Applied Network Ecology and Island Conservation

PD Dr. Christopher Kaiser-Bunbury

Human impacts on ecological systems and processes are pervasive. The underlying rationale of my research is the need for insight into natural ecological resilience and evolutionary processes to assess ecosystem responses to change.

Three aspects of this rationale drive my research:

1. Knowledge on communities and species’ interactions allows insights into the complex response of natural systems to change

2. Humans are at the centre of the change, and their actions define them as key players in any ecosystem

3. It is the ultimate responsibility of ecologists to consider and communicate the consequences of their findings to assist with applied biodiversity conservation and sustainable coexistence.

With this in mind, I use community ecology theory and tools derived from a network approach to address urgent ecosystem ecology and conservation questions. A central part of my work aims to identify the drivers of interactions in mutualistic networks, which determine biodiversity organisation and persistence. I am equally interested in quantifying detailed species interactions and identifying their role in shaping ecosystem processes. Most of my research is at the interface of empirical and theoretical ecology and applied community conservation.

nepenthes perveilli
Picture: Chrsitopher Kaiser-Bunbury
The endemic pitcher plant Nepenthes perveilli is found mainly on granitic inselbergs, which harbour remnants of endemic plant communities on the main inner islands of the Seychelles archipelago.
Bernica inselberg
Picture: Christopher Kaier-Bunbury
View across BeView across Bernica inselberg towards Morne Seychellois National Park. Note the sparse pockets of dwarf forest among the inselberg boulders in the foreground.

For the last 12 years I have had the privilege to pursue my research in perfectly-suited natural laboratories—first in Mauritius, then in the Seychelles (Biodiversity Hotspots in the Western Indian Ocean), together with highly engaged and committed collaborators, colleagues, students, and policy makers. With my colleagues and partners from local NGOs (SIF, PCA), parastatal (SNPA) and governmental organisations (UNDP/GEF, MoE), local (UniSey) and international universities (ETH Zurich, University of Zurich, DICE, CSIC-UIB, Aarhus University, CCT-CONICET) and research institutes (Senckenberg BiK-F), I work towards combining the results of my research with achieving goals and objectives outlined in institutional management plants, national research and conservation agendas (e.g. SSDS) and multilateral environmental agreements (e.g. CBD).

Training of local and international research staff in monitoring of plant-pollinator interactions.

I am pursuing three main research avenues:

  • Experimentally assessing the impact of ecological restoration on ecosystem integrity. Here I use plant-pollinator networks to quantify the community response of habitat restoration on pollination function.
  • Developing and implementing research and application strategies to use network theory in applied biodiversity conservation. This multi-facetted work encompasses various aspects of network ecology (including dynamic and structural equation modelling), conservation biology, applied restoration, and hard- and software development for evidence-based conservation.
  • Researching the ecology and evolution of palm forest community and thereby providing the foundation for adaptive management. Together with the Seychelles Islands Foundation, I work to understand the biotic and abiotic dynamics in the ancient coco de mer dominated palm forest of the Vallée de Mai, a natural UNESCO site in the Seychelles. The research is identified by the need for sustainable management of the site and the long-term mitigation of threats such as invasive alien species, poaching and habitat degradation.

The Vallée de Mai UNESCO palm forest is dominated by coco de mer palms (Lodoicea maldivica), which have up to 10m long petioles and giant leaf fronds, which catch nutrients and water, and funnel it down to the base of the trunk. Read more about the coco de mer’s ability to perform ‘parental care’ (also highlighted in New Scientist).

Coco de Mer forest

Coco de mer inhabitants – endemic geckos and snails – and a threat to the ecosystem in form of the introduced yellow crazy ant Anoplolepis gracilipes. See our latest work on the invasion of the Vallée de Mai forest by yellow crazy ants here.

coco de mer inhabitants
Picture: Christopher Kaiser-Bunbury
The Vallée de Mai UNESCO palm forest is dominated by coco de mer palms.

Islands are valuable study systems because:

(1) they are often relatively simple compared to mainland systems;

(2) islands have been drivers of ecological and evolutionary theories for centuries; and

(3) oceanic islands have been disproportionately affected by forest exploitation, human-induced habitat destruction and invasive alien species invasions which have devastated natural island ecosystems.

Complex interaction studies addressing conservation-related ecological questions at the community level are therefore ideally suited to such comparatively simple natural systems.

For more information on our work, please check out my ResearchGate or Google Scholar profiles.

Morgan E, Määttänen K, Kaiser-Bunbury CN, Buser A, Fleischer-Dogley F & Kettle C.: Development of twelve polymorphic microsatellite loci for the endangered Seychelles palm Lodoicea maldivica (Arecaceae). Applications in Plant Sciences. In Press.

