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Trends in Birds New Zealand funded research – what are people studying and what are the priorities for the future?

Graeme Taylor1

17 Patna Street, Ngaio, Wellington 6035

Birds New Zealand, in partnership with their sponsors, fund a significant amount of research on New Zealand birds through small grants handed out annually, mainly to student projects. These include the Birds New Zealand Research fund, as well as the David Medway Scholarship and the Projects Assistance Fund. These science projects are assessed and vetted by the Birds New Zealand Scientific Committee before being approved for funding by the Birds New Zealand Council. The research projects have largely been driven by the interests of the applicants and their supervisors, with some guidance from Birds New Zealand about preferred projects. This talk will assess the general themes and topics covered in the past five years that were supported by Birds New Zealand. What types of birds are being studied, where and by what research groups? What are the broad topic headings that are covered in these projects? How does this research assist conservation of these species or improve our ability to monitor populations or understand the pressures birds are facing? Birds New Zealand has also prepared a list of suggested research themes that highlight gaps in our knowledge of New Zealand birds. These will be discussed in the hope that applicants will use these to help guide what types of study are needed to better understand our bird species and the habitats they live in.