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Current students

NB: Thesis titles are working titles only

Taylor Allen

Thesis title (MSc): Quantifying Antarctic echinoderms through eDNA signal strength: A comparative analysis of active and passive collection methods
Supervisor: Gert-Jan Jeunen and Miles Lamare
Previous degree: BSc in Marine Science and Microbiology (Otago)

Peter Batson

Thesis title (PhD): Aspects of the biology of Hornerid bryozoans
Supervisor: Abby Smith
Previous degree: MSc in Marine Science (Otago)

Jack Beagley imageJack Beagley

Thesis title (PhD): Circulation modelling in fjords enhances understanding of carbon burial
Supervisors: Rob Smith, Chris Moy, Gary Wilson (GNS Science), Gael Arnaud (MetOcean)
Previous degrees:BE (Hons) in Engineering Science (University of Auckland), BSc in Logic & Computation, Physics (University of Auckland), MSc in Geophysics (University of Otago)

Louise Bennett-Jones imageLouise Bennet-Jones

Thesis title (PhD):  Paua (Haliotis iris) in the East Otago Taiapure; Assessment, enhancement, management.
Supervisors: Gaya Gnanalingam, Chris Hepburn
Previous degrees: BSc (Hons) Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology, Plymouth University (UK)

Steph Bennington imageSteph Bennington

Thesis title (PhD): Transferring statistical models between populations and species
Supervisors: Will Rayment, Peter Dillingham, Elisabeth Slooten, Steve Dawson
Previous degrees: BSc majoring in Ecology and Zoology, MSc in Marine Science (Otago University)

Namrata Chand image 2021Namrata Chand

Thesis title (PhD): Ecosystem functioning and role of soft sediment macroalgal communities
Supervisors: Chris Hepburn, Will Rayment, Matt Desmond, Daniel Pritchard
Previous degrees: Bachelor of Applied Science (Otago), Master's degree in Environmental Science (University of the South Pacific), Postgraduate diploma in Marine Science (University of the South Pacific)

Vincent Cheuyglintase imageVincent Cheuyglintase

Thesis title (MSc): Distribution of biomass of  Undaria pinnatifida  across Southern New Zealand, A resource for new industry
Supervisors: Chris Hepburn
Previous degrees: PGDipSci in Marine Science, BSc majoring in Zoology and minoring in Marine Science

Jack CoakleyJack Coakley image

Thesis title (MSc): Drivers of growth rate in echinoderms: growth modelling and age determination in two New Zealand sea stars
Supervisors: Miles Lamare
Previous degree: BSc in Zoology (Otago)

Felix Cook imageFelix Cook

Thesis title (PhD): Marine heatwaves around New Zealand: Identification and causes
Supervisors: Robert Smith, Moninya Roughan (University of New South Wales), Nicolas Cullen (Geography)
Previous degrees: BSc in Physics and Energy Studies, BAppSc (Hons) in Energy Management (Otago)

Chloe Corn imageChloe Corne

Thesis title (MSc): Spatiotemporal distribution and habitat use of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in Fiordland
Supervisors: Will Rayment
Previous degrees: Bachelor of Applied Science (Biodiversity Management)

Lucy Coyle

Thesis title (PhD): State of kōura (Crayfish, Jasus edwardsii) on the North Otago Coastline
Supervisors: Gaya Gnanalingam, Chris Hepburn, Bridie Allan
Previous degree: BAppSc, MSc (Science Communication)

Leah Crowe imageLeah Crowe

Thesis Title (PhD): Variability and vulnerability of the critically endangered Fiordland bottlenose dolphin
Supervisors: Will Rayment, Steve Dawson, Matt Schofield (Statistics)  
Previous degree: BSc in Marine, Freshwater, and Environmental Biology (Ohio University)
Publications: Leah Crowe ResearchGate

Joseph Curtis

Thesis title (PhD): Kelp Forest Ecology
Supervisors: Steve Wing, Miles Lamare
Previous degrees: Bachelor of Science in Marine Science, Master of Science in Biological Oceanography and Marine Resource Assessment (University of California, USA)

Stefania Custeau

Thesis title (MSc): Investigating the density-dependent effect of  Austrovenus stutchburyi  on the degradation rate of organic matter in estuarine sediments
Supervisors: Steve Wing and Candida Savage
Previous degrees: BSc in Physical Geography and Environmental Sciences (University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada)

