Coastal and Freshwater

Lakes and coastal lagoons

Cawthron Institute scientists have unique expertise and knowledge of New Zealand lakes and coastal lagoons

Cawthron scientists work throughout New Zealand on a range of applied science and management projects focusing on lakes and coastal lagoons. We study a variety of species found in lakes and coastal lagoons to understand key factors driving ecological and water quality responses.

There are 3820 lakes and coastal lagoons (larger than one hectare) distributed throughout New Zealand, from high alpine glacial tarns to brackish coastal lagoons, and each with its own highly dynamic ecosystem.

The water quality and ecology of these lakes can differ significantly depending on environmental factors such as depth, area, altitude, catchment land cover, and their relationship to river networks. These fundamental differences drive variation in stratification, mixing patterns, water clarity, nutrient cycling, and influence our ability to mitigate, maintain or restore lake health.

Our lake and coastal lagoon specialists are David KellySusie Wood, Rasmus Gabrielsson, Jonathan Puddick, Karen Shearer, Marc Jary and Daniel List.

We have unique expertise and knowledge of New Zealand lakes and coastal lagoons. Our scientists work alongside industry (including the hydro and irrigation sectors), regional councils, Department of Conservation, iwi, farmers, anglers and local communities to improve catchment management and ensure the ongoing health of lakes and coastal lagoons.

Cawthron's capabilities in this area include:

  • Water quality assessments 
  • Lake and reservoir modelling (e.g., mixing, stratification, nutrient cycling) 
  • Phytoplankton and algal blooms (Cyanobacteria) 
  • Lake food webs (aquatic plants, invertebrates, fisheries) 
  • Lake rehabilitation and restoration 
  • Lake monitoring and environmental reporting 
  • Lake policy development - limit setting, water quality standards

Find out more:

Contact David Kelly, Team Leader, Freshwater Fisheries.

Contact us

Contact us

+64 3 548 2319