Jump to: 2021 | 2017 | 2015 | 2014 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009
Number of items: 27.

2021

CaraDonna, Paul J. and Burkle, Laura A. and Schwarz, Benjamin and Resasco, Julian and Knight, Tiffany M. and Benadi, Gita and Blüthgen, Nico and Dormann, Carsten F. and Fang, Qiang and Fründ, Jochen and Gauzens, Benoit and Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. and Winfree, Rachael and Vázquez, Diego P. (2021):
Seeing through the static: the temporal dimension of plant-animal mutualistic interactions.
In: Ecology letters, 24 (1), pp. 149-161. ISSN 1461-0248,
DOI: 10.1111/ele.13623,
[Article]

2017

Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. and Mougal, James and Whittington, Andrew E. and Valentin, Terence and Gabriel, Ronny and Olesen, Jens M. and Blüthgen, Nico (2017):
Ecosystem restoration strengthens pollination network resilience and function.
In: Nature, 542 (7640), pp. 223-227. ISSN 1476-4687,
[Article]

2015

Van Dinther, M. and Bunbury, N. and Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. (2015):
Trial of herbicide control methods for sisal (Agave sisalana) in the arid island environment of Aldabra Atoll, Seychelles.
In: Conservation evidence, 12, pp. 14-18. ISSN 1758-2067,
[Article]

Edwards, Peter J. and Fleischer-Dogley, Frauke and Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. (2015):
The nutrient economy of Lodoicea maldivica, a monodominant palm producing the world's largest seed.
In: The New phytologist, 206 (3), pp. 990-999. ISSN 1469-8137,
[Article]

Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. and Fleischer-Dogley, F. and Dogley, D. and Bunbury, N. (2015):
Scientist's responsibilities towards evidence-based conservation in a small island developing state.
In: Journal of applied ecology, 52 (1), pp. 7-11. ISSN 1365-2664,
[Article]

Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. and Blüthgen, Nico (2015):
Integrating network ecology with applied conservation: a synthesis and guide to implementation.
In: AoB PLANTS, 7, pp. plv076. ISSN 2041-2851,
[Article]

Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. and Mougal, James and Valentin, Terence and Gabriel, Ronny and Blüthgen, Nico (2015):
Herbicide application as a habitat restoration tool: impact on native island plant communities.
In: Applied Vegetation Science, 18 (4), pp. 650-660. ISSN 1654-109X,
[Article]

2014

Carvalheiro, Luísa Gigante and Biesmeijer, Jacobus Christiaan and Benadi, Gita and Fründ, Jochen and Stang, Martina and Bartomeus, Ignasi and Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. and Baude, Mathilde and Gomes, Sofia I F. and Merckx, Vincent and Baldock, Katherine C. R. and Bennett, Andrew T. D. and Boada, Ruth and Bommarco, Riccardo and Cartar, Ralph and Chacoff, Natacha and Dänhardt, Juliana and Dicks, Lynn V. and Dormann, Carsten F. and Ekroos, Johan and Henson, Kate S. E. and Holzschuh, Andrea and Junker, Robert R. and Lopezaraiza-Mikel, Martha and Memmott, Jane and Montero-Castaño, Ana and Nelson, Isabel L. and Petanidou, Theodora and Power, Eileen F. and Rundlöf, Maj and Smith, Henrik G. and Stout, Jane C. and Temitope, Kehinde and Tscharntke, Teja and Tscheulin, Thomas and Vilà, Montserrat and Kunin, William E. (2014):
The potential for indirect effects between co-flowering plants via shared pollinators depends on resource abundance, accessibility and relatedness.
In: Ecology letters, 17 (11), pp. 1389-99. ISSN 1461-0248,
[Article]

Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. and Cuthbert, H. and Fox, R. and Birch, D. and Bunbury, N. (2014):
Invasion of yellow crazy ant Anoplolepis gracilipes in a Seychelles UNESCO palm forest.
In: Neobiota, (22), pp. 43-57. [Article]

Kueffer, C. and Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. (2014):
Reconciling conflicting perspectives for biodiversity conservation in the Anthropocene.
In: Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, (14), pp. 131-137. [Article]

Finger, Aline and Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. and Kettle, Chris J. and Valentin, Terence and Ghazoul, Jaboury (2014):
Genetic connectivity of the moth pollinated tree Glionnetia sericea in a highly fragmented habitat.
In: PloS one, 9 (10), pp. e111111. ISSN 1932-6203,
[Article]

Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. and Vázquez, D. and Stang, M. and Ghazoul, J. (2014):
Determinants of the microstructure of plant-pollinator networks.
In: Ecology, 95, pp. 3314-3324. ISSN 0012-9658,
[Article]