Nicholas Daudt imageNicholas Daudt

Thesis title (PhD): Spatiotemporal patterns and environmental drivers of seabird assemblages in Australasia, a world hotspot of seabird diversity
Supervisors: Will Rayment; Rob Smith; Matt Schofield (Statistics); Eric J Woehler (IMAS/Australia); Leandro Bugoni (FURG/Brazil)
Previous degrees: BSc (Hons) Marine Biology (Universidade Estadual do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil); MSc Biological Oceanography (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande, Brazil)


  • Schattschneider, J. L.; DAUDT, N. W.; Mattos, M. P. S.; Bonetti, J.; Rangel-Buitrago, N. (2020) An open-source geospatial framework for beach litter monitoring. Environment Monitoring and Assessment 192: 648.
  • Gianuca, D.; Bugoni, L.; Jimenez, S.; DAUDT, N. W.; Miller, P.; Canani, G.; Silva-Costa, A.; Faria, F. A.; Bastida, J.; Seco-Pon, J. P.; Yates, O.; Serafini, P.; Bond, A. L. (2020) Intentional killing and extensive aggressive handling of albatrosses and petrels at sea in the southwestern Atlantic Ocean. Biological Conservation 252: 108817.
  • Perez, M. S.; DAUDT, N. W.; Tavares, M.; Ott, P. H.; Santos, R. A.; Fontana, C. S. (2019) Diet of the Atlantic Petrel Pterodroma incerta during the non-breeding season. Marine Ornithology 47: 43-47.
  • DAUDT, N. W.; Martins, S. P.; Kirinus, E. P.; Bugoni, L. (2019) Seabird assemblage at the mouth of the Amazon River and its relationship with environmental characteristics. Journal of Sea Research 155: 101826.

Aneesa DelpachitraAneesa Delpachitra image

Thesis title (MSc): Assessing the interactive impacts of crude oil and microplastics on juvenile coral reef fish (Pomacentrus amboinensis)
Supervisors: Bridie Allan, Mark McCormick (University of Waikato), David Burritt (Botany)
Previous degree: BSc in Ecology, minoring in Zoology (Otago)

Ian Dixon-AndersonIan Dixon-Anderson image

Thesis title (PhD): Adaptive potential of New Zealand sand dollar (Fellaster zelandiae) to future ocean conditions expected in New Zealand waters
Supervisors: Miles Lamare, Crid Fraser
Previous degree: Bachelor of Chemistry (Grinnell College, USA), Master of Science in Marine Science (Otago)


  • Dixon-Anderson. I.S., Smith, A.M. Submitted. Variable [Mg2+] in seawater forces mineralogy change in Spirobranchus cariniferus calcification. Marine Chemistry. September 2021

Jake Edwards-IngleJake Edwards-Ingle image

Thesis title (MSc): Using a UAV to investigate the influence of habitat characteristics and time of day on reef shark neonate population parameters and predation
Supervisors: Bridie Allan, Will Rayment
Previous degree: BSc (Zoology & Marine Science)

Tyler Feary image 2022Tyler Feary

Thesis title (MSc): Investigating the effect of temperature change on the growth, calcification, and survival of Watersipora subatra, in addition to its suitability as a model species.
Supervisor: Abby Smith
Previous Degrees: BSc (Ecology major, Marine Science minor)

Saskia Foreman

Thesis title (PhD): Effects of multiple anthropogenic stressors on feedback loops in marine ecosystems
Supervisor: Candida Savage, Bridie Allan, Amandine Sabadel
Previous Degrees: BSc (Zoology, Marine Science)

Hannah Fox-McLachlan

Thesis title (MSc): Can Common triplefin (Forsterygion lapillum) recruits use associative learning mechanisms to learn the identity of a novel predator
Supervisor: Bridie Allan
Previous Degrees: BSc in Marine science, minor in zoology (Otago)

A G Hayward imageAlexander Hayward

Thesis title: Next-generation observation, modelling and forecasting of microbial community composition and function in the Southern Ocean
Supervisors: Clifford Law, Matt Pinkerton (NIWA), Andres Gutierrez-Rodriguez (NIWA)
Previous degrees: Integrated BSc and MSc from University College London (UCL) with a year abroad at the University of British Columbia (UBC)


  • Hayward, A. G., & Grigor, J. J. (2021). The bottom of the Arctic's food web is of top importance.  Changing Arctic Ocean, 48.
  • Veyssiere, G., Castellani, G., Wilkinson, J.P., Karcher, M., Hayward, A.G., Stroeve, J.C., Nicolaus, M., Kim, J-H., Yang, E-J., Valcic, L., Kauker, F., Khan, A.L. (In Press). Under-Ice Light Field in the Western Arctic Ocean during late summer, Arctic Frontiers
  • Pinkerton, M. H., & Hayward, A. (2021). Estimating variability and long-term change in sea ice primary productivity using a satellite-based light penetration index.  Journal of Marine Systems, 103576.
  • Pinkerton, M. H., Boyd, P. W., Deppeler, S., Hayward, A., Höfer, J., & Moreau, S. (2021). Evidence for the impact of climate change on primary producers in the Southern Ocean.  Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution,  9, 134.

