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Professor Stephen Wing

Contact detailssrwing

Office 310 Castle Street, room 145
Tel +64 3 479 9038
Cell +64 21 279 9038

Academic qualifications

PhD (Davis)

Research interests

I am a marine ecologist with a research emphasis on understanding food web structure and metapopulation dynamics within coastal marine communities. Together these processes underpin persistence and stability of biological communities making their study directly relevant to conservation and management of marine ecosystems.

My research group at Otago focuses on biogeochemical cycling in food webs to resolve how diversity of basal organic matter sources and changes to food web structure through species loss influence productivity and resource use by higher trophic level groups such as rock lobsters, reef fish, marine mammals, sea birds and people. The work is supported by direct observations, in situ experiments and state-of-the-art environmental chemistry, including stable isotope and trace metal analysis. We also carry out studies on population structure and metapopulation dynamics of fish and invertebrates in coastal marine environments.

I have active research projects in Fiordland, Antarctica, the sub-Antarctic islands as well as mainland New Zealand focused on understanding ecosystem function and dynamics.


Research projects

  • Food web connectivity in the Fiordland ecosystem: an investigation of trophic links across ecotone boundaries - Marsden Fund.
  • Analysis of biodiversity patterns and management decision making processes to support stewardship of marine resources and biodiversity in Fiordland- a case study - Ministry for the Environment / Ministry of Fisheries.
  • Ecophysiology of giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) in Paterson Inlet, Stewart Island- Otago Research Grant
  • Biomass survey and yield estimates for the New Zealand littleneck clam (Austrovenus stutchburyi) in Papanui and Waitati Inlets, Otago - Ministry of Fisheries
  • A Metapopulation Model for the New Zealand Sea Urchin Evechinus chloroticus in Fiordland: Influence of Larval Transport Patterns on Population Structure- Otago Research Grant.
  • GIS tools for design of marine protected areas -Otago Research Grant/ Department of Conservation
  • Using Molecular Genetics to Test a Hydrographic Model of New Zealand’s Fjords that Predicts their Ability to Act as Barriers to the Dispersal of Marine Organisms. - Marsden Fund.
  • 2011–2014, Does the sea ice microbial community contribute to secondary production in the Antarctic? Antarctica New Zealand
  • 2011–2014, Does bioaccumulation of iron by seabirds enhance productivity around sub-Antarctic Islands? Royal Society of New Zealand – Marsden Fund
  • 2009-2010, Fiordland (Te Moana o Atawhenua) Marine Area Biodiversity Monitoring 2010, Department of Conservation.
  • 2008, Implications of climate change for flux of organic matter in Antarctic coastal ecosystems, Antarctica New Zealand
  • 2006-2008, Biodiversity research in Fiordland associated with the Fiordland marine reserve network and Fiordland Marine Management Act 2005 (3 projects), Department of Conservation.
  • Ecosystem Connectivity: Resolving Biochemical Fluxes to inform Ecosystem Based Management. Sustainable Seas, National Science Challenge

Postgraduate students

  • Alex Connolly – Thesis Title (MSc): Identifying shifts in the trophic positions of coastal fish species associated with an increasing human population.
  • Leonardo Durante – Thesis Title (PhD): Biochemical fluxes in coastal fish communities
  • Rosa Edwards – MSc
  • Matt Jarvis – Thesis Title (PhD) Energetics of galaxids under climate change 2017 – (Closs –Wing)
  • Erik Johnson – Thesis Title (PhD) Dynamics of the subtropical convergence 2019 (Smith – Suanda - Wing)
  • Stina Kolodzey – Thesis Title (PhD): Demographic structure of coastal reef fish populations
  • Rebecca McMullin – Thesis Title (PhD): Biogeochemistry of aquaculture influenced communities
  • Morgan Meyers – Thesis Title (PhD): Zooplankton – phytoplankton interactions in a changing ocean
  • Nichola Salmond – MSc
  • Clara Schlieman – MSc
  • Jacquetta Udy – Thesis Title (MSc): Drivers of Community Structure and Food Web Architecture in Fiordland Reef Fish
  • Arnaud Valcarcel – Thesis Title (PhD) Microstructure of oceanographic frontal systems 2018 – (Stevens, Suanda – Wing)

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Durante, L. M., Sabadel, A. J. M., Frew, R. D., Ingram, T., & Wing, S. R. (2020). Effects of fixatives on stable isotopes of fish muscle tissue: Implications for trophic studies on preserved specimens. Ecological Applications. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/eap.2080

Durante, L. M., Beentjes, M. P., & Wing, S. R. (2020). Shifting trophic architecture of marine fisheries in New Zealand: Implications for guiding effective ecosystem-based management. Fish & Fisheries. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/faf.12463

