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Current students

NB: Thesis titles are working titles only

Jacob AndersonJacob

Thesis title (PhD): Determining Antarctica's terrestrial climate history from microbial populations in permafrost
Supervisors: Gary Wilson, Craig Cary (University of Waikato), Christina Riesselman
Previous degree(s): BSc in Earth Science and Geography (Massey University), MSc in Geology (Otago)


  • Anderson, J.T.H, Wilson, G.S., Jones, R.S., Fink, D. and Fujioka, T., (2020). Ice surface lowering of Skelton Glacier, Transantarctic Mountains, since the Last Glacial Maximum: Implications for retreat of grounded ice in the western Ross Sea. Quaternary Science Reviews, 237, 106305.
  • Anderson, J.T.H., Wilson, G.S., Fink, D., Lilly, K., Levy, R.H., and Townsend, D. (2017). Reconciling marine and terrestrial evidence for post LGM ice sheet retreat in southern McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Quaternary Science Reviews, 157, 1-13.
  • Jones, R.S., Norton, K.P., Mackintosh, A.N., Anderson, J.T.H., Kubik, P., Vockenhuber, C., Wittmann, H., Fink, D., Wilson, G.S., Golledge, N.R. and McKay, R., (2017). Cosmogenic nuclides constrain surface fluctuations of an East Antarctic outlet glacier since the Pliocene. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 480, pp.75-86.

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)

Antonia Cristi imageAntonia Cristi

Thesis title (PhD): Phytoplankton diversity and their role in the biogeochemical carbon cycle and trophic flows in the Southern Ocean
Supervisors: Clifford Law, Andres Gutiérrez-Rodríguez, Matt Pinkerton
Previous degree: BSc(Hons) in Biochemistry (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile)


  • Trefault N., De la Iglesia R., Moreno-Pino M., Lopes Dos Santos A., Gérikas Ribeiro C., Parada-Pozo G., Cristi A., Marie D., Vaulot D. (2021). Annual phytoplankton dynamics in coastal waters from Fildes Bay, Western Antarctic Peninsula. Sci Rep 11,1368
  • Moreno-Pino M., Cristi A., Gillooly J.F., Trefault N. (2020). Characterizing the microbiomes of Antarctic sponges: a functional metagenomic approach. Sci Rep 10, 645.

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)

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)

Katie Fenton image 2022

Katie Fenton

Thesis title (MSc): Understanding potential Allee effects in juvenile tuaki (Austrovenus stutchburyi) and how this can impact conservation efforts
Supervisor: Steve Wing
Previous Degrees: BSc in Ecology, minor in Marine Science (University of Otago)

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)

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.

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)

Erik JohnsonErik Johnson image

Thesis title (PhD): Processes controlling the region of freshwater influence within the Otago Coastal Ocean
Supervisors: Rob Smith, Ata Suanda, Steve Wing
Previous degree: BSc Honours Earth System Science (McGill University)

David Johnstonjohda957

Thesis title (PhD): Sentinels of the Southern Ocean: southern right whales (Eubalaena australis) as indicators of oceanic productivity
Supervisors: Steve Dawson, Will Rayment, and Rob Smith
Previous degrees: BSc in Zoology, Minor in Marine Science (University of Otago), MSc Thesis - Marine Science (Otago)


  • Johnston, D., Rayment, W., Slooten, E. & Dawson, S.M. (2017) A time-based method for defining associations using photo-identification. Behaviour, 154: 1029-1050.

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)

Mireya Orozco imageMireya M Montaño Orozco

Thesis title: Dispersion and connectivity within the Bay of Plenty using a continental shelf-resolving regional ocean model
Supervisors: Steve Wing, Joao Souza, Ata Suanda
Previous degrees: MSc in Physical Oceanography (CICESE), BSc in Oceanography (Autonomous University of Baja California).


  • Hernandez-Walls, R., Dreyfus-León, M., & Montaño-Orozco, M. M. (2018). Simulation of fluid dynamics through complicated networks of channels with cellular automata. European Journal of Physics 39(6), 065801.

