Jacques de Satgé (PhD)
Position: PhD Candidate

Email: j.desatge@massey.ac.nz
Phone: 0064 (0)6 356 9099 ext: 43811

BSc: Applied Biology, Ecology & Evolution – University of Cape Town (UCT)
MSc: Biodiversity, Conservation & Restoration – University of Antwerp (UA)

 Publication: de Satgé J,Teichman K, Cristescu B. 2017.Competition and coexistence in a small carnivore guild. Oecologia
 Poster: de Satgé J. Birds in an urbanising world: the influence of urban degree and scale on Great Tit breeding success. Presented at: EOU Turku 2017. Aug 18-22; Turku, Finland
 Talk: de Satgé J. (2017): Urban areas as ecological traps: studying great tits Parus major along an urbanisation gradient.Natuurpunt Belgian Ornithology Day, Antwerp, Belgium
 Thesis: de Satgé, J. 2016. Urban areas as ecological traps: studying great tits Parus major along an urbanisation gradient. University of Antwerp.

Current:Massey University Doctoral Scholarship (2018-2021)
Previous: Erasmus Mundus Action 2 Scholarship (2014-2016), UCT Science Faculty Scholarship (2011)

Supervisors / Supervisions:
Dr Weihong Ji (primary supervisor)
Dr David Aguirre (co-supervisor)
Dr Aaron Harmer (co-supervisor)

About Me

I have long held an interest in conservation biology as it is a multi-disciplinary science which lies at the intersection of science, policy, human society and nature. My PhD work aside, my career highlights to date include my MSc work on the effects of urbanisation on birds throughout northern Belgium, community ecology research on small carnivore communities with the Cape Leopard Trust in Namaqualand, South Africa, and studying raptor behaviour as part of my BSc at the University of Cape Town. The most stimulating and simultaneously most challenging aspect of my work is understanding and mediating human-wildlife interactions. 


About my research

My research seeks to understand the relationships between an indicator species, the banded rail, and New Zealand’s mangrove forests. The project’s central research question is: “In the context of contemporary mangrove removal, how important are New Zealand’s mangrove forests as coastal habitats for a potential avian indicator species, the banded rail Gallirallus philippensis?

Banded rails are native to New Zealand and have been classified as ‘at risk’ by New Zealand’s Department of Conservation. They are part of a contingent of 48 birds species – including ten native species classified as ‘at risk’ or ‘threatened’ – which utilise the mangrove environments found north of 38°S in New Zealand’s North Island. New Zealand’s mangrove forests comprise a single indigenous mangrove species Avicennia marina var. australasica. Despite its native status and potential importance as a habitat for various local avifauna, residents and local community organisations have been practicing both legal and illegal mangrove removal in an attempt to reclaim or create sandflats, in order to improve the recreational value of bays and estuaries. Removal action has been a response to a century of steadily increasing mangrove expansion, itself fuelled by human land-use changes that create suitable mangrove habitat by increasing sedimentation and eutrophication of estuaries and changing estuary hydrodynamics. However, a distinct lack of scientific understanding regarding the importance of New Zealand’s mangrove habitat to coastal birds – even for species thought to extensively use mangrove environments, such as the banded rail (BR) Gallirallus philippensis assimilis – means that management decisions regarding mangrove removal are being made in the absence of key information pertaining to the potential effects of removal on New Zealand’s native avifauna. This unique context dictates the need for scientific research into the importance of mangrove habitats and the effects of their removal on a native bird the banded rail, a potential indicator species for wetland health and the presence of other coastal bird species. Answering these central questions is thus highly relevant to informing management practices around mangroves, their potential removal, and the avifauna they support.