Matt Rayner Position title: Curator of Land Vertebrates Section: Natural Sciences Email: Contact Matt About Matt I am a child of Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland), having been born and raised beside and on the Waitemata Harbour but also travelling widely with my research that is focused in the Pacific. As Curator of Land Vertebrates I provide expertise to grow a biological collection with specimens as old as 1856. I also specialise in public science communication of the fauna of New Zealand and the wider Pacific including birds, reptiles and mammals. My research speciality sits within the fields of avian behaviour, conservation ecology and evolution but has a strong cross-disciplinary focus combining tracking technologies, behavioural datasets and cellular analyses of field and museum specimens to understand biological change over time. Research interests and projects Active study sites range from the New Zealand mainland, offshore islands (Mokohinau Islands, Mercury Islands, Little Barrier Island and Codfish Island) and international field collaborations in Australia and the tropical Pacific (Fiji, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea). A range of national and international projects occupy my time including: investigating the ecology, dive physiology and migration of New Zealand seabirds studying the effects of ecosystem change on New Zealand bird communities through isotopic analysis of contemporary and museum specimens researching the phylogeography and taxonomy of tube nosed seabirds, the Procellariiformes studying the biology of "undiscovered" or poorly known endangered species. I work closely with national and international colleagues to achieve research and conservation success. Projects have and are supporting a range of students with interests in avian behaviour, ecology and conservation and I would welcome those considering or conducting such research to make contact to share ideas. Selected research publications Rayner, M., Carlile, N., Priddel, D., Bretagnolle, V., Miller, M., Phillips, Ranjard, L., Bury, D. & Torres, L. (in press) Wintering in the sun: niche partitioning by three nonbreeding Pterodroma petrel species in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Marine Ecology Progress Series. Ismar, S., Gaskin, C., Fitzgerald, N., Taylor, G., Tennyson A. & Rayner, M. (2015). Evaluating on-land capture methods for monitoring a recently rediscovered seabird, the New Zealand Storm-Petrel Fregetta maoriana. Marine Ornithology, 43: 255–258. Rayner, M., Gaskin, C., Fitzgerald, N., Landers, T., Scofield, P., Ismar, S., Tennyson, A. & Taylor, G. (2015). At-sea radio telemetry to understand endangered seabird biology: a study of the New Zealand storm petrel Fregetta maoriana;. IBIS, 4: 754-66. Dunphy, B., Taylor, G., Landers, T., Sagar, R., Chilvers, B., Ranjard, L., & Rayner, M. (2015). Comparative seabird diving physiology: first measures of haematological parameters and oxygen stores in three New Zealand Procellariiformes. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 523: 187-198. Sagar R., Dunphy B. J., Hunt K., Nagakawa K. & Rayner M. (2015). Preparing for translocation: feeding frequency, meal size and chick growth in mottled petrel, Pterodroma inexpectata. Emu, 115: 137-145. See Matt's full list of published research Explore the collection Read articles by Matt. In praise of humble bones The Land Vertebrate collection at Auckland Museum has more than three thousand bones from mammals, reptiles and birds. But why are bones important? White kiwi, French poodles, and the problem of a world in pieces It's night on Te Hauturu o Toi, Little Barrier Island, and a half moon glows softly behind the clouds. A movement off to our left alerts us and we dive into the brush and extract our prize - a baby North Island brown kiwi (Apteryx mantelli). Tale of the giant moa One of our most remarkable exhibits - a three-metre tall female giant moa reconstruction - has turned 100 years old. Built in 1913, she tells a unique (but ultimately tragic) evolutionary tale. Hauraki Gulf shearwaters: Globe-trotting on underwater wings These small seabirds are one of the most amazingly engineered creatures on the face of the planet, capable of movement above and below the seas surface that we can only dream of. Sea snakes and kraits It's a common misconception that New Zealand has no snakes, but it's not the truth. Marine snakes, or sea snakes, are seen regularly in the waters around northern New Zealand. The huia In a country known globally for its unique bird diversity and the tragic loss of its birdlife following human arrival, no species resonates more in the stories of the formation of our nation than the huia. Thomas Cheeseman's window into Auckland's biological past These small seabirds are one of the most amazingly engineered creatures on the face of the planet, capable of movement above and below the seas surface that we can only dream of.