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Dr Candida Savage

Contact DetailsCandidaSavage

Office: 310 Castle Street, room 153
Tel: 64 3 479 8324
Email: candida.savage@otago.ac.nz

Academic Qualifications

MSc (Cape Town)
PhD (Stockholm)

Research Interests

  • Marine ecology
  • Coastal and Estuarine ecosystems
  • Nutrient cycling
  • Palaeoecology

I am a marine ecologist with a focus on human impacts in coastal and estuarine ecosystems. My research group investigates drivers of change in marine ecosystems and combines field and laboratory studies to understand how multiple stressors affect food web structure and biogeochemical cycling in coastal ecosystems.

Courses

  • ECOL 211 Ecology of Communities and Ecosystems
  • ECOL 212 Ecological Applications
  • MARI 301 Marine Ecology
  • MARI 419 Field Marine Science
  • MARI 426 Marine Aquaculture
  • MARI 430 Marine Pollution

Research Projects

Land-coast coupling

Investigating linkages between land-use changes (in particular intensification of farming practices) in South Island, New Zealand, and ecological and biogeochemical shifts in recipient estuaries. We have constructed nitrogen loading models for the South Island to estimate nutrient flux to estuaries based on different land use practices in the catchment. Stable isotope ratios in an opportunistic seaweed species reflected these different nitrogen loading regimes, providing a good indicator of local nutrient sources. We also documented shifts in growth rates of select bivalves and fishes and recorded changes in organic matter sources that support secondary consumers in the estuaries with greater nitrogen loads. To groundtruth the field surveys and transplant experiments, we have conducted laboratory experiments to quantify nutrient uptake and tissue turnover rates in select organisms. This research was supported by a Ministry of Fisheries Biodiversity Research grant.

Nutrient cycling

We currently investigate spatial and temporal variation in rates of benthic denitrification in estuaries subject to different nitrogen loading regimes. This research aims to quantify nitrogen removal rates in pristine as well as nutrient enriched estuaries in South Island, New Zealand, and to investigate physicochemical and biological factors that correlate with coupled and direct denitrification. This research is supported by PBRF money made available to C. Savage. Our research team also conducts work on nutrient fluxes and oxygen dynamics in subtidal sediments impacted by high organic matter loading from mussel farm deposits. In particular, we have a project on the potential of a bioturbator (sea cucumber) for the remediation of mussel impacted sediment. This work forms a component of a larger integrated aquaculture project with NIWA.

Palaeoecology

In order to understand the influence of humans against a background of natural variability in marine ecosystems, we have employed palaeoecological techniques to reconstruct historical changes in pristine and impacted coastal systems. In Fiordland, we use biomarkers (e.g., stable isotopes, pigments, lignin, BIT index) in water column samples and sedimentary records to reconstruct long-term change in productivity and organic matter sources to the fjords. Part of this research involves identifying suitable biomarkers as proxies of refractory terrestrial organic matter [link to Smith et al. 2010 paper] and marine organic matter. Research is also underway to understand mechanisms that affect these proxies (particularly phytoplankton pigments) as they settle out of the water column and are incorporated into the sedimentary record. This research has been supported by University of Otago Research Grants and PBRF funds.

Coral reef ecosystems

My research has recently expanded to the tropical Pacific, where I am interested in how multiple stressors affect coral reef ecosystems. In particular, I am interested in how alterations in physicochemical factors (temperature, salinity, light environment), individually and combined, affect carbon cycling and implications of this for climate change.

Postgraduate Students

Josie Crawshaw - Thesis Title (PhD):Sinks of agriculturally derived nitrogen in coastal lagoons.

Ben Robertson - Thesis Title (PhD):Development of a cost-effective trophic state assessment protocol for shallow, temperate, tidal lagoon estuaries.

Sam Thomas - Thesis Title (PhD): The effects of multiple stressors on ecosystem functioning across a changing turbididity gradient in South Island estuaries

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Publications

Savage, C., Thrush, S. F., Lohrer, A. M., & Hewitt, J. E. (2012). Ecosystem services transcend boundaries: Estuaries provide resource subsidies and influence functional diversity in coastal benthic communities. PLoS ONE, 7(8), e42708. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0042708

MacTavish, T., Stenton-Dozey, J., Vopel, K., & Savage, C. (2012). Deposit-feeding sea cucumbers enhance mineralization and nutrient cycling in organically-enriched coastal sediments. PLoS ONE, 7(11), e50031. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0050031

Savage, C., Leavitt, P. R., & Elmgren, R. (2010). Effects of land use, urbanization, and climate variability on coastal eutrophication in the Baltic Sea. Limnology & Oceanography, 55(3), 1033-1046. doi: 10.4319/lo.2010.55.3.1033

Smith, R. W., Bianchi, T. S., & Savage, C. (2010). Comparison of lignin phenols and branched/isoprenoid tetraethers (BIT index) as indices of terrestrial organic matter in Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand. Organic Geochemistry, 41(3), 281-290. doi: 10.1016/j.orggeochem.2009.10.009

Lill, A. W. T., Closs, G. P., Schallenberg, M., & Savage, C. (2012). Impact of berm breaching on hyperbenthic macroinvertebrate communities in intermittently closed estuaries. Estuaries & Coasts, 35(1), 155-168. doi: 10.1007/s12237-011-9436-0

Chapter in Book - Research

Savage, C. (2009). Marine sources of Omega-3: Is their future in aquaculture? In T. K. Nakamura (Ed.), Aquaculture research progress. (pp. 169-197). New York: Nova Science.