Tobias-Hunefeldt, S. P., Wing, S., Baltar, F., Espinel-Velasco, N., & Morales, S. (2020). Within New Zealand fjords depth and location influence prokaryotic and eukaryotic microbial community composition, but two sources of organic matter shape microbial activity. Proceedings of the Ocean Sciences Meetings (OSM). MM34A-0331. Retrieved from

Durante, L., Sabadel, A., Ingram, T., & Wing, S. (2020). Investigating long-term temporal changes in trophic structure of fish communities: Insights from whole muscle tissue and compound specific isotopic analysis of amino acids. Proceedings of the Ocean Sciences Meetings (OSM). ME14D-0028. Retrieved from

Meyers, M., Décima, M., Currie, K. I., Hoffmann, L., & Wing, S. (2020). Salp distribution in coastal, subtropical, and subantarctic waters off the Southeast coast of New Zealand: Linking hydrology with ecosystem function. Proceedings of the Ocean Sciences Meetings (OSM). ME24E-0140. Retrieved from

Authored Book - Research

Wing, S. (2008). Subtidal invertebrates of New Zealand: A diver's guide. Christchurch, New Zealand: Canterbury University Press, 148p.

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Chapter in Book - Research

Wing, S. R. (2011). Population networks with sources and sinks along productivity gradients in the Fiordland Marine Area, New Zealand: A case study on the sea urchin Evechinus chloroticus. In J. Liu, V. Hull, A. T. Morzillo & J. A. Wiens (Eds.), Sources, sinks and sustainability. (pp. 382-398). Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511842399.020

Wing, S. R., & McLeod, R. J. (2007). Salinity Stress. In M. W. Denny & S. D. Gaines (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Tidepools & Rocky Shores. (pp. 482-484). Berkeley: University of California.

Wing, S. (2003). Fiordland. In N. Andrew & M. Francis (Eds.), The living reef: The ecology of New Zealand's rocky reefs. (pp. 238-247). Nelson, New Zealand: Craig Potton Publishing.

Ostrow, D. G., Wing, S. R., Mladenov, P. V., & Roy, M. S. (2001). Genetic differentiation of Terebratella sanguinea in the New Zealand fjords: A dispersal barrier in the marine environment? In C. H. C. Brunton, L. R. M. Cocks & S. L. Long (Eds.), Brachiopods past and present. (pp. 150-159). London: Taylor & Francis.

Wing, S. R. (2001). Free-floating larvae of crabs, sea urchins, and rockfishes. In H. A. Karl, J. L. Chin, E. Ueber, P. H. Stauffer & J. I. I. Hendley (Eds.), Beyond the Golden Gate: Oceanography, geology, biology and environmental issues in the Gulf of the Farallones [Circular 1198]. (pp. 40-41). Reston, VA: U.S. Geological Survey.

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Journal - Research Article

Durante, L. M., Sabadel, A. J. M., Frew, R. D., Ingram, T., & Wing, S. R. (2020). Effects of fixatives on stable isotopes of fish muscle tissue: Implications for trophic studies on preserved specimens. Ecological Applications. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/eap.2080

Durante, L. M., Beentjes, M. P., & Wing, S. R. (2020). Shifting trophic architecture of marine fisheries in New Zealand: Implications for guiding effective ecosystem-based management. Fish & Fisheries. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/faf.12463

Tobias-Hünefeldt, S. P., Wing, S. R., Espinel-Velasco, N., Baltar, F., & Morales, S. E. (2019). Depth and location influence prokaryotic and eukaryotic microbial community structure in New Zealand fjords. Science of the Total Environment. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.07.313

Udy, J., Wing, S., O'Connell-Milne, S., Kolodzey, S., McMullin, R., Durante, L., & Frew, R. (2019). Organic matter derived from kelp supports a large proportion of biomass in temperate rocky reef fish communities: Implications for ecosystem-based management. Aquatic Conservation. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/aqc.3101

Wing, S. R., O'Connell-Milne, S. A., Wing, L. C., & Reid, M. R. (2019). Trace metals in Antarctic clam shells record the chemical dynamics of changing sea ice conditions. Limnology & Oceanography. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/lno.11318

Udy, J. A., Wing, S. R., Jowett, T., O'Connell-Milne, S. A., Durante, L. M., McMullin, R. M., & Kolodzey, S. (2019). Regional differences in kelp forest interaction chains are influenced by both diffuse and localized stressors. Ecosphere, 10(10), e02894. doi: 10.1002/ecs2.2894

Udy, J. A., Wing, S. R., O'Connell-Milne, S. A., Durante, L. M., McMullin, R. M., Kolodzey, S., & Frew, R. D. (2019). Regional differences in supply of organic matter from kelp forests drive trophodynamics of temperate reef fish. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 621, 19-32. doi: 10.3354/meps12974

