Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Dr Chris Hepburn

Director, Aquaculture and Fisheries Programme

Contact DetailsChrisHepburn

Office: 310 Castle Street, room 144
Tel: 64 3 479 7462
Cell: 021 279 7462
Email: chris.hepburn@otago.ac.nz

Academic Qualifications

PhD, University of Otago

Research Interests

  • Customary and ecosystem-based fisheries management
  • Fisheries restoration
  • Integrated Aquaculture
  • Impacts of elevated CO2 on coastal ecosystems
  • Ecology and physiology of macroalgae
  • Invasion by exotic marine organisms
  • Macroalgal/invertebrate interactions
  • Taiāpure Fish-tagging Program

Courses

  • MARI 112: Global Marine Systems
  • MARI 301: Marine Ecology
  • AQFI 251-351: Principles of Aquaculture (Coordinator)
  • AQFI 252-352: Fisheries Ecology
  • AQFI 301: Field Methods for Assessment of Fisheries and Aquatic Habitats (Coordinator)
  • AQFI 421: Advanced Aquaculture and Fisheries

Research Projects

Customary and ecosystem-based fisheries management

We provide ecological information to complement local and customary knowledge to enable community-based management of coastal fisheries. We work closely with managers of customary fishery areas (e.g. mātaitai and taiāpure) that have been established to allow Māori communities to exercise kaitiakitanga (guardianship) over fisheries and habitats. This work is conducted within the research group Te Tiaki Mahinga Kai (www.mahingakai.org.nz).

Customary and ecosystem-based fisheries management

Fisheries restoration

We are developing restoration plans for fisheries within customary areas using local resources (e.g. aquaculture facilities) to restore local fisheries that have become depleted due to overfishing and habitat loss. Using Haliotis iris (pāua, abalone) brood stock from the areas being reseeded will allow us to maintain the genetic integrity of local pāua stocks. Research to better understand the ecology of juvenile pāua (key predators, competitors), alongside state-of-the art techniques to trace the success of reseeding will help hone reseeding programmes to maximise success.

Fisheries restoration

Integrated Aquaculture

Technology that integrates aquaculture production systems to increase efficiency and reduce environmental impacts will be key in ensuring sustainable growth of aquaculture required to meet ever increasing global demand for marine products. Our research aims to reduce the environmental footprint of aquaculture by growing macroalgae (e.g. kelp) in conjunction with other production systems to reduce pollution while providing a high value crop.

Integrated Aquaculture

Impacts of elevated CO2 on coastal ecosystems

We use an ecosystem-level approach to predict what changes will occur to complex and variable coastal ecosystems and related fisheries as a result of elevated CO2 (Ocean Acidification). This research uses carefully designed and controlled lab-based experiments alongside quantification the contribution of different groups of species of in coastal ecosystems of today to provide better predictions of likely changes in coastal seas as CO2 concentrations increase.

ImpactsofelevatedCO2

Ecology and physiology of macroalgae

Macroalgae (seaweeds) are the major primary producers of coastal seas and provide food and habitat that supports coastal food webs and fisheries. Our research focuses on key factors that control primary productivity by macroalgae such as the availability of light and nutrients. Past projects have included investigations into the physiology of deepwater macroalgae and work to determine how water motion influences primary productivity.

Ecology and physiology of macroalgae

Invasion by exotic marine organisms

This research focuses on the invasive kelp Undaria pinnatifida has spread through international shipping from its native range in North East Asia to be found in temperate locations worldwide. We conduct work on the physiology and ecology of this species and its impact on New Zealand’s native macroalgal assemblages.

Invasion by exotic marine organisms

Macroalgal/invertebrate interactions

Waste produced by animals that live on macroalgal surfaces (epifauna) may be an important source of nitrogen that supports macroalgal growth. We use a range of methods to trace nitrogen from epifauna into macroalgae to determine the contribution of recycled nitrogen from epifauna to coastal primary productivity.

Macroalgalinvertebrate interactions

Postgraduate Students

Georgia Bell - Thesis Title (MSc):Ecology of fecal indicators in estuarine waters and shellfish.

Matthew Desmond - Thesis Title (PhD):Kelp forest response to light limitation in southern New Zealand

Jack Hall - Thesis Title (MSc): Bacterial production rates on macro-algal surfaces

Jordan Housiaux - Thesis Title (MSc):Exploring the murky world of the sevengill shark, Notorynchus cepedianus, in southern New Zealand

Simone Jarrett - Thesis Title (MSc): The occurance of coralline algae bleaching

Anna Kluibenschedl - Thesis Title (PhD): New Zealand Coralline Algae: effects of pH and temperature

Eugene Leahy - Thesis Title (MSc):Will harvesting reduce dispersal of Undaria pinnatifida and aid regrowth of native macroalgae?

Hang Thi Thuy Nguyen - Thesis Title (PhD): The ecophysiology of coralline algae in Southern New Zealand

María Valdés Hernández - Thesis Title (PhD): Effect of mussel farms on Hector’s dolphin, Cephalorhynchus hectori hectori, at Banks Peninsula, New Zealand: an ecosystem perspective

Lisa van Halderen - Thesis Title (MSc): Investigating rāhui in a fisheries management context and the methods of re-opening a temporary closure.

Lana Young - Thesis Title (MSc): Identifying and Facilitating Habitat for Juvenile Pāua Settlement

^ Top of page

Publications

Hepburn, C. D., Pritchard, D. W., Cornwall, C. E., McLeod, R. J., Beardall, J., Raven, J. A., & Hurd, C. L. (2011). Diversity of carbon use strategies in a kelp forest community: Implications for a high CO2 ocean. Global Change Biology, 17(7), 2488-2497. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2011.02411.x

Hepburn, C. D., Holborow, J. D., Wing, S. R., Frew, R. D., & Hurd, C. L. (2007). Exposure to waves enhances the growth rate and nitrogen status of the giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 339, 99-108. doi: 10.3354/meps339099

Hepburn, C. D., & Hurd, C. L. (2005). Conditional mutualism between the giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera and colonial epifauna. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 302, 37-48.

