Moira is a Postdoctoral Fellow at NIWA Wellington, specializing on zooplankton ecology in marine pelagic environments.
Her main interests involve trophic structure and material fluxes within the pelagic food-web, including a mechanistic understanding of the factors determining energy transfer from phytoplankton to zooplankton (grazing), the links between protistan and metazoan zooplankton, and relations to carbon export.
She uses a variety of methods to investigate the processes involved (grazing and production rates, trophic linkages, community composition, etc.) which include pigment estimation, bulk and compound-specific stable isotopes, microscopy, and incubations. Primary production ultimately fuels the marine pelagic, yet zooplankton are the essential intermediates that package and modify material and energy, significantly influencing elemental cycling and ecosystem function.
Understanding the linkages between phyto-, micro- and mesozooplankton, and the spatial and temporal variability of the determinant processes, are key to predicting short and long-term patterns in energy and elemental cycling, as well as the structure and function of pelagic food-webs.