Sam Mc Cormack is a PhD student at the University of Waikato. His research focuses on the identification of marine sponges using alpha taxonomy, DNA barcoding and next generation sequencing techniques. He has previously carried out research on the biodiversity and abundance of sponges from the Bay of Plenty region. Sam has an interest in investigating the bio-chemical composition of sea sponges to classify and identify them.
The primary aim of Sam’s study is to record the species distributions, abundance and diversity of sponge communities in New Zealand. He will be focusing on the Kermadec Islands and the East Coast of the North Island. He is one of the few taxonomists in New Zealand who practices the dying art of sponge taxonomy and can describe the morphological characteristics of sponge species. His day-to-day work involves the collection of marine sub-tidal invertebrates.