Coastal science expert Dr Chris Battershill compares the Rena oil spill to similar events overseas, and reviews its impact on the coastal marine environment. He will focus on environmental toxicology and mixtures of contaminants, and offer an overview of how New Zealand is placed to predict the ecological consequences of such events.
The Rena grounding has highlighted both the value and vulnerability of our coastal domain. It has demonstrated the effectiveness of a fast response and the importance of access to a robust knowledge-base drawn from Matauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) and western science.
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Chris Battershill PhD, Dip AICD, MRSNZ, MIMarEST
Dr Chris Battershill became the inaugural Chair of Coastal Science at the University of Waikato in 2011. At the Australian Institute of Marine Science, he led the Marine Biodiversity Team (responsible for research into tropical reef conservation, monitoring, risk prediction, and sustainable use of biodiversity) for 12 years.
Battershill returned to New Zealand for a period with the Department of Conservation as their senior marine scientist. He then had 10 years with the New Zealand Oceanographic Institute/NIWA, where he established a biodiscovery program within the Institute.
Throughout his career, Battershill has maintained active interest in environmental toxicology and marine invasive species ecology. He is currently active in research associated with biodiversity assessments, surrogacy for benthic marine mapping, conservation ecology, marine resource exploration, and predicting environmental effects associated with the oil and gas industry. New species aquaculture (particularly for production of biomedicinal compounds) together with chemical ecology is a specialty.