Lily Heidmann profile image.Lily Heidmann

Thesis title (MSc): Nitrogen Ecophysiology of Asparagopsis armata in Co-Culture with Finfish
Supervisor: Chris Hepburn and Anna Kluibenschedl
Previous degree: BSc in Marine Science and Ecology

Eric Hodge

Thesis title: Can the New Zealand green-lipped mussel  (Perna canaliculus)  be used as a bioindicator of ecosystem function in temperate rocky reef ecosystems?
Supervisor: Steve Wing
Previous degree: BSc in Ecology and Marine Science (Otago)

Eleanor Kelly

Thesis title (PhD): The combined response of warming, UV, and crude oil exposure on predator-prey interactions of fish and the neurophysiological drivers responsible
Supervisors: Bridie Allan
Previous degrees: Master's degree in Marine Science (Otago)

Elli Leinikki

Thesis title (PhD): Influence of shellfish on recovery and restoration of intertidal estuaries in New Zealand
Supervisors: Candida Savage, Steve Wing
Previous degrees: BSc in Aquatic Sciences (University of Helsinki), MSc in Environmental Change and Global Sustainability (University of Helsinki)

Xiaoyue Liu imageXiaoyue Liu (Pluto)

Thesis title (PhD): How vulnerable are Antarctica's coasts to colonisation?
Supervisors: Crid Fraser
Previous degrees: BSc in Geography and Zoology (Otago), BSc(Hons) in Ecology (Otago)

Gretchen McCarthyGretchen McCarthy

Thesis title (PhD): Biogeochemical Interactions in Integrated Kelp and Mussel Aquaculture System
Supervisors: Steve Wing, Amandine Sabadel, Miles Lamare
Previous Degrees: Bachelor of Arts in Marine Science with Honours, Boston University 2020

  • McCarthy, G.J., Ray, N.E., Fulweiler, R.W. (In Press) Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Native and Non-Native Oysters.  Frontiers in Environmental Science  doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2019.00194
  • McCarthy, G.J., Ray, N.E., Fulweiler, R.W. (In Prep) Oyster-mediated nutrient regeneration does not influence phytoplankton community structure.  Marine Ecology Progress Series

Jessica Moffitt

Thesis title (PhD): Temperate and polar marine communities' responses to ocean warming: An assessment using in-situ environmental manipulations
Supervisors: Miles Lamare, Crid Fraser, Neil Gemmell (Anatomy)
Previous degrees: BSc in Marine Biology (Victoria), MSc (Auckland)

Joseph Muldoon

Thesis title (MSc): eDNA: Sponge tissue as an emerging tool to monitor biodiversity in coral reef ecosystems
Supervisors: Miles Lamare, Gert-Jan Jeunen
Previous degrees: BSc in Zoology and BCom in Business Management

Katie Nelson image 2022Katie Nelson

Thesis title (MSc): Heat budget analysis of Blueskin Bay
Supervisors: Steve Wing, Rob Smith
Previous degrees: BSc (Otago)

Pame Olmedo-RojasPame Olmedo-Rojas

Thesis title (PhD): Environmental drivers of evolution for Antarctic terrestrial organisms
Supervisors: Crid Fraser, Neil Gemmell (Anatomy), Miles Lamare
Previous degrees: BSc in Marine Biology (Universidad Austral de Chile, Chile)

I am interested in what drives Antarctic terrestrial diversity. I will use genomic approaches in terrestrial eukaryotes, combined with spatial analysis to answer the following key questions: what are the drivers of diversity and population connectivity in Antarctic plants? and, do geothermal areas represent highly localized hotspots of diversity?

Josh Percy imageJosh Percy

Thesis title (MSc): Assessing predator-prey interactions among three key invertebrate species in southern New Zealand
Supervisor: Gaya Gnanalingam
Previous degrees: Bachelor of Applied Science, majoring in Aquaculture and Fisheries, minoring in Ecology.

