Matthew Bennion

In May 2016 I completed my BSc (Hons) in Applied Freshwater and Marine Biology at the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology. After my degree, I began working at the National University of Ireland, Galway. There, my work focused on the use of different biota as biomonitors of trace metal pollution. I’ve spent the last year using remote sensing tools to map kelp distribution in the NE Atlantic with the Macroalgal Research Group. 

In March 2018 I came to New Zealand to begin my PhD with the University of Waikato. As part of Team Toheroa, my research will focus on a recently detected non-infectious disease and potential pathogen in toheroa (Paphies ventricosa). In 2017, members of Team Toheroa observed Rickettsia-like organisms (RLOs) and gas bubble disease in deceased toheroa from Ripiro Beach. I will be investigating the spatial and seasonal pathogenicity of RLOs in toheroa and tuatua (P. subtriangulata), with particular focus on the physiological and ecological implications of this potential pathogen in populations around New Zealand.