Red X iconGreen tick iconYellow tick icon

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
  • Alexander Hayward, PhD: Next-generation observation, modelling and forecasting of microbial community composition and function in the Southern Ocean
  • Habibeh Hashimi, PhD: Development of new sensors to measure dimethyl sulfide (DMS) gas in marine surface water

Completed Postgraduate students

  • Antonia Cristi, PhD: Phytoplankton diversity and contribution to elemental and trophic cycling in the Southern Ocean
  • 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
  • Jesse Vance, PhD: Examining the drivers of co2 exchange and ocean acidification in coastal and shelf waters around new Zealand



Hayward, A., Pinkerton, M. H., Wright, S. W., Gutiérrez-Rodriguez, A., & Law, C. S. (2024). Twenty-six years of phytoplankton pigments reveal a circumpolar Class Divide around the Southern Ocean. Communications Earth & Environment, 5, 92. doi: 10.1038/s43247-024-01261-6 Journal - Research Article

Cristi, A., Law, C. S., Pinkerton, M., dos Santos, A. L., Safi, K., & Gutiérrez Rodríguez, A. (2024). Environmental driving forces and phytoplankton diversity across the Ross Sea region during a summer–autumn transition. Limnology & Oceanography. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/lno.12526 Journal - Research Article

Sellegri, K., Barthelmeß, T., Trueblood, J., Cristi, A., Freney, E., Rose, C., … Dillon, W., … Law, C. (2023). Quantified effect of seawater biogeochemistry on the temperature dependence of sea spray aerosol fluxes. Atmospheric Chemistry & Physics, 23, 12949-12964. doi: 10.5194/acp-23-12949-2023 Journal - Research Article

Chamba, G., Rissanen, M., Barthelmeß, T., Saiz-Lopez, A., Rose, C., Iyer, S., Saint-Macary, A., … Law, C. S., & Sellegri, K. (2023). Evidence of nitrate-based nighttime atmospheric nucleation driven by marine microorganisms in the South Pacific. PNAS, 120(48), e2308696120. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2308696120 Journal - Research Article

Rickard, G., Behrens, E., Chiswell, C., Law, C., & Pinkerton, M. (2023). Future physical and biogeochemical oceanic states for the NZ EEZ. Proceedings of the New Zealand Marine Sciences Society (NZMSS) Annual Meeting. (pp. 141). [Abstract] Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Back to top