Inbreeding depression is known to affect a variety of life history traits, in particular those concerned with reproduction.
Dr Helen Taylor is currently assessing sperm health in five populations of South Island robins with various translocation histories. Her aim is to establish the impact that the population bottlenecks and subsequent inbreeding experienced by the birds in these populations is having on male reproductive fitness in this species.
Helen measures sperm motility (swimming speed) in the field in her mobile laboratory and then brings sperm samples back to the lab at Otago to assess aspects of sperm morphology, and the degree of DNA fragmentation within sperm.
Helen Taylor's "180 sec of Science" video piece, winner of the People’s Choice and Future Leader awards by the Royal Society of New Zealand Early Career Researchers (RSNZ ECR) Forum.