Toiroa Whaanga-Davies

MSc (Otago). Extracting value from the invasive seaweed species Undaria pinnatifida. The focus of Toiroa’s masters is to use an insect species to breakdown the invasive seaweed, Undaria pinnatifida. Toiroa aims to investigate whether the insect species can use the uneconomic parts of Undaria, and look in to the efficiency of trophic transfer.

Lucy Coyle

PhD (Otago). A close-up look at a local fishery in a time of climate change; status of red rock lobster on the Otago coastline. Lucy’s PhD aims to provide up to date information on the state of Jasus edwardsii (kōura, red rock lobster) in Otago, New Zealand, relative to historical fishing, current population dynamics, and future environmental conditions. The red rock lobster fishery supports New Zealand’s most valuable inshore fishery, significant to commercial, customary, and recreational fishers. The Otago fishery is unique, with commercial fishers legally able to harvest individuals at a smaller minimum legal size limit to the rest of New Zealand. Lucy hopes to develop an understanding of changes in access to fishers of red rock lobster on the Otago coastline, investigate local puerulus settlement patterns, and provide some insight to the future of the local red rock lobster population regarding the marine heatwaves that frequent southern New Zealand.

Namrata Chand

PhD (Otago). Ecosystem of red algal communities in the Otago Harbour. Nam’s research will focus on an endemic red seaweed called Adamsiella chauvinii. Despite being found around multiple places around the harbour, and in New Zealand, not much is known about it in terms of its habitat, biomass, and nutrient physiology. Nam’s PhD project will work to shine light on these aspects, and to scale it up to understand ecosystem functioning of soft sediment subtidal red algal communities. Through her research and knowledge, Nam hopes to contribute information to the large pool of “unknowns” about the ocean, and make its value more recognisable in the eyes of our people.

Will Pinfold

MSc (Otago) Quantifying an invasive seaweed (Undaria Pinnatifida) using underwater videography. Will plans to develop a more efficient method of calculating the biomass of different species within seaweed assemblages. This will involve constructing an underwater filming setup to allow the filming of underwater transects as opposed to counting individuals on site. The aim is to allow studies to carry out a much larger number of transects in the same time period as freedivers will not be limited by nitrogen build up. In the process, he also hopes to quantify the invasion of Undaria pinnatifida in sites around Otago as well as look at the regeneration of both natives and Undaria once Undaria has been harvested.


Finn Ryder

PhD (Otago) Drivers of population dynamics and fishery status of Blackfoot pāua (Halitosis iris).

Louise Bennett-Jones

PhD (Otago). Pāua within the East Otago Taiāpure: assessment, enhancement, management.

Tim Howarth

MSc (Otago). Undaria pinnatifida‘s threat in the changing ocean.

Gaby Keeler-May

PhD (Otago). Optimal sampling methods and control strategies for Undaria pinnatifida in New Zealand harbours.

Duong Lê

PhD (Otago). Giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera, a case study in New Zealand: Its vulnerability and adaptation strategy.

Lisa van Halderen

MSc (Otago). Investigating rāhui as a fisheries management tool.

Becky Kerr

Honours (Otago). Biofiltration by macroalgae as an ecosystem service in the Waikouaiti River Estuary.

Anna Kluibenschedl

PhD (Otago). Future Ocean and New Zealand Coralline Algae: Biological and Ecological Responses Under Elevated pCO2

Aless Smith

MSc (Otago) 2019. How robust is data gathered by citizen scientists for monitoring intertidal habitats?

Hang Thi Thuy Nguyen

PhD (Otago) 2019. The ecophysiology of coralline algae in Southern New Zealand.

Terina Raureti

MPhEd (Otago) 2019. Kia mārama ai te ihi, te wehi o Mukukai: The influence of swimming on whānau engagement with water

Chanel Phillips

PhD (Otago) 2019. A Journey to Belonging: Explorations of Māori Perspectives of Water Safety.

Justine Camp

PhD (Otago) 2019. Te Tautarinui o Matariki; A whānau health compass.

Simone Jarrett

MSc (Otago) 2018. Causes of coralline algae bleaching within the East Otago Taiāpure.

Lucy Coyle

MSc (Otago) 2018. Using Esri Story Map ArcGIS to Support Community-led Natural Resource Management.

Jack Hall

MSc (Otago) 2018. Bacterial production rates on macro-algal surfaces

Brenton Twist

MSc 2015 (Otago). The ecology of the scallop (Pecten novaezealandiae) in Te Whaka ā Te Wera (Paterson Inlet) Rakiura (Stewart Island).
PhD (Auckland/Otago/NIWA) 2018. The Corallines of southern New Zealand

Isla Twigg

Hons (Otago) 2017. Oxidative stress in baterioplankton within kelp forest canopies.
PhD (Otago). The bacterial ecology of kelp forests in southern New Zealand.

Levi McPherson

BAppSc Hons (Otago) 2017. Key Habitat of the New Zealand Black Flounder and Sand Flounder within Estuaries.

