Lead supervisor: Angus McIntosh
In 2019 I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Ecology and Zoology from the University of Otago, New Zealand. In one of the final years of my studies I was lucky enough to be selected to travel to Brunei Darussalam, Borneo to study the anuran communities in a tropical rainforest ecosystem. Under the supervision of Emeritus Professor Phil Bishop, and Professor Christoph Matthaei, three weeks were spent at the Kuala Belalong Field Studies Centre in Ulu Temburong National Park with 9 of my fellow classmates. Across 8 separate nights we performed visual and acoustic surveys along the Sungai Apan river to study the varied amphibian communities residing in this diverse ecosystem. This once in a lifetime experience peaked my interest in perusing freshwater ecology as a career path. So when, in my final year at Otago an opportunity arose to work in conjunction with Professor Gerry Closs (UoO), and Dr Tanya Blakely (Boffa Miskell), to assess the effects culverts have on freshwater fish migration, I jumped at the chance to research further aspects of freshwater ecology. This research internship ignited a passion for understanding aspects of native freshwater fish in New Zealand, and the potential conservation challenges they face. I am now studying my Master’s in Ecology at the University of Canterbury, and I am assessing the effects trout influence on native non-migratory galaxiids (NMG) under natural and reduced flow conditions. This research is supervised by Professor Angus McIntosh (UC), Dr Jonathan Tonkin (UC), and Dr Nixie Boddy (DoC), and funded by DoC. Over the 2020-2021 summer I have been using electric fishing, and mark-recapture techniques to assess NMG population abundances, growth rate, and size distributions in streams with and without trout, which exhibit a drying flow regime. The overarching aims of my research is to determine how NMG and non-native trout interact between areas of low-flow and permanently flowing sections of stream, and to investigate the influence trout exert on important aspects of NMG populations under these varying flow conditions to inform conservation actions for NMG.