Student Research Projects

LERNZ has a wide area of active research areas which provide opportunities for graduate research based at the University of Waikato and partner institutions.  Reseach areas include catchment hydrology, stream and lake ecology, restoration and behavioural ecology, and ecophysiology and aquatic toxicology. New opportunities for graduate research are constantly arising, please check back here regularly.

Funded Projects



Supervisor: Professor Troy Baisden

Position: Bay of Plenty Regional Council Chair in Lake and Freshwater Science at The University of Waikato

Email: troy.baisden@waikato.ac.nz

I am taking over leadership of the big lakes programme but post-grad options (many with funding) come from other grants and our relationship with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. Rather than being a traditional limnologist, I'm best thought of as having a catchment focus with expertise that spans ecology, environmental and earth sciences.


Title: Zooplankton dynamics in Lake Taupo

Project size: MSc

Project description: Quantify zooplankton in archived samples from Taupo, interpret patterns relative to Chl-a, smelt and trout numbers.

Funding: Fees and stipend

Further information: here

Posted: 30 November 2018


Title: Modelling of groundwater inflows to Lake Tarawera

Project size: MSc or PhD

Project description: Develop a model of inflows to Lake Tarawera, including flows from 6 other lake catchments. Over half these flows come in from groundwater below lake level, creating a fascinating challenge to understand how land use change can prevent further water quality decline in this iconic lake.

Funding: Fees and stipend

Further information: here

Posted: 30 November 2018


Title:  Water isotope and radiocarbon tracers for water age and source

Project size: PhD

Project description: For a student with excellent skills in (eco)hydrology and interested in instrument engineering, a position is available immediately to develop water isotope and radiocarbon tracers for water age and source. The work will primarily be in Rotorua Lakes and the Waituna catchment in Southland.

Funding: Fees and stipend

Further information: here

Posted: 30 November 2018




Supervisor: Professor Ian Hawes

Position: Professor based at University of Waikato Tauranga campus

Email:  ian.hawes@waikato.ac.nz


Title: Remote sensing of cyanobacterial blooms

Project size: MSc or PhD

Project description: We are seeking a suitably qualified graduate student to undertake research to determine the effects of growth conditions on the optical signatures of a range of taxa of cyanobacteria. This work is part of a larger project led by the University of Waikato that will investigate the development of monitoring techniques for cyanobacterial blooms based on remotely sensed optical data. Skills that this project will require or will develop include the culturing of cyanobacteria, measurement of optical properties using spectrophotometry, and handling of large datasets. Some field work, potentially under adverse conditions, may be required.

Funding: A scholarship is available for domestic students to cover fees and a living allowance for the research part of the course of study. International students will be considered, but should consult the University of Waikato website to see fee structures.

Further information: contact Professor Ian Hawes

Posted: 3 December 2018


Title: Phytoplankton Nutrient Limitation Study for Lake Rotorua

Project size: MSc (either 1-year full time or 2 years part-time)

Project description: This project will develop a regular, repeatable monitoring protocol to determine seasonal phytoplankton nutrient limitation in Lake Rotorua. Phytoplankton growth, nutrient uptake rates and concentrations of inorganic and total nutrients in relation to phytoplankton community composition will be determined at a seasonal scale. This research will help maximise the impact of current nutrient management programmes such as alum dosing of stream inflows to Lake Rotorua.

Funding: $20,000 to cover tuition fees and stipend

Further information: contact Professor Ian Hawes of Dr Grant Tempero (grant.tempero@waikto.ac.nz)

Posted: 18 February 2019