Professor Joseph Waas

Professor (Biological Sciences)

Qualifications: BSc (Hons) Trent PhD Cant

Research Interests

Research activities related to the behaviour and ecology of birds, fish and mammals including studies of:
animal communication;
the biology of aggression;
animal welfare;
social factors influencing reproductive physiology;
conservation biology;
social recognition systems; and
the ontogeny of social behaviour.

Research Supervised


  • Lowe, Gemma (in progress). The use of infrared thermography for early detection in New Zealand dairy cattle and goats.
  • Farnworth, Bridgette (in progress). Exploring rodent risk perception in the context of pest control: how do direct and indirect predation cues, singly or in combination, affect prey responses within ecologically sensitive habitats.
  • Hempstead, Melissa (in progress). Pain assessment of responses of goat kids to husbandry practices.
  • Bradley, David (2012). Evolutionary significance and conservation implications of vocal dialects in North Island Kōkako (Callaeas wilsoni).
  • Valderrama, Sandra (2012). Dialect formation in fragmented populations of the endangered North Island Kōkako (Callaeas wilsoni).
  • Verbeek, Else (2011). Animal welfare objective measures research programme.

MSc (Research)

  • Kelly, Catherine (2016). House mouse (Mus musculus) use of vertical space and impact on bird nesting success.
  • Topp, Theresa (2016). Automated measurement of disease and pain in New Zealand group-housed calves.
  • Hill, Carly (in progress). New Zealand mustelids and the ecomorphometrics of mandibles.


  • Le Roux, Daniel (2010). Monitoring long-tailed bat (Chalinolobus tuberculatus) activity and investigating the effect of aircraft noise on bat behaviour in a modified ecosystem.
  • Hawke, Michelle (2010). The effects of early handling on play behaviour and social interactions in dairy calves.
  • Guadarrama, Veronica (2009). The effect of a Pavlovian conditioning paradigm on stress and development of play-related behaviour in early and normally weaned rats.
  • Ninnes, Calum (2008). Behavioural endocrinology of breeding Adelie penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae).
  • Tulloch, Brydget (2007). The effect of relatedness, social contact, and sex on observational learning in rats (Rattus norvegicus).
  • Wallace, Jess (2006). Comparison of vertical flight activity of short-tailed bats within podocarp and beech forests, New Zealand.

BSc Hons

  • Lowe, Gemma (2016). Infrared thermography for early disease detection in dairy calves.
  • Hempstead, Melissa (2015). Behavioural responses of goat kids to disbudding - no pain, no gain?
  • Moffat, Bridgette (2015). Converting predation cues into conservation management tools: the effect of light on Mus musculus behaviour.
  • Brooks, Lydia (2013). Characterising the orexigenic section of oxytocin receptor antagonist L-368,899 in the context of stimulating sweet tastant intake and reducing taste aversion.

Recent Publications

  • Farnworth, B., Innes, J., Kelly, C., Littler, R., & Waas, J. R. (2018). Photons and foraging: Artificial light at night generates avoidance behaviour in male, but not female, New Zealand weta. Environmental Pollution, 236, 82-90. doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2018.01.039

  • Wu, N. C., & Waas, J. R. (2017). No evidence for across-population scent discrimination of cloacal gland secretions in Tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus). Journal of Herpetology, 51(2), 178-185. doi:10.1670/15-062

  • Hempstead, M. N., Waas, J. R., Stewart, M., Cave, V. M., & Sutherland, M. A. (2017). Behavioural response of dairy goat kids to cautery disbudding. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 194, 42-47. doi:10.1016/j.applanim.2017.04.001

  • Farnworth, B., Innes, J., Waas, J. R., & Kelly, C. (2016). Foraging and photons: Do weta find artificial light aversive?. In The Society for Ecological Restoration Australasia (SERA) & the New Zealand Ecological Society (NZES) Joint Conference. Conference held at Claudelands Events Centre, Hamilton, New Zealand.

View All research publications by Joseph Waas

Contact Details

Room: R.2.21
Phone: +64 7 838 4286