Lee, B., Cockroft, K., Arkhipkin, A. I., Wing, S. R., & Randhawa, H. S. (2019). Age, growth and mortality estimates for the ridge-scaled grenadier Macrourus carinatus (Günther, 1878) in the south-western Atlantic. Fisheries Research, 218, 174-185. doi: 10.1016/j.fishres.2019.05.012

Desmond, M. J., Pritchard, D. W., Hurd, C. L., Richards, D. K., Schweikert, K., Wing, S., & Hepburn, C. D. (2019). Superior photosynthetic performance of the invasive kelp Undaria pinnatifida may contribute to continued range expansion in a wave-exposed kelp forest community. Marine Biology, 166(11), 139. doi: 10.1007/s00227-019-3593-2

Wing, S. R., Leichter, J. J., Wing, L. C., Stokes, D., Genovese, S. J., McMullin, R. M., & Shatova, O. A. (2018). Contribution of sea ice microbial production to Antarctic benthic communities is driven by sea ice dynamics and composition of functional guilds. Global Change Biology, 24(8), 3642-3653. doi: 10.1111/gcb.14291

Shatova, O. A., Wing, S. R., Hoffmann, L. J., Wing, L. C., & Gault-Ringold, M. (2017). Phytoplankton community structure is influenced by seabird guano enrichment in the Southern Ocean. Estuarine, Coastal & Shelf Science, 191, 125-135. doi: 10.1016/j.ecss.2017.04.021

Wing, S. R., Wing, L. C., Shatova, O., & Van Hale, R. (2017). Marine micronutrient vectors: Seabirds, marine mammals and fishes egest high concentrations of bioactive metals in the subantarctic island ecosystem. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 563, 13-23. doi: 10.3354/meps11978

McMullin, R., Wing, S. R., Wing, L. C., & Shatova, O. (2017). Trophic position of Antarctic ice fishes reflects food web structure along a gradient in sea ice persistence. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 564, 87-98. doi: 10.3354/meps12031

Wing, S. R., Gault-Ringold, M., Stirling, C. H., Wing, L. C., Shatova, O. A., & Frew, R. D. (2017). δ56Fe in seabird guano reveals extensive recycling of iron in the Southern Ocean ecosystem. Limnology & Oceanography, 62(4), 1671-1681. doi: 10.1002/lno.10524

McMullin, R. M., Wing, S. R., & Reid, M. R. (2017). Ice fish otoliths record dynamics of advancing and retreating sea ice in Antarctica. Limnology & Oceanography, 62(6), 2662-2673. doi: 10.1002/lno.10597

Shatova, O., Wing, S. R., Gault-Ringold, M., Wing, L., & Hoffmann, L. J. (2016). Seabird guano enhances phytoplankton production in the Southern Ocean. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology & Ecology, 483, 74-87. doi: 10.1016/j.jembe.2016.07.004

Wing, S. R., & Wing, L. (2015). Ontogenetic shifts in resource use by the sea urchin Evechinus chloroticus across an ecotone. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 535, 177-184.

Wing, S. R., Wing, L. C., & Fujita, Y. (2015). Overthrowing a regime shift: Displacement of sea urchins by abalone in a kelp forest ecosystem. Ecosphere, 6(12), 1-13. doi: 10.1890/ES15-00179.1

Wing, S. R., Jack, L., Shatova, O., Leichter, J. J., Barr, D., Frew, R. D., & Gault-Ringold, M. (2014). Seabirds and marine mammals redistribute bioavailable iron in the Southern Ocean. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 510, 1-13. doi: 10.3354/meps10923

Wing, S. R., & Jack, L. (2014). Fiordland: The ecological basis for ecosystem management. New Zealand Journal of Marine & Freshwater Research, 48(4), 577-593. doi: 10.1080/00288330.2014.897636

Wing, S. R., & Jack, L. (2013). Marine reserve networks conserve biodiversity by stabilizing communities and maintaining food web structure. Ecosphere, 4(11), 135. doi: 10.1890/ES13-00257.1

Beer, N. A., Wing, S. R., & Carbines, G. (2013). First estimates of batch fecundity for Parapercis colias, a commercially important temperate reef fish. New Zealand Journal of Marine & Freshwater Research, 47(4), 587-594. doi: 10.1080/00288330.2013.789440

Jack, L., & Wing, S. R. (2013). A safety network against regional population collapse: Mature subpopulations in refuges distributed across the landscape. Ecosphere, 4(5), 57. doi: 10.1890/ES12-00221.1

Beer, N. A., & Wing, S. R. (2013). Trophic ecology drives spatial variability in growth among subpopulations of an exploited temperate reef fish. New Zealand Journal of Marine & Freshwater Research, 47(1), 73-89. doi: 10.1080/00288330.2012.751037

