Class Year


Current Hometown:

Dunedin, New Zealand

Job and Employer

Professor at University of Otago


After almost 17 years of graduate/postdoc biological research, I now lecture in the Centre for Science Communication. I teach and research in the Science and Society ‘stream’ on topics like philosophy and aesthetics of science, participatory science and community co-creation, ArtScience etc. I collaborate with students on lots of specific projects about things like climate change and conservation biology but using a lot of non-specific tools. IN other words we integrate methods of practice from many different disciplines. We pay attention to human influence in everything from personal interpretation to societal action. -Still feels like Human Ecology turf to me and I love that my version of science communication can be taught this way! What is challenging is that the world including academia is still not set up to value and reward interdisciplinary effort. So I use this approach, but it means you have to jump through 10x as many hoops to be accepted.

I also have been serving the NZ government through my work as communication and outreach leader on a National Science Challenge called Sustainable Seas. This is how NZ hopes to achieve a functional collaboration between industry, policy, and community use of the marine environment and attempts to integrate science, traditional ecological knowledge (i.e. Matauranga Maori), and management tools.

Community work & family

Happily it all mixes- getting to study things like community co-creation of art-science conservation work ‘counts’ as science communication. So, for example, I get to help out with and help inspire/facilitate invasive predator trapping at the community level and run printmaking workshops all combined with research, …or get students involved in visualization projects with local communities impacted by sea level rise, or…

But besides from things science/society/art/environment? I still read around the edges of evolutionary theory and my partner and I keep bees and garden and wild forage for interesting food to make into preserves or soup or whiskey that he distills here on the Otago Peninsula.

Graduate School

University of Otago

Graduation Year



PhD Zoology

Senior project:

something about Environmental Variation in Spiny Dogfish Shark Sodium Potassium ATPase Genes


Jackson Lab (something about environmental mutation rates)

Human ecology in action:

In most ways…  the inter-connections are everything. The older I get the deeper I see the connections run. You can’t get away from it, much as we try, everything influences everything else in ways still immeasurable and thus unimaginable.

A COA experience that was particularly significant or memorable:

It is so hard to choose- there were the mad wonderful field experiences, the rich detailed lab/studio experiences, the close tutorials and mentorship, the room to test my own wings, and the being pushed out of the nest when required, and I guess above all the fact that it is truly still my FAMILY…a home and returning place, no matter what. That would be it.

Considerations for prospective students:

The world does not (and probably will not in foreseeable future) make it at all easy to be a jack-of-all-trades. But YOU NEED to be. It needs you to be.