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Dr Adam Smith staff profile picture

Contact details +64 (09) 414 0800  ext. 43195

Dr Adam Smith

Senior Lecturer

School of Natural and Computational Sciences

I have been actively involved in research in biostatistics since 2002, with a particular emphasis on the interface between ecology, conservation, and statistics. I have worked as an ecological statistician in the science group at the Department of Conservation (DOC) in Christchurch, and then in the fisheries modelling group at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) in Wellington. In 2009, I moved to Auckland to undertake a PhD under the supervision of Marti Anderson at Massey University. Nearing the end of my PhD, in July 2013 I took a position as Lecturer in Statistics in the Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences at Massey Albany.

am interested in all aspects of applied statistics, but particularly in studies of marine ecology, fisheries, and conservation. In particular, as part of my PhD, I worked on a new approach to zero inflation for count data, applied in a Bayesian context to evaluate the effects of marine reserves on snapper Pagrus auratus. I am also examining the effects of marine reserves and habitat features on crypto-benthic fishes, especially triplefins. In the past, I have worked on a diverse array of projects, including species distribution modelling of Antarctic plankton and New Zealand fishes using boosted regression trees, fisheries stock assessments of paua and crayfish, ecological restoration of Californian freshwater communities, and the biological evaluation of a Marine Environment Classification. I was co-author on the paper that recognised Maui’s dolphin, a subspecies of Hector’s dolphin. 

I am an applied statistician specialising in the analysis of ecological data, particularly from the marine environment.

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Contact details

  • Ph: 43195
    Location: 3.09, IIMS
    Campus: Albany

Research Expertise


Resource Development and Management, Future Food Systems

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Applied Statistics (010401):
Biogeography and Phylogeography (060302): Biological Sciences (060000):
Biostatistics (010402):
Community Ecology (060202):
Conservation and Biodiversity (050202):
Ecology (060200):
Environmental Science and Management (050200): Environmental Sciences (050000):
Evolutionary Biology (060300): Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology) (060205):
Mathematical Sciences (010000): Statistics (010400)

Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Project Leader 2 4

Research Outputs

Teaching and Supervision

Teaching Statement

  • 161.250 Data Analysis for Biological Science
  • 161.331 Biostatistics
  • 161.778 Biostatistics for Researchers
  • 161.324 Data Mining
  • 161.777 Practical Data Mining

Courses Coordinated

Summary of Doctoral Supervision

Position Current Completed
Supervisor 2 0
Co-supervisor 4 2

Current Doctoral Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • Odette Howarth - Doctor of Philosophy
    "Applications of baited remote underwater videos (BRUVs) for monitoring fish assemblages in the Hauraki Gulf”
  • Amir Bashir - Doctor of Philosophy
    Sparse summaries of complex covariance structures

Co-supervisor of:

  • Andre Samayoa - Doctor of Philosophy
    Understanding the distribution of genetic diversity in New Zealand’s marine realm
  • Michael Gordon - Doctor of Philosophy
    Statistical analysis of crowd sourcing science projects
  • Enzo Rodriguez-Reyes - Doctor of Philosophy
    Spatial and behavioral ecology of two isolated populations of the Floreana Mockingbird: laying the basis for reintroduction
  • Helen Smith - Doctor of Philosophy
    Source attribution models for whole genome sequencing data

Completed Doctoral Supervision

Co-supervisor of:

  • 2019 - Nurudeen Adedayo Adegoke - Doctor of Philosophy
    Contributions to improve the power, efficiency and scope of control-chart methods
  • 2018 - David Acuna Marrero - Doctor of Philosophy
    Spatial ecology and human perceptions toward sharks in the Galapagos marine reserve

Media and Links


  • 13 Nov 2015 - Newspaper
    Opinion article in New Zealand Herald
    Adam Smith: Cause or coincidence? TV3's mistreatment of a serious issue
  • 08 Aug 2016 - Newspaper
    Blue shark washes up on Stanmore Bay beach
    Quoted in NZ Herald article about a blue shark which I collected from a local beach and donated to Auckland Museum
  • 08 Aug 2016 - Newspaper
    Shark washed up on beach a lover not a fighter
    Quoted in NZ Herald article about a blue shark which I collected from a local beach and donated to Auckland Museum
  • 01 Apr 2014 - Newspaper
    Newspaper article in the New Zealand Herald
    The article "Saving our sea life: Snapper snapshot reveals riches", by Jamie Morton, featured my research on snapper numbers in marine reserves.

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