Davis, J. P., & Wing, S. R. (2012). Niche partitioning in the Fiordland wrasse guild. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 446, 207-220. doi: 10.3354/meps09452

Wing, S. R., McLeod, R. J., Leichter, J. J., Frew, R. D., & Lamare, M. D. (2012). Sea ice microbial production supports Ross Sea benthic communities: Influence of a small but stable subsidy. Ecology, 93(2), 314-323. doi: 10.1890/11-0996.1

Wing, S. R., Beer, N. A., & Jack, L. (2012). Resource base of blue cod Parapercis colias subpopulations in marginal fjordic habitats is linked to chemoautotrophic production. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 466, 205-214. doi: 10.3354/meps09929

Wing, S., & Jack, L. (2012). Resource specialisation among suspension-feeding invertebrates on rock walls in Fiordland, New Zealand, is driven by water column structure and feeding mode. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 452, 109-118. doi: 10.3354/meps09588

Stokes, M. D., Leichter, J. J., Wing, S., & Frew, R. (2011). Temperature variability and algal isotopic heterogeneity on a Floridian coral reef. Marine Ecology, 32(3), 364-379. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0485.2011.00469.x

Miller, S. M., Hurd, C. L., & Wing, S. R. (2011). Variations in growth, erosion, productivity, and morphology of Ecklonia radiata (Alariaceae; Laminariales) along a fjord in southern New Zealand. Journal of Phycology, 47(3), 505-516. doi: 10.1111/j.1529-8817.2011.00966.x

Jack, L., Wing, S. R., Hu, Y., & Roberts, M. (2011). Natural trace elemental markers for adult red rock lobsters Jasus edwardsii vary among replicate distinct water masses. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 443, 141-151. doi: 10.3354/meps09510

Jack, L., & Wing, S. R. (2011). Individual variability in trophic position and diet of a marine omnivore is linked to kelp bed habitat. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 443, 129-139. doi: 10.3354/meps09468

Beer, N. A., Wing, S. R., & Hu, Y. (2011). Physical versus biological control of element incorporation into biogenic carbonate: An in situ experiment in a New Zealand fjord. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 433, 289-301. doi: 10.3354/meps09199

Wing, S. R., & Leichter, J. J. (2011). Variation in environmental conditions in a subtidal prey refuge: Effects of salinity stress, food availability and predation on mussels in a fjord system. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 422, 201-210. doi: 10.3354/meps08911

Beer, N. A., Wing, S. R., & Swearer, S. E. (2011). Otolith elemental evidence for spatial structuring in a temperate reef fish population. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 442, 217-227. doi: 10.3354/meps09407

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

Lawton, R. J., Wing, S. R., & Lewis, A. M. (2010). Evidence for discrete subpopulations of sea perch (Helicolenus ercoides) across four fjords in Fiordland, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Marine & Freshwater Research, 44(4), 309-322. doi: 10.1080/00288330.2010.519777

McLeod, R. J., Wing, S. R., & Skilton, J. E. (2010). High incidence of invertebrate—chemoautotroph symbioses in benthic communities of the New Zealand fjords. Limnology & Oceanography, 55(5), 2097-2106. doi: 10.4319/lo.2010.55.5.2097

Jack, L., & Wing, S. R. (2010). Maintenance of old-growth size structure and fecundity of the red rock lobster Jasus edwardsii among marine protected areas in Fiordland, New Zealand. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 404, 161-172. doi: 10.3354/meps08499

Freeman, D. J., Marshall, B. A., Ahyong, S. T., Wing, S. R., & Hitchmough, R. A. (2010). Conservation status of New Zealand marine invertebrates, 2009. New Zealand Journal of Marine & Freshwater Research, 44(3), 129-148. doi: 10.1080/00288330.2010.495373

McLeod, R. J., Wing, S. R., & Davis, J. P. (2010). Habitat conversion and species loss alters the composition of carbon sources to benthic communities. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 411, 127-136. doi: 10.3354/meps08677

Suring, E., & Wing, S. R. (2009). Isotopic turnover rate and fractionation in multiple tissues of red rock lobster (Jasus edwardsii) and blue cod (Parapercis colias): Consequences for ecological studies. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology & Ecology, 370, 56-63. doi: 10.1016/j.jembe.2008.11.014

McLeod, R. J., & Wing, S. R. (2009). Strong pathways for incorporation of terrestrially derived organic matter into benthic communities. Estuarine, Coastal & Shelf Science, 82(4), 645-653. doi: 10.1016/j.ecss.2009.02.025

Wing, S. R. (2009). Decadal-scale dynamics of sea urchin population networks in Fiordland, New Zealand are driven by juxtaposition of larval transport against benthic productivity gradients. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 378, 125-134. doi: 10.3354/meps07878

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