Department of Pest-Management and Conservation

Prepare to help protect the planet's natural and managed ecosystems.

Lincoln introduced the first ecology course in Aotearoa New Zealand and we continue to pioneer advances in this subject.

Land-based applied ecology, in all of its forms, is the main focus of this department.

Studying with the Department of Pest-Management and Conservation means using molecular, behavioural and community approaches and tools to work on ecosystem ecology, conservation and plant pathology. We offer exceptional laboratory and field facilities, as well as industry access to support our research and teaching efforts. 

The department is currently undertaking research projects throughout New Zealand on local university farms, from Banks Peninsula and the West Coast to the Chatham Islands, and with extensive national and international collaboration.  

We have many close working links with agencies and research institutes. The CoRE Bio-Protection Research Centre is based on campus. We also work closely with neighbouring Crown Research Institutes, including Landcare Research, Plant and Food, the Department of Conservation, Zero Invasive Predators, Predator Free 2050 as well as various iwi, industries and other universities, and many other areas where students can get involved and make a difference.  

Key themes for the department

The topic of guardianship, whether in a conservation or crop protection sense, is growing in importance. Current growth areas are in vertebrate pest management, conservation ecology, restoration ecology and plant protection, particularly given the ‘Predator Free 2050’ and ‘Biosecurity 2025’ initiatives. 

Key themes explored by the department include: 

  • Animal behaviour
  • Conservation and biodiversity
  • Ecological restoration
  • Evolutionary biology 
  • Fire ecology
  • Molecular ecology 
  • Plant microbiology
  • Plant pathology 
  • Remediation of degraded and contaminated land
  • Soil ecology
  • Sustainable agriculture and ecosystem services
  • Wildlife and pest management.

Study programmes

You will come into contact with the Department of Pest-Management and Conservation if you follow a Bachelor of Science programme, particularly the Conservation and Ecology major and the Environmental Science major.

Staff from the department also contribute to courses within the Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology, the Bachelor of Agricultural Science and the Bachelor of Environmental Management.

A large number of our students progress to postgraduate degrees including the Master of Pest Management or the Master of International Nature Conservation within the department, while many others graduate and follow successful careers in the natural or managed environmental sector. 

All academic staff supervise postgraduate students at Master of Science and PhD level, supporting postgraduate groups of domestic and overseas students.

Current research projects include a programme on novel approaches of vertebrate pest control, including the development of humane and non-persistent products for the control of multiple pest species (such as possums, rodents and mustelids).

Other research involves using modern molecular techniques to provide new insights into the resilience of native species to invasive plants and animals and investigating interactions between pathogens, hosts and their environment with a view to developing sustainable control methods. 

We are also undertaking projects on biodiversity and the provision of ecosystem services, such as clean water and healthy soils, conservation of birds and insects, and processes that structure biological communities, like fire and fragmentation.

Research centres

We work closely with the Lincoln University campus-based Zero Invasive Predators and Bioprotection Aotearoa.


Associate Professor Adrian Paterson - Head of Department

Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences

+64 3 423 0750