Senior Lecturer in Zoology
Auckland, New Zealand
Tāmaki Paenga Hira
The Auckland War Memorial Museum
Auckland, New Zealand
Dr Daniel Thomas
Room 50.03, Building 50 | Gate 4
Massey University Oteha Rohe campus
Private Bag 102 904 | Auckland 0745 | New Zealand
Research themes and projects
Multiple block methods for shape analysis
A morphospace for shapes of objects that are built from multiple parts.
Current student projects
Selected research outputs
Ancient crested penguin constrains timing of recruitment into seabird hotspot
The newly-discovered, three-million-year old dawn crested penguin Eudyptes atatu provides a crucial connection. Crested penguins, and perhaps other types of seabird, arrived in New Zealand in deep time and have been living in the region for millions of years.
Re-evaluating New Zealand’s endemic Pliocene penguin genus
The Te Reinga Falls fossil indicates that a penguin approximately the size of the extant tawaki (Fiordland crested penguin, Eudyptes pachyrhynchus) was present in New Zealand during the middle of the Pliocene (Waipipian Stage, 3.7–3.0 Ma), but a more complete specimen would be needed to confidently resolve the evolutionary relationships between this fossil and other penguins.
An R package for video tracking and analysing animal movement
To meet the need for an efficient and cost‐effective video tracking and analysis tool, we have developed the pathtrackr package for the open‐source programming environment r. The pathtrackr package allows for an automated and consolidated workflow, from video input to statistical output (with addition of the open‐source FFmpeg application), of an animal's movement
Mitogenomes uncover extinct penguin taxa and reveal island formation as a key driver of speciation
Mitogenomic analyses of all penguin species, and the discovery of two new extinct penguin taxa, highlight the importance of island formation in the diversification of penguins, as well as the extent to which anthropogenic extinctions have affected island-endemic taxa across the Southern Hemisphere's isolated archipelagos.
Hidden carotenoids in the powder down of herons
Here we describe a rare form of “hidden” plumage coloration, whereby several species of heron (Pelecaniformes: Ardeidae) have powder down tracts liberally coated in yellow pigments that are hidden from view underneath contour feathers. We show using Raman spectroscopy and high-performance liquid chromatography that the yellow coloration is due to carotenoid pigmentation.
Frequency dispersion reveals chromophore diversity and colour-tuning mechanism in parrot feathers
Resonance Raman spectra from a red region of a yellow-naped amazon Amazona auropalliata tail feather show frequency dispersion, a phenomenon that is related to the presence of a range of molecular conformations (and multiple chromophores) in the pigment, whereas spectra from a yellow region on the same feather do not show the same evidence for multiple chromophores.
The Glen Murray fossil penguin from the North Island of New Zealand extends the geographic range of Kairuku
The Glen Murray penguin is most likely a distinct species that should be assigned to the genus Kairuku, although we refer it to Kairuku sp. pending the discovery of more material. Reappraisal of local stratigraphy indicates that the Glen Murray fossil penguin is from the Dunphail Siltstone member of the Glen Massey Formation and can be assigned to the lower Whaingaroan stage (34.6–29.8 Ma).
3D scanning and printing skeletal tissues for anatomy education
Detailed anatomical models can be produced with consumer-level 3D scanning and printing systems. 3D replication techniques are significant advances for anatomical education as they allow practitioners to more easily introduce diverse or numerous specimens into classrooms. Here we present a methodology for producing anatomical models in-house, with the chondrocranium cartilage from a spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias) and the skeleton of a cane toad (Rhinella marina) as case studies.
Loved to pieces: Toward the sustainable management of the Waitemata Harbour and Hauraki Gulf
Here, we review the natural and social context of the Waitematā Harbour and Hauraki Gulf, and summarise some of the pressures the region faces. Last, we present three case studies highlighting current participatory initiatives aimed at ensuring more sustainable management of the region’s marine ecosystems.