Assoc. Prof. Christopher Lusk

Associate Professor

Qualifications: PhD in Botany, Auckland

Personal Website:

Research Interests

Chris Lusk is a plant ecologist, working mainly on forest dynamics and plant physiological ecology. He is interested in trying to reconcile New Zealand's strange flora and vegetation with ecological theory, and in understanding the implications of introduced mammals and climate change for NZ vegetation. He is currently supervising students working on the evolution of divaricate plants, fire ecology of a restiad bog, dynamics of southern beech (Nothofagaceae) forests, belowground foodwebs, and the impact of invasive mammals on seed production of large-fruited New Zealand trees.

Research Supervised


  • Kpodonu, Theodore (2016). Temporal variability in the water quality of a deep temperate oligotrophic lake.
  • Maurin, Kevin (in progress). Dating the evolution of the divaricate growth form in the New Zealand flora.
  • Rai, Bibishan (in progress).  Restoring the structure, stability and functioning of soil food webs in urban forests in New Zealand.

MSc (Research)

  • FitzPatrick, Dominic (2015). Tree species sorting along temperature gradients: How do frost-resistant traits influence competitive ability in the forest environment?
  • Wilson, Clara (2020). The influence of fire on vegetation dynamics of a New Zealand restiad bog.


  • Dickinson, Margaret (in progress).

Teaching Commitments

Recent Publications

  • Lusk, C. H., Wiser, S. K., & Laughlin, D. C. (2020). Macroclimate and topography interact to influence the abundance of divaricate plants in New Zealand. Frontiers in Plant Science, 11, 13 pages. doi:10.3389/fpls.2020.00507

  • Fritz, R., & Lusk, C. H. (2020). Determinants of leaf area index and understorey light availability in New Zealand old-growth forests. Journal of Biogeography. doi:10.1111/jbi.13781

  • Lusk, C. (2019). Journal Annual Prize 2018. New Zealand Journal of Botany, 57(1), 1. doi:10.1080/0028825X.2019.1577744

  • Whyte, H. D., & Lusk, C. H. (2019). Woody debris in treefall gaps shelters palatable plant species from deer browsing, in an old-growth temperate forest. Forest Ecology and Management, 448, 198-207. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2019.06.010

View All research publications by Christopher Lusk

Contact Details

Room: D.1.08A
Phone: +64 7 838 4205