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Journal - Research Article

Lill, A. W. T., Closs, G. P., Schallenberg, M., & Savage, C. (2012). Impact of berm breaching on hyperbenthic macroinvertebrate communities in intermittently closed estuaries. Estuaries & Coasts, 35(1), 155-168. doi: 10.1007/s12237-011-9436-0

Dufour, C., Probert, P. K., & Savage, C. (2012). Macrofaunal colonisation of stranded Durvillaea antarctica on a southern New Zealand exposed sandy beach. New Zealand Journal of Marine & Freshwater Research, 46(3), 369-383. doi: 10.1080/00288330.2012.676557

MacTavish, T., Stenton-Dozey, J., Vopel, K., & Savage, C. (2012). Deposit-feeding sea cucumbers enhance mineralization and nutrient cycling in organically-enriched coastal sediments. PLoS ONE, 7(11), e50031. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0050031

Savage, C., Thrush, S. F., Lohrer, A. M., & Hewitt, J. E. (2012). Ecosystem services transcend boundaries: Estuaries provide resource subsidies and influence functional diversity in coastal benthic communities. PLoS ONE, 7(8), e42708. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0042708

Bierschenk, A. M., Savage, C., Townsend, C. R., & Matthaei, C. D. (2012). Intensity of land use in the catchment influences ecosystem functioning along a freshwater-marine continuum. Ecosystems, 15(4), 637-651. doi: 10.1007/s10021-012-9536-0

Lill, A. W. T., Closs, G. P., Savage, C., & Schallenberg, M. (2011). Annual secondary production of two estuarine mysid species (Mysidacea: Mysidae) inhabiting an intermittently closed estuary, south-eastern New Zealand. Marine & Freshwater Research, 62(7), 823-834. doi: 10.1071/mf10274

Schüller, S. E., & Savage, C. (2011). Spatial distribution of diatom and pigment sedimentary records in surface sediments in Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Marine & Freshwater Research, 45(4), 591-608. doi: 10.1080/00288330.2011.561865

Savage, C., Leavitt, P. R., & Elmgren, R. (2010). Effects of land use, urbanization, and climate variability on coastal eutrophication in the Baltic Sea. Limnology & Oceanography, 55(3), 1033-1046. doi: 10.4319/lo.2010.55.3.1033

Smith, R. W., Bianchi, T. S., & Savage, C. (2010). Comparison of lignin phenols and branched/isoprenoid tetraethers (BIT index) as indices of terrestrial organic matter in Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand. Organic Geochemistry, 41(3), 281-290. doi: 10.1016/j.orggeochem.2009.10.009

Hammond, M. P., & Savage, C. (2009). Use of regenerated scales and scale marginal increments as indicators of recent dietary history in fish. Estuaries & Coasts, 32(2), 340-349. doi: 10.1007/s12237-009-9134-3

Koenig, S., Savage, C., & Kim, J. P. (2009). Two novel non-destructive biomarkers to assess PAH-induced oxidative stress and porphyrinogenic effects in crabs. Biomarkers, 14(7), 452-464. doi: 10.1080/13547500903123026

Heggie, K., & Savage, C. (2009). Nitrogen yields from New Zealand coastal catchments to receiving estuaries. New Zealand Journal of Marine & Freshwater Research, 43(5), 1039-1052. doi: 10.1080/00288330.2009.9626527

Koenig, S., Savage, C., & Kim, J. P. (2008). Non-destructive assessment of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) exposure by fluorimetric analysis of crab urine. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 56(12), 2003-2008. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2008.08.010

Taylor, A. G., & Savage, C. (2006). Fatty acid composition of New Zealand green-lipped mussels, Perna canaliculus: Implications for harvesting for n-3 extracts. Aquaculture, 261, 430-439.

Castillo, L. E., Martínez, E., Ruepert, C., Savage, C., Gilek, M., Pinnock, M., & Solis, E. (2006). Water quality and macroinvertebrate community response following pesticide applications in a banana plantation, Limon, Costa Rica. Science of the Total Environment, 367, 418-432.

Savage, C., Leavitt, P. R., & Elmgren, R. (2004). Distribution and retention of effluent nitrogen in surface sediments of a coastal bay. Limnology & Oceanography, 49(5), 1503-1511.

Savage, C., & Elmgren, R. (2004). Macroalgal (Fucus vesiculosus) δ15N values trace decrease in sewage influence. Ecological Applications, 14(2), 517-526.

Bianchi, T. S., Engelhaupt, E., McKee, B. A., Miles, S., Elmgren, R., Hajdu, S., Savage, C., & Baskaran, M. (2002). Do sediments from coastal sites accurately reflect time trends in water column phytoplankton? A test from Himmerfjärden Bay (Baltic Sea proper). Limnology & Oceanography, 47(5), 1537-1544.

More publications...