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


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


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

Supervisor: Dr Clare Browne

Position: Lecturer


I have developed a special interest in the behaviour of domestic dogs, and how this knowledge can be used in scent detection applications for conservation purposes, as well as other fields such as biosecurity and medical research.

Title:  New approaches to detect invasive fish using scent-detection dogs and environmental DNA

Project size: PhD and MSc available

Project description: We are seeking applications for two scholarships, one PhD and one Master's, to research dogs' ability to detect the odour of invasive freshwater fish in water samples

Funding: PhD - NZ$27,500/y + NZ domestic tuition fees for three years.

               : MSc - NZ$17,000 + $6,000 towards NZ domestic tuition fees.

Further information: here

Posted: 30 November 2018 

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