Chew, C. A., Hepburn, C. D., & Stephenson, W. (2013). Low-level sedimentation modifies behaviour in juvenile Haliotis iris and may affect their vulnerability to predation. Marine Biology, 160(5), 1213-1221. doi: 10.1007/s00227-013-2173-0

Cornwall, C. E., Hepburn, C. D., Pilditch, C. A., & Hurd, C. L. (2013). Concentration boundary layers around complex assemblages of macroalgae: Implications for the effects of ocean acidification on understory coralline algae. Limnology & Oceanography, 58(1), 121-130. doi: 10.4319/lo.2013.58.1.0121

Journal - Research Article

Desmond, M. J., Pritchard, D. W., & Hepburn, C. D. (2015). Light limitation within southern New Zealand kelp forest communities. PLoS ONE, 10(4), e0123676. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0123676

Cornwall, C. E., Hepburn, C. D., Pilditch, C. A., & Hurd, C. L. (2013). Concentration boundary layers around complex assemblages of macroalgae: Implications for the effects of ocean acidification on understory coralline algae. Limnology & Oceanography, 58(1), 121-130. doi: 10.4319/lo.2013.58.1.0121

Chew, C. A., Hepburn, C. D., & Stephenson, W. (2013). Low-level sedimentation modifies behaviour in juvenile Haliotis iris and may affect their vulnerability to predation. Marine Biology, 160(5), 1213-1221. doi: 10.1007/s00227-013-2173-0

Pritchard, D. W., Hurd, C. L., Beardall, J., & Hepburn, C. D. (2013). Survival in low light: Photosynthesis and growth of a red alga in relation to measured in situ irradiance. Journal of Phycology, 49(5), 867-879. doi: 10.1111/jpy.12093

Cornwall, C. E., Hepburn, C. D., Pritchard, D., Currie, K. I., McGraw, C. M., Hunter, K. A., & Hurd, C. L. (2012). Carbon-use strategies in macroalgae: Differential responses to lowered pH and implications for ocean acidification. Journal of Phycology, 48(1), 137-144. doi: 10.1111/j.1529-8817.2011.01085.x

Hepburn, C. D., Frew, R. D., & Hurd, C. L. (2012). Uptake and transport of nitrogen derived from sessile epifauna in the giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera. Aquatic Biology, 14(2), 121-128. doi: 10.3354/ab00382

Hepburn, C. D., Pritchard, D. W., Cornwall, C. E., McLeod, R. J., Beardall, J., Raven, J. A., & Hurd, C. L. (2011). Diversity of carbon use strategies in a kelp forest community: Implications for a high CO2 ocean. Global Change Biology, 17(7), 2488-2497. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2011.02411.x

Richards, D. K., Hurd, C. L., Pritchard, D. W., Wing, S. R., & Hepburn, C. D. (2011). Photosynthetic response of monospecific macroalgal stands to density. Aquatic Biology, 13(1), 41-49. doi: 10.3354/ab00349

Hurd, C. L., Cornwall, C. E., Currie, K., Hepburn, C. D., McGraw, C. M., Hunter, K. A., & Boyd, P. W. (2011). Metabolically induced pH fluctuations by some coastal calcifiers exceed projected 22nd century ocean acidification: A mechanism for differential susceptibility? Global Change Biology, 17, 3254-3262. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2011.02473.x

McGraw, C. M., Cornwall, C. E., Reid, M. R., Currie, K. I., Hepburn, C. D., Boyd, P., Hurd, C. L., & Hunter, K. A. (2010). An automated pH-controlled culture system for laboratory-based ocean acidification experiments. Limnology & Oceanography: Methods, 8, 686-694. doi: 10.4319/lom.2010.8.686

Hurd, C. L., Hepburn, C. D., Currie, K. I., Raven, J. A., & Hunter, K. A. (2009). Testing the effects of ocean acidification on algal metabolism: Considerations for experimental designs. Journal of Phycology, 45, 1236-1251. doi: 10.1111/j.1529-8817.2009.00768.x

Russell, L. K., Hepburn, C. D., Hurd, C. L., & Stuart, M. D. (2008). The expanding range of Undaria pinnatifida in southern New Zealand: Distribution, dispersal mechanisms and the invasion of wave-exposed environments. Biological Invasions, 10(1), 103-115. doi: 10.1007/s10530-007-9113-1

Kregting, L. T., Hepburn, C. D., Hurd, C. L., & Pilditch, C. A. (2008). Seasonal patterns of growth and nutrient status of the macroalga Adamsiella chauvinii (Rhodophyta) in soft sediment environments. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology & Ecology, 360(2), 94-102.

Hepburn, C. D., Holborow, J. D., Wing, S. R., Frew, R. D., & Hurd, C. L. (2007). Exposure to waves enhances the growth rate and nitrogen status of the giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 339, 99-108. doi: 10.3354/meps339099

Hepburn, C. D., Hurd, C. L., & Frew, R. D. (2006). Colony structure and seasonal differences in light and nitrogen modify the impact of sessile epifauna on the giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera (L.) C Agardh. Hydrobiologia, 560, 373-384.

Hepburn, C. D., & Hurd, C. L. (2005). Conditional mutualism between the giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera and colonial epifauna. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 302, 37-48.

More publications...