Teresa MorrellTeresa Morrell

Thesis title (PhD): The effect of plasticisers on the reproductive output of cryptobenthic fishes
Supervisors: Bridie Allan, Sheri Johnson, Mark Lokman (Zoology), David Burritt (Botany)

José Moyano imageJosé Emilio Trujillo Moyano

Thesis title (PhD): Insights into neonate reef sharks' vulnerability to predation: a behavioural, physiological and ecological approach
Supervisors: Bridie JM Allan, Will Rayment, Jodie Rummer (ARC Centre for Excellence Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University)
Previous degrees: Bachelor in Marine Biology (Universidad Austral de Chile), Marine Biology Degree (Universidad Austral de Chile)


  • Trujillo J.E., Pardo L., Vargas-Chacoff L., & Valdivia N. (2019). Sharks in the forest: relationships between kelp physical- complexity attributes and egg deposition sites of the red-spotted catshark. Marine Ecology Progress Series.
  • Carrera, M., Trujillo, J.E., & Brandt, M. (2019). First record of a by-the-wind-sailor (Velella velella Linnaeus, 1758) in the Galápagos Archipelago-Ecuador. Biodiversity Data Journal 7, e35303

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?

Will Pearman

Thesis title (PhD): The evolutionary and biogeographic significance of the microbiome of southern bull kelp (Durvillaea antarctica)
Supervisors: Crid Fraser, Neil Gemmell (Anatomy), Sergio Morales (Microbiology and Immunology)
Previous Degrees: Bachelor of Natural Sciences (Massey), Master of Natural Sciences (Massey)
Publications:Google Scholar

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.

Frances Perry image 2022

Frances Perry

Thesis title (MSc): Rafting away: The thermal tolerance of southern bull kelp-associated invertebrates
Supervisor: Crid Fraser, Miles Lamare
Previous Degrees: BSc Zoology/Marine Science (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)

Veronica Rodriguez-Jurado

Thesis title (MSc): How does kelp species affect the trophic transfer of kelp organic matter within subtidal and shore food-webs?
Supervisor: Steve Wing
Previous Degrees: BSc in Biology (University of Victoria, Canada)

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)

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

Blair Thomsonthobl500

Thesis title (PhD): Microbial extracellular enzymes and the biogeochemical cycling of phosphorus in the marine environment
Supervisors: Chris Hepburn, Federico Baltar (University of Vienna)
Previous degrees: BA Philosophy, BSc(Hons) Ecology (University of Otago)


  • Martínez-Pérez, C., C. Greening, S.K. Bay, R.J. Lappan, Z. Zhao, D. De Corte, C. Hulbe, C. Ohneiser, C. Stevens, B. Thomson, R. Stepanauskas, J.M. González, R. Logares, G.J. Herndl, S.E. Morales, and F. Baltar. 2022. Phylogenetically and functionally diverse microorganisms reside under the Ross Ice Shelf. Nature Communications 13:117.
  • Wenley J, Currie K, Lockwood S, Thomson B, Baltar F and Morales SE (2021) Seasonal Prokaryotic Community Linkages Between Surface and Deep Ocean Water. Front. Mar. Sci. 8:659641. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2021.659641
  • Thomson, B., Wenley, J., Currie, K., Hepburn, C., Herndl, G.J., Baltar, F. (2019). Resolving the paradox: Continuous cell-free alkaline phosphate activity despite high phosphate concentrations. Marine Chemistry.
  • Baltar, F., De Corte, D., Thomson, B., Yokokawa, T. (2019). Teasing apart the different size pools of extracellular enzymatic activity in the ocean. Science of The Total Environment.
  • Baltar, F., Gutiérrez-Rodríguez, A., Meyer, M., Skudelny, I., Sander, S., Thomson, B., Nodder, S., Middag, R., Morales, S.E. (2018). Specific effect of trace metals on marine heterotrophic microbial activity and diversity: Key role of Iron and Zinc and hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria. Frontiers in Microbiology.
  • Thomson, B., Hepburn, C. D., Lamare, M., and Baltar, F. (2017). Temperature and UV light affect the activity of marine cell-free enzymes. Biogeosciences 14, 3971–3977. doi: 10.5194/bg-14-3971-2017

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)

Lindsay Wickman

Thesis title (PhD): Population modelling of Hector's dolphins at Banks Peninsula, NZ
Supervisors: Will Rayment, Peter Dillingham (Statistics)
Previous degree: MSc 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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