New Zealand trends in animal behaviour research

To identify trends in research on pure ethology (fundamental issues in animal behaviour) in New Zealand, we combined manual and database searches of the five ethological journals with the greatest impact factors (Animal Behaviour, Behavioral Ecology, Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, Ethology and Behaviour) published from 1937 to (and including) 2007. We counted all articles giving a New Zealand address for the first-listed and/or reprint author. Our analyses showed (1) a total of 131 articles in the five journals, with Animal Behaviour, the journal of preference, containing nearly half of the articles collected; (2) a sharp and steady increase in articles published per year; (3) all four of Tinbergen’s questions received attention, with mechanistic and functional studies being more common than studies of development and evolutionary history; (4) a recent resurgence of mechanistic research, representing 67% of all studies in the period from 2003–07; (5) a balance in research focusing on the proximate and ultimate causes of behaviour, shifting towards proximate research in the early 1990s; (6) many New Zealand institutions published papers in the five journals, although universities were the main contributors; (7) only a small subset of the research (28.8%) was done with overseas collaboration; (8) a total of 139 authors were involved in the research reviewed (when all authors for each paper were considered without taking address into account); (9) a maturation of the sampled research by the early 1990s (i.e., when "descriptive" and "explanatory" papers were supplemented with "synthesis" papers); and (10) a large number of investigations (55%) used birds as the study subject. Ethology in New Zealand, as represented in the five leading animal behaviour journals, was found to be a diverse, dynamic and growing field.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Wass, J. R. & Guadarrama-Maillot, V. (2008). New Zealand trends in animal behaviour research. New Zealand Journal of Zoology, 35(4), 305- 321.
R S N Z Publishing