James Russell

Ratting on Rakitu

Last week I had the pleasure to finally visit an island I had long wanted to survey. My perverse reward was finding not one but two species of rats inhabiting the island....

Guardians of the Bay of Islands

The islands of Ipipiri (the Bay of Islands) were cleared of invasive rodents and mustelids in 2009. Since then, there have been over 50 incursions of predators to the island group. The Department of Conservation invited myself and others to visit the ...

The Sun Sets on Brazil

For the last three years I have been travelling and collaborating across Brazil to increase awareness of the role of invasive alien species. As my trip to the Pantanal comes to an end so too does this time working in ...

(Some) Birds of the Pantanal

There are a lot of birds in the Pantanal. When I say a lot, I mean there are more bird species at this farm (Pousada Aguapé) than the entirety of my home country New Zealand. Its over 40 degrees centigrade every ...

Projeto Tamanduá in the Pantanal

My work in Brazil focuses on invasive species on islands, but to see a different side of conservation I have joined the Projeto Tamanduá 2017 course in the Pantanal. The Pantanal is the largest wetland in the world with the highest ...

Rat Eradication on Ilha do Meio

In Brazil WWF is partnering with TRIADE to undertake a trial rat eradication on Ilha do Meio, one of the small offshore islands of Fernando de Noronha. I visited the island this week so that the team undertaking the project ...

Native Invasives

Like all science, invasion biology depends on clear and strict definitions. The concept of a native invasive species therefore sounds implausible, but is exactly what I have found on Fernando de Noronha. Without consistent definitions, scientists can talk at odds ...

Amazon Biodiversity Monitoring in Ducke Reserve

Monitoring of biodiversity is a challenge, but visiting Ducke reserve in the Amazon I am able to see one of the gold standards for long-term biodiversity research. Satellite images reveal an oddly square 10 x 10 km forest block just to the ...

Wildlife on Islands of the Rio Negro

Touring through the Amazon I had the unique opportunity to spend a day visiting the small seasonally flooded islands of the Rio Negro. This dynamic landscape plays a huge role regulating local biodiversity. Our tour guide first lands us for ...

Islands of the Amazon

The Amazon is not typically a place one thinks of as insular, but the Parque Nacional de Anavilhanas in Brazil has over 400 islands in the Rio Negro. My visit to the national park coincided with the end of the dry ...

Life at the Southern Limits of New Zealand

Rakiura / Stewart Island is the southern-most inhabited point of New Zealand. Here, islanders carve out an existence for themselves among the harsh but beautiful environment. I was visiting to understand how the community feels about proposals to eradicate introduced mammalian ...

The Social Side of Pest Management

Plans to manage pest species are becoming increasingly larger in scale and ambition. The outcomes of such programmes can have just as important impacts on the resident human communities as the plant and animal communities. Today in New Zealand protests ...

Going Back 50 Years to Slipper Island

Last summer after visiting Great Mercury Island I had the brief opportunity to visit nearby Slipper Island off the coast of the Coromandel. With only a weekend on the island, I set out to perform a ‘bioblitz’ terrestrial fauna survey. ...

St Kilda – Life on a Remote Island

St Kilda is a remote island group in the North Atlantic off the coast of Scotland. Having made it to Scotland, and then the Outer Hebrides, it made sense to hop one more island to what was once the very ...

Alien Invasions Descend on Britain

This month two major invasive species meetings are being held in Britain. First is the Island Invasives conference in Dundee, and later in the month a symposium on the macroecology of alien species. Each meeting will give a unique perspective ...