Hanna Ravn profile photo.Hannah Ravn

Thesis title (MSc): Pakake / NZ sea lion diet analysis – a participatory science approach
Supervisor: Will Rayment, Yolanda van Heezik (Department of Zoology)
Previous Degrees: BSc in Bioscience (Aarhus University), PGDip in Wildlife Management (University of Otago)

Avi Roberts

Thesis title (MSc): Salty & Malty. Aquaculture of marine Macroalgae, using CO2 waste produced in beer fermentation
Supervisor: Chris Hepburn
Previous Degrees: BAppSc, Aquaculture and Fisheries

Scott Roche-Dick

Thesis title (MSc): Marine heatwaves and Odontaster validus
Supervisor: Miles Lamare
Previous Degrees: BSc (Otago), Postgraduate diploma in Wildlife Management (Otago)

Finn RyderFinn Ryder

Thesis Title (PhD): Drivers of population dynamics and fishery status of paua (Haliotis iris)
Supervisors: Gaya Gnanalingam, Chris Hepburn, Will Rayment, Daniel Pritchard, Robert Smith

Vahid looking down at seaweed in his handsVahid Sepahvand

Thesis title (PhD): Processes driving phylogeographic patterns in the Antarctic Ross Sea
Supervisors: Crid Fraser
Previous degrees: MSc (University of Tehran)
Publications: Google Scholar

Recent publication

  • Vahid Sepahvand, Christopher Tudge  (2022). A new species of the ghost shrimp genus Andamancalliax Sakai, 2011 from Iran (Crustacea: Decapoda: Axiidea: Eucalliacidae).  Zootaxa.  5213(1): 86–92.

Stella Simpson image 2022Stella Simpson

Thesis title (MSc): Investigating the effects of oceanic conditions on sperm whales and their prey at Kaikōura
Supervisors: Will Rayment and Marta Guerra
Previous degrees: BSc in Geology and Oceanography (Otago); PGDipSci in Marine Science (Otago)

Bridgit Smerdon

Thesis title (MSc): Drivers of temperature variability in Southern New Zealand forests of giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera
Supervisors: Robert Smith, Pete Russell
Previous degrees: BSc in Marine science (Otago)

Jordan Sparrow imageJordan Sparrow

Thesis title (MSc): Phytoplankton variability in the Otago Harbour and adjacent shelf seas
Supervisors: Robert Smith, Linn Hoffmann
Previous degrees: BAppSc majoring in Environmental Management and minoring in Marine Science

Whitney Steidl imageWhitney Steidl

Thesis title (MSc): Distribution and behaviour of sperm whales over the Otago submarine canyons, New Zealand
Supervisors: Will Rayment and Marta Guerra
Previous degrees: BSc in Zoology

Arnaud ValcarcelArnaud Valcarcel

Thesis title (PhD): Ocean mixing at high Reynolds number: Efficiencies in extrema  
Supervisors: Ata Suanda, Steve Wing, Craig Stevens (NIWA),  Joanne O'Callaghan (NIWA)
Previous degrees: BSc Fundamental Physics, MSc Astrophysics (University of Toulouse, France)

Te Arawhetu Waipoua profile image.Te Arawhetu Waipoua

Thesis title (MSc): Identifying areas of high conservation concern through fine-scale GPS tracking of kuaka (Whenua Hou Diving Petrel;  Pelecanoides georgicus whenuahouensis) during the breeding period
Supervisors: Will Rayment, Peter Dillingham (Statistics)
Previous degree: MSc Marine Science (Otago)


Waipoua, T.A.; Mitchell, C.; Ellenberg, U.; Fischer, J.H. 2023. Hand-rearing and translocation trial of the critically endangered kuaka Whenua Hou (Whenua Hou Diving Petrel;  Pelecanoides georgicus whenuahouensis). Notornis 70(4):  151-159.

Lindsay Wickman

Thesis title (PhD): Population modelling of Hector's dolphins at Banks Peninsula, NZ
Supervisors: Ursula Ellenberg, Phil Seddon (Zoology), Johannes Fischer (DOC)
Previous degree: BSc in Zoology, minoring in Marine Science (Otago)

Ben WilliamsBen Williams

Thesis title (PhD): Status, values and restoration potential of Macrocystis pyrifera kelp forests in Aotearoa New Zealand
Supervisors: Chris Hepburn
Previous degree: Master of Applied Science (Otago)

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