Freshwater Ecology Research Group


The Freshwater Ecology Research Group (FERG) is a large research group within the School of Biological Sciences, consisting of Professor Angus McIntosh, Professor Jon Harding, and Emeritus Professor Mike Winterbourn, plus numerous post-doctoral research fellows, graduate students and technical support personnel.

FERG research is primarily field-based, and covers a broad array of applied and theoretical ecological topics including the natural history of New Zealand’s freshwater biota, the influence of land-use change, acid mine drainage, ecosystem size and disturbance on stream communities, and biogeochemistry and nutrient cycling.



PhD Scholarships (2) in Freshwater Ecology

The Freshwater Ecology Group is offering two fully-funded PhD studentships in freshwater ecology. This is a chance for high-calibre students to join successful research teams investigating important issues and the fundamental processes which underpin them to find solutions for freshwater management. We are looking for students who can undertake innovative research that will both improve our understanding of fundamental issues in freshwater ecology while also enhancing local watershed management practices.

Scholarship 1: Solutions for in-stream nutrient management in waterway restoration

Our team is undertaking the Canterbury Waterway Rehabilitation Experiment (CAREX) which is focussing on three main issues common in many farm waterways: nuisance macrophytes, excessive sediments and high nutrients. The team has just completed five years of research on riparian management and is now focused on trialling potential in-stream rehabilitation tools. The CAREX research programme is based primarily around ten agriculturally-impacted waterways within the Canterbury Region in conjunction with a large number of stakeholders. The project is funded by the Mackenzie Charitable Foundation with the overall goal of improving the rehabilitation of agriculturally-impacted streams in Canterbury. Full details (PDF, 160KB)

Scholarship 2: Flow-related controls on stream food webs

Flow alteration is likely to combine with nutrient enrichment, sedimentation and other contaminants to considerably alter stream food webs, especially in lowland Canterbury where water abstraction and low flows are common. Focusing particularly on flow alterations, this PhD will involve investigation of the key influences of these stressors on food webs. Full details (PDF, 100KB)

CAREX Outreach Day at Silverstream (3 April 2014)

This week the CAREX (Canterbury Waterway Rehabilitation Experiment) team held a field day with Biology students from Riccarton High School. About 60 students visited Silverstream, a dairy farm stream which flows into the Selwyn River. The students looked at a spring wetland, undertook a crowd sourcing photo survey, sampled for benthic invertebrates, and heard about freshwater fish conservation. Thank you to the landowners and farmers who helped out, it was a great day!

Recent FERG Award Winners (28 March 2014)

Congratulations to three FERG students who have recently recieved awards and scholarships:

Amanda Klemmer has been awarded the Peterson Fund Travel Award of $1,200 for travel to the Annual Meeting of the Society for Freshwater Science in Portland, Oregon. Only one award is awarded to students studying outside of American universities to attend the annual meeting.

Nixie Boddy received the Vida Stout Scholarship for students doing a PhD studying limnology and/or environmental science in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Canterbury. This is a three-year scholarship valued at $8,500 for the first year and $11,250 for the two subsequent years, and only one student can hold it at a time.

Richard White was awarded the Roper Scholarship which is three-year PhD scholarship given to the highest scoring domestic PhD applicant in the Science Department at UC.

From left: Richard White, Nixie Boddy, Amanda Klemmer.

PhD Scholarship in Freshwater Restoration Ecology (25 February 2014)

We offer a fully funded PhD studentship in freshwater and restoration ecology research. This is a chance for a high-calibre student to join a successful research team investigating important applied issues and the fundamental processes which underpin them, to find solutions in an agricultural landscape. Full details, PDF (170KB).