Our Team

The group includes Professors, Researchers and Collaborators as well as past and present Postgraduate and Masters Students. Meet the team!

Key Researchers

Prof. David R. Schiel
David is Distinguished Professor of Marine Science. He founded and leads the Marine Ecology Research Group.
Dr. Mike Hickford
Mike is a long-standing Research Associate and has helped, lead and managed the Marine Ecology Research Group for many years.
Dr. Mads Solgaard Thomsen
I am an ecologist researching environmental impacts on coastal plant and animal communities.
Dr. Tommaso Alestra
I am a marine ecologist with 13 years of research experience in intertidal and subtidal benthic systems.
Dr. John Pirker
Research interests include marine ecology and aquaculture.
Dr. Shane Orchard
Aquatic scientist specialising in environmental impact and resilience assessment for natural resources and ecosystems.


Dr. Robyn Dunmore
Robyn is a marine ecologist who specialises in rocky shore ecology. Robyn has worked on a wide range of projects …
Dr. Leigh Tait
Marine ecologist specialising in ecophysiology and the application of remote and in situ sampling techniques.
Prof. Chris Battershill
Chris holds the inaugural Bay of Plenty Regional Council Chair in Coastal Science, based in Tauranga
Prof. Ian Hawes
Ian is at the Waikato University coastal lab in Tauranga.

PhD Students

Francois Thoral
Remote sensing of light and impact on macroalgae along NZ coastline.
Shawn Gerrity
Recovery, restoration, and population dynamics of New Zealand blackfoot abalone (pāua) affected by large-scale disturbance and mass-mortality.
Mareike Babuder
Tipping points and resilience of turbid rocky reef habitats.
Spencer Virgin
Ecophisiology of limpets on New Zealand rocky shores.
Andrew Watson
Effects of whitebait fishing on population dynamics and structure of īnanga (Galaxias maculatus)
Daniel Crossett
Resilience, recovery and changing reef conditions along the Kaikoura coast, post earthquake.

Masters Students

Ben Crichton
My M.Sc. research seeks to provide insight into how the whitebait fishery influences the populations dynamics of these kōkopu.
Derek Gerber
Determining the effects of marine heatwaves in co-occurring foundation species.