Eco-physiology and biochemistry

Our research aims to understand how physiological and biochemical systems allow organisms to live in and adapt to a challenging marine environment.

Kelp forest

Research topics


Seaweeds are the major primary producers on rocky reefs. We are interested in how anthropogenic effects impact photosynthesis and nitrogen metabolism in these important organisms.


Our research aims to understand how basic biochemical and physiological processes influence the ecology of different fish species. We are also interested in whether the evolutionary success of some species (in terms of environmental adaptation) can offer insights for human medical science. For example, can the low O2 tolerance mechanisms of specialist intertidal fishes provide valuable clues for the treatment of human stroke patients?

Sea birds

Seabirds are considered ideal oceanic indicators. Our research seeks to identify which biological signals produced by birds are most indicative of the at-sea conditions. As a recognised seabird hotspot, the Hauraki Gulf is an ideal study system to perform this work, with access to numerous migratory and endemic seabird species.


The growth and survival of marine invertebrates often depends on a relatively narrow range of environmental conditions. Understanding the physiological tolerances and nutritional conditions of marine invertebrates can enhance our understanding of their ecology.

Coastal vegetation

Biodiversity, ecosystem services (including carbon sequestration, habitat structure, flood protection etc), and ecological function in coastal vegetation ‘blue carbon’ ecosystems including mangrove forests, salt marsh and sea grass meadows.

Related research centres

Our researchers