2012

Schleuning, Matthias and Fründ, Jochen and Klein, Alexandra-Maria and Abrahamczyk, Stefan and Alarcón, Ruben and Albrecht, Matthias and Andersson, Georg K. S. and Bazarian, Simone and Böhning-Gaese, Katrin and Bommarco, Riccardo and Dalsgaard, Bo and Dehling, D. Matthias and Gotlieb, Ariella and Hagen, Melanie and Hickler, Thomas and Holzschuh, Andrea and Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. and Kreft, Holger and Morris, Rebecca J. and Sandel, Brody and Sutherland, William J. and Svenning, Jens-Christian and Tscharntke, Teja and Watts, Stella and Weiner, Christiane N. and Werner, Michael and Williams, Neal M. and Winqvist, Camilla and Dormann, Carsten F. and Blüthgen, Nico (2012):
Specialization of mutualistic interaction networks decreases toward tropical latitudes.
In: Current biology : CB, 22 (20), pp. 1925-31. ISSN 1879-0445,
[Article]

Finger, A. and Kettle, C. J. and Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. and Valentin, T. and Mougal, J. and Ghazoul, J. (2012):
Forest fragmentation genetics in a formerly widespread island endemic tree: Vateriopsis seychellarum (Dipterocarpaceae).
In: Molecular Ecology, 21 (10), pp. 2369-82. ISSN 1365-294X,
[Article]

Hagen, M. and Kissling, W. D. and Rasmussen, C. and de Aguiar, M. A. M. and Brown, L. and Carstensen, D. W. and Alves-dos-Santos, I. and Dupont, Y. L. and Edwards, F. K. and Genini, J. and Guimarães, P. R. and Jenkins, G. B. and Jordano, P. and Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. and Ledger, M. and Maia, K. P. and Darcie Marquitti, F. M. and McLaughlin, Ó. and Morellato, L. P. C. and O'Gorman, E. J. and Troejelsgaard, K. and Tylianakis, J. M. and Morais Vidal, M. and Woodward, G. and Olesen, J. M. (2012):
Biodiversity, species interactions and ecological networks in a fragmented world.
In: Advances in Ecological Research, (46), pp. 89-210. [Article]

Finger, A. and Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. and Kettle, C. (2012):
Developments of polymorphic microsatellite markers of the Seychelles endemic tree Glionnetia sericea (Rubiaceae).
In: Conservation Genetics Resources, (4), pp. 239-241. [Article]

2011

Finger, A. and Kettle, C. J. and Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. and Valentin, T. and Doudee, D. and Matatiken, D. and Ghazoul, J. (2011):
Back from the brink: potential for genetic rescue in a critically endangered tree.
In: Molecular Ecology, 20 (18), pp. 3773-84. ISSN 1365-294X,
[Article]

Fleischer-Dogley, F. and Kettle, C. and Edwards, P. and Ghazoul, J. and Määttänen, K. and Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. (2011):
Morphological and genetic differentiation in populations of the dispersal-limited Coco de Mer (Lodoicea maldivica): implications for management and conservation.
In: Diversity & Distribution, (17), pp. 235-243. [Article]

Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. and Valentin, T. and Mougal, J. and Matatiken, D. and Ghazoul, J. (2011):
The tolerance of island plant-pollinator networks to alien plants.
In: Journal of Ecology, (99), pp. 201-213. ISSN 0022-0477,
[Article]

Noble, T. and Bunbury, N. and Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. and Bell, D. J. (2011):
Ecology and co-existence of two endemic day gecko (Phelsuma) species in Seychelles native palm forest.
In: Journal of Zoology, (283), pp. 73-80. [Article]

2010

Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. and Muff, Stefanie and Memmott, Jane and Müller, Christine B. and Caflisch, Amedeo (2010):
The robustness of pollination networks to the loss of species and interactions: a quantitative approach incorporating pollinator behaviour.
In: Ecology letters, 13 (4), pp. 442-52. ISSN 1461-0248,
[Article]

Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. and Traveset, A. and Hansen, D. M. (2010):
Conservation and restoration of plant-animal mutualisms on oceanic islands.
In: Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, (12), pp. 131-143. [Article]

Finger, A. and Ghazoul, J. and Todd, M. and Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. and Kettle, C. (2010):
Development of thirteen polymorphic microsatellite markers for the Seychelles endagered and endemic jellyfish tree Medusagyne oppositifolia (Medusagynaceae).
In: Conservation Genetics Resources, (2), pp. 173-175. [Article]

Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. and Valentin, T. and Mougal, J. and Matatiken, D. and Ghazoul, J. (2010):
Plants and pollinators on inselbergs: how does plant invasion affect mutualistic interactions?
In: Kapisen : journal of the Plant Conservation Action Group Seychelles, (8), pp. 4-5. [Article]

