Aquifer Project People

Kim Handley (School of Biological Sciences, the University of Auckland). Role on project: Kim is the project’s principal investigator. Her key focus is on omic analyses, and interpreting these data alongside geochemical data with PhD students Olivia and Emilie.

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Emilie Gios (PhD student, University of Auckland; email: egio599@aucklanduni.ac.nz)

Role on project: Phase one. Life habits of groundwater communities and response to nutrient pollution. I am interested in studying how anthropogenic perturbations such as nutrient input in the environment impact microbial communities. In this project, I will use a multi-omics approach to explore groundwater ecosystems and their metabolic potential, and try to understand how interconnected those metabolic processes are.

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Olivia Mosley (PhD student, University of Auckland; email: omos895@aucklanduni.ac.nz)

Role on projectPhase two. Genome-informed hypothesis testing approach.
I am interested in finding signature genes and organisms that indicate the health of  unconsolidated aquifer systems.  The main focus being nitrate pollution and identifying key microbial processes in the nitrogen cycle.  I will be performing a survey across aquifers nationwide to test hypotheses created from the main well series. In addition to this, I will be looking at other evidence of anthropogenic activity such as pathogens.

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Murray Close (ESR, Christchurch)

Role on project: Murray is a national groundwater quality expert with >90 peer-reviewed publications on groundwater quality and contamination. MC helped develop the MfE sponsored National Objectives Framework as part of the Groundwater Science Panel 2012-2013. Murray provides access to, and local expertise on, our proposed N-gradient wells, annually collected geochemical data, and facilitates sampling the sediment-attached and planktonic aquifer fractions using a novel sonication method.

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Louise Weaver (ESR, Christchurch).

Role on project: Louise is a eukaryotic-prokaryotic microbiologist and drinking water quality expert at ESR, and has experience in recovering RNA from aquifer, identification of agriculturally-derived pathogens, and pathogen transport mechanisms. Louise will contributes expertise in identifying groundwater health indicators using molecular techniques.

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Chris Daughney (GNS, Wellington).

Role on project: Chris is Division Director of Environment and Materials at GNS, and a geochemist and geomicrobiologist with extensive knowledge on nationwide aquifers and groundwater geochemistry. Chris produced the nationwide groundwater quality indicators consultancy reports for MfE (2009 and 2015), a national protocol for groundwater sampling for MfE (2006), and has a long track record of working on groundwater projects with the Greater Wellington Regional Council.

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Heather Martindale (GNS, Wellington)

Role on project: Measurement of microbial denitrification

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Rob van der Raaij (GNS, Wellington)

Role on project: Measurement of microbial denitrification

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Karen Houghton (GNS, Wellington)

Role on project: Cultivation of groundwater microorganisms