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Cliff Law – NIWA

Cliff LawContact details



Cliff is the Co-Director of the Research Centre for Oceanography, Leader of the NIWA Oceanic Control of Atmospheric Composition Programme, and a Professor in the Department of Marine Chemistry, University of Otago.

Cliff Law NIWA profile

Cliff is also a member of the Coastal People: Southern Skies collaboration that connects communities with world-leading, cross-discipline research to rebuild coastal ecosystems.

Coastal People: Southern Skies

His research focuses on the interaction between the ocean and the atmosphere; how biogeochemical cycling in the surface ocean influences atmospheric composition, and how climate variability feedbacks to ocean biogeochemistry. Specific research areas include the production and exchange of trace gases, controls of phytoplankton productivity and biodiversity, and the impact of ocean acidification and climate variability on the structure and functioning of pelagic ecosystems.

He was a member of the International SOLAS Steering Committee for six years, the NZ delegate on the IMO Working Group on Ocean Fertilization for the London Convention, and was awarded the Hutchinson Medal by the Institute of Chemical Engineers in 2013.



Postgraduate students

  • Wayne Dillon, PhD: Advancing analytical approaches for marine calcium carbonate saturation state characteristics
  • Jesse Vance, PhD: Examining the drivers of co2 exchange and ocean acidification in coastal and shelf waters around new Zealand
  • Alexander Hayward, PhD: Next-generation observation, modelling and forecasting of microbial community composition and function in the Southern Ocean
  • Antonia Cristi, PhD: Phytoplankton diversity and contribution to elemental and trophic cycling in the Southern Ocean
  • Habibeh Hashimi, PhD: Development of new sensors to measure dimethyl sulfide (DMS) gas in marine surface water

Completed Postgraduate students

  • Fenella Deans, PhD: The influence of climate change on marine bacterioplankton communities and greenhouse gases in New Zealand waters
  • Alexia Saint-Macary, PhD: Dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) and dimethyl sulfide (DMS) dynamics in the surface ocean


Sellegri, K., Harvey, M., Peltola, M., Saint-Macary, A., Barthelmeß, T., Rocco, M., … Cristi, A., … Dillon, W., … Law, C. S. (2023). Sea2Cloud: From biogenic emission fluxes to cloud properties in the South West Pacific. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1175/bams-d-21-0063.1

Saint-Macary, A. D., Marriner, A., Barthelmeß, T., Deppeler, S., Safi, K., Costa Santana, R., … Law, C. S. (2023). Dimethyl sulfide cycling in the sea surface microlayer in the southwestern Pacific. Part 1: Enrichment potential determined using a novel sampler. Ocean Science, 19(1), 1-15. doi: 10.5194/os-19-1-2023

Law, C. (2022, November). Ocean acidification in New Zealand: Potential mitigation and adaptation. Verbal presentation at the New Zealand Marine Sciences (NZMSS) & New Zealand Freshwater Sciences Societies (NZFSS) Joint Conference: Waitī Waitā, Auckland, New Zealand.

Saint-Macary, A. D., Marriner, A., Deppeler, S., Safi, K. A., & Law, C. S. (2022). Dimethyl sulfide cycling in the sea surface microlayer in the southwestern Pacific. Part 2: Processes and rates. Ocean Science, 18, 1559-1571. doi: 10.5194/os-18-1559-2022

Sabadel, A. J. M., Décima, M., McComb, K., Meyers, M., Barr, N., Gall, M., … Law, C. S. (2022). Amino acid nitrogen stable isotopes as biomarkers of coastal phytoplankton assemblages and food web interactions. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 690, 1-13. doi: 10.3354/meps14046