Rist, L. and Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. and Fleischer-Dogley, F. and Edwards, P. and Bunbury, N. and Ghazoul, J. (2010):
Sustainable harvesting of Coco de Mer, Lodoicea maldivica, in the Vallée de Mai, Seychelles.
In: Forest Ecology and Management, (260), pp. 2224-2231. [Article]

2009

Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. and Müller, Christine B. (2009):
Indirect interactions between invasive and native plants via pollinators.
In: Die Naturwissenschaften, 96 (3), pp. 339-46. ISSN 1432-1904,
[Article]

Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. and Memmott, J. and Müller, C. B. (2009):
Community structure of pollination webs of Mauritian heathland habitats.
In: Perspectives in Plant ecology, Evolution and Systematics, (11), [Article]

This list was generated on Fri Apr 9 03:43:04 2021 CEST.
Jump to: 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003
Number of items: 12.

2009

Kaiser, Christopher N. and Hansen, D. M. and Müller, C. B. (2009):
Exotic pest insects: another perspective on coffee and conservations.
In: Oryx, (42), pp. 143-146. [Article]

Kaiser, Christopher N. and Hansen, D. M. and Müller, C. B. (2009):
Habitat structure affects reproductive success of the rare endemic tree Syzygium mamillatarum (Myrtaceae) in restored and unrestored sites in Mauritius.
In: Biotropica, (40), [Article]

2008

Hansen, Dennis M. and Kaiser, Christopher N. and Müller, Christine B. (2008):
Seed dispersal and establishment of endangered plants on Oceanic Islands: the Janzen-Connell model, and the use of ecological analogues.
In: PloS one, 3 (5), pp. e2111. ISSN 1932-6203,
[Article]

Kueffer, C. and Matatiken, D. and Beaver, K. and Fleischer-Dogley, F. and Kaiser, Christopher N. (2008):
Seychelles Plant Conservation Research Workshop 2007.
In: Kapisen: journal of the Plant Conservation Action Group Seychelles, (8), pp. 4-5. [Article]

2007

Kueffer, C. and Matatiken, D. and Beaver, K. and Fleischer-Dogley, F. and Kaiser, Christopher N. (2007):
Seychelles Plant Conservation Research Workshop 2007.
In: Birdwatch, 63, pp. 3-5. [Article]

Kaiser, Christopher N. and Müller, C. B. (2007):
Island invaders : the role of introduced mutualists in pollination in Mauritius.
In: The Annual Meeting of the Swiss Zoological, Botanical and Mycological Societies,
ETH Zürich, [Conference or Workshop Item]

Kueffer, C. and Beaver, K. and Kaiser, Christopher N. (eds.) (2007):
Seychelles Plant Conservation Research Agenda 2008-2015.
Victoria, Mahé, Seychelles, Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Transport and Plant Conservation Action Group, [Book]

2006

Kaiser, Christopher N. (2006):
Habitat restoration in Mauritius : adding pollinators to the equation.
In: Kapisen, (6), pp. 6-8. [Article]

2005

Atkinson, R. and Sevathian, J. C. and Kaiser, Christopher N. and Hansen, D. M. (2005):
A Guide to the plants in Mauritius.
Vacoas, Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, [Book]

Gopall, J. and Ah-King, J. and Atkinson, R. and Sevathian, J. C. and Hansen, D. M. and Kaiser, Christopher N. (2005):
The native plants and animals of Mauritius.
Vacoas, Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, [Book]

2004

Kaiser, Christopher N. and Hansen, D. M. and Müller, C. B. (2004):
Effects of habitat restoration on native trees : a pollination case study in Mauritius.
In: Symposium of the Zürich-Basel Plant Science Centre,
ETH Zürich, [Conference or Workshop Item]

2003

Atkinson, R. and Sevathian, J. C. and Virahsawmy, M. and Ah-King, J. and Clayton, J. and Kaiser, Christopher N. and Hansen, D. M. and Cranwell, S. and Mauremootoo, J. (2003):
A field guide to the common trees & shrubs of upland forest in Mauritius.
Vacoas, Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, [Book]

This list was generated on Thu Apr 8 19:33:07 2021 CEST.

Kaiser, Christopher N.: Functional integrity of plant-pollinator communities in restored habitats in Mauritius. PhD Thesis. Institute of Environmental Sciences, Univ. of Zürich, Switzerland, 2006

Kaiser, Christopher N.: Influence of wind and pollen gathering by bees on reproductive success of the tropical grass Brachiaria platynota K. Schum. (Poaceae: Paniceae) at Kakamega Forest Nature Reseerve, Kenya. Diploma Thesis, Zoological Research Institute and Museum Koenig, Univ. of Bonn, 2002