Head appointed for new Institute of Marine Science

11 September 2013

Professor Simon Thrush from the National Institute of Water and Atmosphere (NIWA) and School of Environment has been appointed Head of the University of Auckland’s new Institute of Marine Science.

“We are privileged to appoint a person of Simon’s caliber to lead the University’s new Institute of Marine Science,” says Dean of Science Professor Grant Guilford.

“Marine science is increasingly important, as we face growing environmental challenges in marine and coastal environments, pressure on fisheries, and reliance on aquaculture. The establishment of the Institute of Marine Science, and Simon’s appointment as its head, reflect the University’s comment to this critical field.”

Professor Thrush has spent much of his career at NIWA where he is currently Principal Scientist Coastal Ecosystems. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and has received numerous honours during his career, including the New Zealand Marine Sciences Life Time Achievement Award for his outstanding contribution to estuarine and coastal studies.

Professor Thrush is an expert in the ecology of marine ecosystems who has conducted research both here and overseas. His present focus is the ecology of marine communities, particularly in estuarine and coastal habitats. He is also interested in ecosystem function, change in ecosystems over time and space, ecosystem disturbance and recovery, and ecological impact assessment.

He will take up the position of Head of the Institute of Marine Science in January 2014.

The university is an internationally recognised centre for marine science, and the new institute aims to continue building this reputation and improve our understanding of the marine environment.

It draws together marine science expertise and facilities from across the University, for a multidisciplinary approach that includes ocean physics, chemistry and geology, statistics, fisheries, marine biology, aquaculture, environmental science, as well as business and engineering.

It also maintains collaborations with a range of New Zealand and overseas businesses and research organisations, including NIWA, the Cawthron Institute and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

The institute has a strong research and postgraduate focus and also supports undergraduate teaching at the University’s city campus. It has an outstanding field research base at the Leigh Marine Laboratory, and incorporates the highly successful Joint Graduate School in Coastal and Marine Science established by the University and NIWA.