Professor William George Lee
Research | Current
I have broad interests in mainly indigenous plants in natural settings and the factors influencing their form and function.
The main questions I have explored over recent years have been
- How do plants cope with being eaten by birds and mammals and what evolutionary responses are possible in different environments?
- Can we predict the spread and impact of invasive species?
- Are there assembly rules for plant communities and how do biotic and abiotic factors influence the composition and trait profile of plants in different environments?
- How do we measure biodiversity and conservation performance to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of management to maintain the persistence of biodiversity?
- Are bryophytes and pteridophytes drivers or passengers in plant communities?
- What processes during the Neogene and Quaternary have determined the composition and characteristics of our modern biota?
I welcome enquiries from students about potential research projects, especially if you want to spend some time in the far south of New Zealand. I am based in Dunedin but have involvement in research projects throughout New Zealand.
Areas of expertise
Biodiversity, Biosecurity and Conservation
Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)
- Reichgelt, T., Lee, W. G., Lusk, C. H., & Kennedy, E. M. (2017). Changes in leaf physiognomy of New Zealand woody assemblages in response to Neogene environmental cooling. Journal of Biogeography, 44 (5), 1160-1171. 10.1111/jbi.12980
- Daigneault, A. J., Eppink, F. V., & Lee, W. G. (2017). A national riparian restoration programme in New Zealand: Is it value for money?. Journal of Environmental Management, 187, 166-177. 10.1016/j.jenvman.2016.11.013
- Tanentzap, A. J., & Lee, W. G. (2017). Evolutionary conservatism explains increasing relatedness of plant communities along a flooding gradient. The New phytologist, 213 (2), 634-644. 10.1111/nph.14167
- Brandt, A. J., Tanentzap, A. J., Leopold, D. R., Heenan, P. B., Fukami, T., & Lee, W. G. (2016). Precipitation alters the strength of evolutionary priority effects in forest community assembly of pteridophytes and angiosperms. Journal of Ecology, 104 (6), 1673-1681. 10.1111/1365-2745.12640
- Brock, J. M. R., Perry, G. L. W., Lee, W. G., & Burns, B. R. (2016). Tree fern ecology in New Zealand: A model for southern temperate rainforests. Forest Ecology and Management, 375, 112-126. 10.1016/j.foreco.2016.05.030
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Bruce Burns, James Brock, George Perry
- Lee, D. E., Lee, W. G., Jordan, G. J., & Barreda, V. D. (2016). The Cenozoic history of New Zealand temperate rainforests: comparisons with southern Australia and South America. New Zealand Journal of Botany, 54 (2), 100-127. 10.1080/0028825X.2016.1144623
- Tanentzap, A. J., Brandt, A. J., Smissen, R. D., Heenan, P. B., Fukami, T., & Lee, W. G. (2015). When do plant radiations influence community assembly? The importance of historical contingency in the race for niche space. The New phytologist, 207 (2), 468-479. 10.1111/nph.13362
- Leopold, D. R., Tanentzap, A. J., Lee, W. G., Heenan, P. B., & Fukami, T. (2015). Evolutionary priority effects in New Zealand alpine plants across environmental gradients. Journal of Biogeography, 42 (4), 729-737. 10.1111/jbi.12441