Marine ecology research

At Massey University our quantitative, multidisciplinary marine ecology team has expertise spanning biogeography, quantitative genetics, molecular ecology, population ecology, and conservation biology. Our research spans intertidal, estuarine, coastal, and oceanic marine systems.

Marine mammalogy

We have an active team of staff and postgraduate students working on all aspects of cetacean biology, ecology, and conservation within and beyond New Zealand waters. Our research has a strong focus on the conservation and management of marine populations, specifically the anthropogenic impacts of tourism, fisheries interactions, and pollution.

Marine evolutionary ecology

Our research investigates the evolutionary and ecological processes that determine the structure of populations and communities. We use a range of quantitative genetic and population genetic/genomic techniques in combination with field experiments to address questions on population connectivity, local adaptation, and the distribution of genetic diversity in natural populations.

Biodiversity and biogeography

This field of research spans the biodiversity hierarchy from genes to ecosystems. We investigate how evolutionary processes, traits, environmental variation, and interactions among species influence community assembly and drive biogeographic patterns. Our research involves data-mining existing archives, surveys by scuba diving, and cutting-edge underwater video methods.

Marine fisheries and conservation

Our research directly informs the management and conservation of marine resources, with projects including estimating the effects of marine reserves on rocky reef fishes, monitoring populations of shellfish, assessment of anthropogenic impacts on marine mammal populations and surveying sharks in the Galapagos Islands


Coastal Marine Research Group


Our team of staff and postgraduate students undertake marine ecological research within and beyond New Zealand waters, concentrating largely on conservation and management orientated questions.

Research foci include the anthropogenic impacts on marine systems, the biology and population ecology of marine organisms and marine ecosystem dynamics. Our specific strengths include marine mammal biology and ecology and quantitative marine ecology. Since 1998 our research efforts have broadened from marine mammals to include other marine taxa such as birds, reptiles, and fish.


Key Contacts

Our team

  • Dr David Aguirre

    Dr David Aguirre

    Senior Lecturer in Marine Ecology - Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences

  • Prof Marti Anderson

    Prof Marti Anderson

    Chair in Statistics - New Zealand Institute for Advanced Study

  • Dr Libby Liggins

    Dr Libby Liggins

    Lecturer in Marine Ecology - Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences

  • Dr Mat Pawley

    Dr Mat Pawley

    Senior Lecturer - Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences

  • Dr Adam Smith

    Dr Adam Smith

    Lecturer - Statistics - Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences

  • Dr Karen Stockin

    Dr Karen Stockin

    Senior Lecturer - Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences

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