Mason Court

PG DipSCi (Otago) 2017. Influence of potting on Blue cod behavior.

Eugene Leahy

MSc (Otago) 2017. Expansion and Harvestability of Undaria pinnatifida throughout North Otago CPAs.

Nicole Foote

MSc (Otago) 2017. Eutrophication Environmental and biological characteristics of East Otago estuaries along a gradient of marine connectivity.

Matt Desmond

BSc Honours (Otago) 2011. Impacts of sewage outfalls on local fishery health in the East Otago Taiāpure.
PhD (Otago) 2017. Kelp forest response to light limitation.

Lana Young

PGDipSci (Otago) 2016. Characteristics of Blackfoot Pāua (Haliotis iris) juvenile habitat.

Blair Thomson

Hons (Otago) 2016. Temperature and UV light affect the activity of marine cell-free extracellular enzymes.

Tiffany Stephens

PhD (Otago) 2016. Nitrogen physiology of giant kelp in Otago and Stewart Island.

Ngahuia Mita

MSc (Otago) 2016. Hauteruruku ki Puketeraki-Connecting to Te Ao Takaroa.

Emma Kearney

MSc (Otago) 2016. Environmental and biological factors associated with the recruitment and abundance of the scallop (Pecten novaezelandiae) in Te Whaka ā Te Wera (Paterson Inlet) Rakiura (Stewart Island).

Bridget Hardy

PGDipSci (Otago) 2016. Urea in coastal seas, estuaries and rivers.

Pamela Fernandez

PhD (Waikato) 2016. Impacts of elevated CO2 on the physiology of the giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera.

Georgia Bell

MSc (Otago) 2016.  Dynamics of fecal indicators in estuarine environments after a rainfall event.

Cohen Stewart

MSc (Otago) 2015. Integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) trials in Big Glory Bay, Rakiura (Stewart Island).

Rocio Suarez Jimenez

PhD (Otago) 2015. Ecology of Undaria pinnatifida

Jordan Housiaux

MSc (Otago) 2015.  Exploring the murky world of the sevengill shark (Notorynchus cepedianus) in Southern New Zealand

Tom Gillespie

Hons (Otago) 2014.  Shell lesions of Haliotis iris.

Tasman Gillies

MSc (Otago) 2014. Pāua reseeding at East Otago taiāpure. A comparison of traditional vs. aquaculture approaches.

Peri Subritzky

MSc (Otago) 2013. Identifying critical nursery habitat for pāua juveniles in locations around New Zealand.

Tom McCowan

PGDipSci (Otago) 2011. Feeding rates by greenlipped mussels Perna canaliculus.
PhD, (Otago) 2013. Genetic tools to improve reseeding success of wild pāua fisheries.

Gaya Gnanalingam

MSc (Otago) 2013. Reproductive output of pāua (Haliotis iris).
PhD (Old Dominion University, USA) 2018. The Importance of Keeping the Big Ones: Harvest Slot Limits and Marine Protected Areas for the Management of the Caribbean Marine Protected Areas for the Management of the Caribbean Spiny Lobster

Rory Kyle

MSc (Otago) 2013. Roles of predatory starfish (Astrostole scabra) in structuring marine communities exposed to different degrees of water motion.

Gayle Somerville

MSc (Otago) 2013. Exploring harvest regulations of New Zealand abalone (Haliotis iris) via population modelling.

Sorrel O’Connel-Milne

BAppSci Hons (Otago) 2013. Sustainability of a traditional harvest method for Karengo.

Chris Cornwall

PhD (Otago) 2013. Susceptibility of near-shore temperate rocky reefs to ocean acidification.

Rory Kyle

MSc (Otago) 2012. Roles of predatory starfish (Astrostole scabra) in structuring marine communities exposed to different degrees of water motion.

Rebecca James

MSc (Otago) 2012. Effects of ocean acidification on macroalgal communities.

Sam Temperton

PGDipSci (Otago) 2011. Competition between juvenile pāua and other invertebrates.

Daniel Pritchard

PhD (Otago) 2011. The ecophysiology of the deep-water macroalga Anotrichium crinitum (Kützing) Baldock.

Caitlin Chew

BAppSci Honours (Otago) 2011. The effects of sedimentation on the growth and survival of juvenile Haliotis iris and their living habitat (crustose coralline algae).

Ani Kainamu

MSc (Otago) 2010. The fishery trend of the Littleneck Clam, Austrovenus stutchburyi, the filtering capacity, and phytoplankton flux within an East Otago Inlet.

Derek Richards

MSc (Otago) 2009. Subtidal rocky reef communities of the East Otago Taiāpure.

Robert Win

MSc (Otago) 2009. Kelp forests: Crucial habitat for fish and invertebrates on the East Otago Coast.


Chris Hepburn, Marine Sciences Department, University of Otago
Office: 310 Castle Street, Room 144  |  Tel: 64 3 479 7462  |  Email: