Sustainable Sea Breakfast Talk: Forecasting Contamination

Presented in partnership with the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge, with marine biophysical scientist from Cawthron Institute, Ben Knight and research scientist, Lincoln Mackenzie.

Join us at the Maritime Museum in August & September, where speakers from the Sustainable Seas challenge will discuss their research and future of our oceans.

Our coasts are at the ‘end of the pipe’ for discharge from local rivers and streams, so seawater quality is sometimes compromised by bacteria from, or algal blooms caused by, land-based activities. This can have detrimental effects on human health, affect seafood and aquaculture harvesting, and close local beaches to public use.


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This breakfast talk will explore a forecasting tool developed by project lead Ben Knight and national experts from Cawthron, NIWA & MetOcean Solutions Ltd, which provides a real-time ‘weather map’ prediction of bacteria in the sea. Lincoln Mackenzie, leading another team from Cawthron, will discuss two innovative tests that are simple, cost-effective and sensitive that can be used by public health agencies, the aquaculture industry and communities for early detection of harmful algal blooms (HABs).

Coastal communities benefit from improved detection of HABs and more accurate and timely forecasting of bacterial contamination because they help to ensure that: beaches are not closed when levels are within safe limits; customary and aquaculture harvesting is not unnecessarily restricted, and risks of recall of contaminated products are reduced.

About the speakers

Ben Knight is a marine biophysical scientist with over 10 years’ research and consulting experience in coastal systems in New Zealand and Europe. His primary area of expertise is the development and application of modelling and remote sensing tools to assist in finding sustainable resource use solutions for coastal marine systems. Ben thrives on finding interesting solutions to complex problems and presenting them in a clear and open format to ensure widespread understanding of system dynamics and uncertainties.

Lincoln Mackenzie is a research scientist focusing on marine ecosystem research, particularly harmful algal blooms, marine biotoxins and environmental effects of aquaculture. He advises New Zealand’s aquaculture industry, public health protection authorities and seafood export regulatory authorities.


About the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge

The Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge is one of 11 National Science Challenges. It is hosted by NIWA and is a multi-disciplinary programme of research in collaboration with over 30 organisations including Cawthron Limited.  The objective of the Sustainable Seas Challenge is to enhance the utilisation of New Zealand’s marine resources within environmental and biological constraints.  

You can follow @Sust_seasNZ on Twitter or subscribe to the newsletter on the Sustainable Seas website.

Sustainable Sea Breakfast Talk Series at the Maritime Museum

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