Systematist positions / New Zealand

Marie-Claude Lariviere LariviereM at LANDCARE.CRI.NZ
Tue Dec 20 13:48:00 CST 1994

Manaaki-Whenua Landcare Research - Job advertisement
Auckland, New Zealand

Insect Systematists (two positions)

Landcare Research conducts biosystematics research on New Zealand's
land invertebrates using its extensive collections, databases,
library, and laboratory resources.

We seek insect systematists to join our biosystematics team based at
Mount Albert, Auckland. The appointees will have proven skills in
invertebrate systematics, including knowledge of the preparation of
taxonomic revisions. They should be conversant with the use of
cladistic methodologies, and the scope and application of molecular
techniques.  An appreciation of the role of systematics in
biodiversity research and species conservation would be an asset. The
major research focus will be on either Acari, Diptera or Lepidoptera.

The appointees will have a PhD in invertebrate systematics and
relevant experience in field work and database use. They will be
expected to work in a project-orientated team environment. In
addition to conducting systematics research, the appointees will have
responsibilities for collection development, routine identifications,
and related consultancies.

For further information about the positions contact Dr Ross Beever,
telephone (09) 849 3660, Fax (09) 849 7093, E-mail
BeeverR at to whom written applications should be sent
at Landcare Research, Private Bag 92170, Auckland.

Applications close on 10 February 1995.

Position Description

Position:  Scientist, insect systematist

Reporting to:  Team leader (Biosystematics), Biodiversity and
Conservation Division.

Location:  Mt Albert, Auckland


  To undertake systematic research on NZ land invertebrates with
emphasis on either Acari (mites), Diptera (flies) or Lepidoptera
(moths and butterflies).  The decision on taxonomic group will be
made in consultation with the appointee.

  To develop a collecting and curatorial programme to enhance the
coverage and accessibility of the chosen group in the New Zealand
Arthropod Collection (NZAC).

  To improve accessibility of systematic information through
enhancing library resources and databases.

  To enhance the relevance of systematic research  within Landcare
Research to biodiversity and conservation issues, and to ecosystem
processes and environmental problems.

  To develop commercial opportunities for systematic research skills
both in NZ and overseas.

The appointee will be expected to prepare both traditional
publications (scientific papers, Fauna of New Zealand contributions)
and newer information products such as CD-ROMs and PC-based keys.

Background information.

Landcare Research is New Zealand's foremost multidisciplinary
organisation specialising in sustainable management of vital land
resources. This includes conservation of biodiversity of the
country's flora, fauna and natural ecosystems.

The Institute is divided into 4 groups: Biodiversity and
Conservation, Weeds and Pests, Environmental Quality, and Land
Management. The Biodiversity and Conservation Group comprises 4
teams: Biosystematics (Team leader Ross Beever), Databases
Collections and Information Products (Euan Nicol), Conservation
Biology (Bruce Clarkson), and Ecosystem Processes and Applications
(Ian Payton).  While the appointment is to the Biosystematics Team,
the appointee will be expected to work with colleagues in other
teams, especially those in the Databases Collections and Information

Biodiversity and Conservation Division holds the largest land
invertebrate collection in the country (New Zealand Arthropod
Collection, NZAC), along with various databases and extensive library
resources.  The collection is run by Databases Collections and
Information Products team with curator Trevor Crosby.  Excellent
working relationships are maintained with the country's other
invertebrate collections including The Museum of New Zealand
(Wellington), Canterbury (Christchurch), Otago (Dunedin) Museums, the
Auckland Institute and Museum, and NZ Forest Research institute
(Rotorua), and the universities.
Scientists and senior technicians with invertebrate responsibilities
at Landcare Research, Auckland are:

 John Dugdale (Lepidoptera) - retires 1995
 Marie-Claude Lariviere (Auchenorrhyncha and Heteroptera)
 Jan Klimaszewski (Coleoptera)
 Jo Berry (Hymenoptera)
 Trevor Crosby (Freshwater invertebrates, forensic entomology)
 Wim Wouts (Nematoda)
 Rosa Henderson (Coccoidea)
 Grace Hall (Arachnida)
 Kate Senner (Freshwater invertebrates)
 Leonie Clunie (larval stages, Lepidoptera)

Funding for the Biosystematics Team comes primarily through contracts
with The Foundation for Research Science and Technology (FRST), but
the team actively seeks funding from other sources.

This position is funded from the "Strengthening core competencies"
allocation. It will enable the Invertebrate Systematics group to
re-establish a core competency in either Acari (mites) or Diptera
(flies), two groups that have no competencies elsewhere in New
Zealand, except for retired staff.

Acari are diverse (over 1200 species) and are important in primary
industries, including stored products, particularly horticulture and
weeds control; the high biodiversity of litter-dwellers indicates
they have a major role in litter breakdown, and the difficulty of
identification of adventive pest species is a bottleneck in border
control operations.

Diptera are diverse (over 2000 species), and forms our second largest
Order. While there are some groups important in primary industries,
the NZ Diptera fauna is extremely biodiverse and of potential use as
bio-indicators of site quality, of litter breakdown mechanisms, and
of bio-control effectiveness in IPM-based horticultural practices. At
least two groups are parasitic on other invertebrates, and one group
affects aspects of the tourist industry.
The major importance of Diptera, besides border control issues, is
the astounding biodiversity and the plethora of (by world-wide
standards) primitive, or aberrant, groups.

Both Orders are seen as important, and either will considerably
re-establish our previous competencies.

Depending on the applicants* suitability, the opportunity may be
taken to appoint a lepidopterist to replace John Dugdale.
Lepidoptera (ca. 1800 spp.) include groups with major impact on
horticulture and pastoral production in NZ; like Diptera, the fauna
is biodiverse, with many aberrant groups.  A large group is of
potential use as bioindicators of litter breakdown mechanisms. There
is proven potential for collaboration with HORT (Max Suckling,
Stephen Foster, Marion Harris, Libby Burgess), and Agresearch (Trevor
Jackson's group).

Person specifications

  a PhD in Zoology/ Entomology.
  proven skills in and knowledge of systematic research.
  including cladistic methodologies, and familiarity with
biogeographic theories.
  a thorough knowledge of one taxonomic group would be an asset.
  ability to apply molecular techniques to systematics research.
  practical experience of field work.
  familiarity with database development.
  ability to work as a team member.
  good planning skills.

Details of the appointee's specific research programme will depend on
his/her background and skills, and will be finalised after
consultation with colleagues.

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