 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).
Recently completed doctoral students
Jingjing Zhang (SBS, University of Auckland, 2016) ‘Modelling animal movement in heterogeneous environments: f rom 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'
Tom Etherington (SENV, University of Auckland, 2013) ‘Spatial modelling in support of vertebrate pest management’.
Claas Damken (SENV, University of Auckland, 2013) ‘Insects in mountainous landscapes: influence of habitat fragmentation and climate change’.
Andrew Pegman (SENV, University of Auckland, 2012) ‘Seed Dispersal and Demographics in Miro and Puriri’ (UoA funded).
Xilai Li (SENV, University of Auckland, 2012) ‘Spatial dynamics of Kobresia populations as affected by human disturbance on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau’.
Charles Bullard Fellow, Harvard Forest, 2012
Areas of expertise
Forest ecology, fire ecology, palaeoecology, 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., Perry, G. L., 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).
- Dickson, M. E., & Perry, G. L. W. (2016). Identifying the controls on coastal cliff landslides using machine-learning approaches. Environmental Modelling & 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 & evolution, 30 (5), 255-260.
- 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