Moa’s Ark Research provides ecological research, advice and monitoring to protect and restore native biodiversity. We work on projects throughout New Zealand and internationally.

Our background in ecological research and conservation enables us to provide a wide range of consultancy services. Moa’s Ark Research focuses on delivering rigorous science to meet clients’ needs. Services are provided to a meticulous standard and on time.

Moa’s Ark Research was founded in 2013 by Dr Debra Wotton. The company is committed to maintaining the highest levels of scientific independence and integrity.

Debra Wotton – Director & Principal Ecologist

Phone: 021 258 0045

Debra has a PhD in Ecology from University of Canterbury, where she investigated the impacts of seed disperser loss and invasive mammal seed predation and seedling herbivory on native tree regeneration.

Debra worked as a scientist at Department of Conservation, before being awarded a FRST NZ Science and Technology Postdoctoral Fellowship based at Landcare Research. Her postdoctoral research investigated the causes of rarity in New Zealand native plants.

Debra is also a Research Associate at the University of Canterbury.

Originally from Wellington, Debra completed her BSc in Botany and Ecology and MSc in Ecology at Victoria University, where she investigated the role of geckos in dispersing native seeds. She worked as a Biosecurity Science Advisor for central government, before heading to University of Canterbury in 2004 to do a PhD with Professor Dave Kelly. Her PhD research found that losing our native kereru (New Zealand pigeon) would dramatically reduce regeneration of large-seeded forest trees, which depend on kereru for seed dispersal.

Debra worked as a scientist for the Department of Conservation on a range of topics including weed ecology, ecosystem services, estimating kereru home ranges using satellite transmitters, and developing gecko monitoring tools. In 2010 Debra was awarded a FRST NZ Science and Technology Postdoctoral Fellowship based at Landcare Research, investigating the causes of rarity in New Zealand native plants. In 2013 Debra founded Moa’s Ark Research.

Debra has been an Adjunct Fellow (Research Associate) at University of Canterbury since 2014. Her research interests include limits to plant recruitment, rare ecosystems, mammal herbivory and seed predation, plant-animal mutualisms (seed dispersal and pollination), and rare and threatened plants.

Debra has been a member of the NZ Ecological Society (NZES) since 2000. She is the current President of NZES, was Newsletter Editor from 2010–2014 and served as a Councillor from 2013–2017. She is also a member of the NZ Plant Conservation Network and Wellington Botanical Society.