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Marleen Baling

School of Environmental and Animal Sciences
Location: 115-1040 or 113-3003

Professional memberships

Society for Research on Amphibians and Reptiles New Zealand
Ornithological Society of New Zealand
New Zealand Ecological Society
New Zealand Federation of Graduate Women
IUCN Reintroduction Specialist Group
IUCN Skink Specialist Group


I conducted my MSc thesis on the habitat use, behaviour and population genetics of the chevron skink (Oligosoma homalonotum) at the University of Auckland, under the supervision of Graham Ussher, Dianne Brunton and Dianne Gleeson. Recently I completed a PhD investigating the function of colour variation of the shore skinks (Oligosoma smithi) at Massey University (Auckland), under supervision of James Dale, Dianne Brunton and Devi Stuart-Fox. In between acquiring these two degrees I worked as a project coordinator for the Pacific Invasives Initiative, research technician at Massey University, consultant ecologist/ herpetologist for Auckland Council and various consultant companies, and a research associate at the University of Auckland investigating the genetic relationship between fairy terns (Sternula nereis spp) in New Zealand, Australia and New Caledonia. I have also volunteered my time (as an advisor and for fieldwork) for various research and community projects including avian and reptile translocations in New Zealand, Malaysia, Australia, Mexico, and Galapagos Islands. Currently, I am a lecturer in the Bachelor of Applied Sciences.

Research Interests:

Reptile ecology, animal colouration and wildlife translocation. My current projects are on:

  • Effect of avian predators on the colour variation and survival of prey populations, particularly when that prey population is translocated to a new habitat.
  • Effect of diet supplementation on vitamin D synthesis of lizards
  • Home-range and distribution of an invasive lizard in New Zealand
  • Tatahi skink (Oligosoma sp) survey in the Auckland Region
  • Disease-screening of native lizards using molecular techniques


Course coordinator for:

  • NSCI 6730 Research Methods
  • NSCI 6739 Behavioural Ecology
  • NSCI 6748 Molecular Genetics and Evolution

Other courses I teach:

  • NSCI 7104 Restoration Ecology
  • NSCI 7105 Advanced Field Surveying of New Zealand Biota
  • NSCI 7732 Conservation Science


Baling, M., & Wairepo, J. (2020). Rapid assessment of eradication success of an invasive lizard. World Congress of Herpetology 9, Dunedin.

van Winkel, D., Baling, M., & Hitchmough, R. (2018). Reptiles and Amphibians of New Zealand: A Field Guide. Auckland, New Zealand, Auckland Uni Press (Vol. 1).

Baling, M. (2017). Functional significance of highly variable colouration in the shore skink (Oligosoma smithi). Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand.

Baling, M., Stuart-Fox, D., & Dale, J. (2017). Camouflage in heterogeneous environments: an experimental test of the effect of prey colour and pattern complexity. 17th biennial conference of the Society for Research on Amphibians and Reptiles in New Zealand, Whangarei Heads.

Baling, M., Stuart-Fox, D., Brunton, D.H., & Dale, J. (2016). Habitat suitability for conservation translocation: the importance of considering camouflage in cryptic species. Biological Conservation (Vol. 203).

Baling, M. (2015). Woodworthia maculata (common gecko). Leucism. Herpetological Review (Vol. 41).

Parker, K.A., Adams, L., Baling, M., Kemp, L., Kuchling, G., Lloyd, B., Ruffell, J., Stringer, I., Watts, C., & Dickens, M.J. (2015). Practical guidelines for planning and implementing fauna translocations. Armstrong, D.G., Hayward, M.W., Moro, D. & Seddon, P.J. Melbourne, Australia (Vol. 1).

Baling, M., van Winkel, D., Rixon, M., Ruffell, J., Ji, W., & Ussher, G. (2013). A review of reptile research and conservation management on Tiritiri Matangi Island. New Zealand Journal of Ecology (Vol. 37).

Baling, M., & Nagle, B. (2013). Island biosecurity training Fiji, June 2010. Conservation International Pacific Islands Program, Apia, Samoa.

Baling, M., & Nagle, B. (2013). Island biosecurity training Samoa, March 2010. Conservation International Pacific Islands Program, Apia, Samoa.

Baling, M., Gartrell, B., Ji, W., & Brunton, D.H. (2013). Detection of Salmonella during translocation of two endemic New Zealand lizard species within the Hauraki Gulf. New Zealand Journal of Zoology (Vol. 40).

Barre, N., Baling, M., Boutellier, A., Bachy, P., Chartendrault, V., & Spaggiari, J. (2012). Survey of fairy tern (Sterna nereis exsul) in New Caledonia. Marine Ornithology (Vol. 40).

van Winkel, D., Baling, M., Barry, M., Ji, W., & Brunton, D. (2010). Translocation of Duvaucel's geckos to Tiritiri Matangi and Motuora Islands, Hauraki Gulf, as part of island ecological restoration initiatives. Soorae, P.S. Abu Dhabi.

Baling, M., Wedding, C., Barry, M., Ji, W., & Brunton, D.H. (2010). Re-introduction of shore skinks to offshore islands in the Auckland region, New Zealand. Soorae, P.S. Abu Dhabi.

Baling, M., Jeffries, D., & Brunton, D.H. (2009). A survey of fairy tern (Sterna nereis) breeding colonies in the Southern Lagoon, New Caledonia. Emu (Vol. 109).

Baling, M. (2008). Species at risk: Conservation of the fairy tern (Sternula nereis spp.) via subspecies level management. Endangered Species Update (Vol. 25).

Baling, M., Brunton, D.H., & Jeffries, D. (2008). Marine and coastal bird survey of islands in the Southern Lagoon, New Caledonia. Notornis (Vol. 55).

Baling, M. (2003). The habitat use, behaviour and population genetic structure of the chevron skink (Oligosoma homalonotum) from Great Barrier Island. The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.