Alaric McCarthy

Finnbar Lee

Freshwater Ecologist

Role at Cawthron

Finn is a Quantitative Freshwater Ecologist in the River and Lake Ecology team. He has worked on applied issues such as understanding the role of land use change in determining the distribution of native and introduced freshwater species, and more theoretical topics such as using simulation modelling methods to better understand how spatiotemporal environmental variability affects patterns of diversity and extinction risk in freshwater ecosystems. Finn is also involved in data science projects, including cleaning, analysing, and visualising complex datasets via open-source software such as R, QGIS and Julia.

Finn works with a variety clients and collaborators from universities, government departments and regional councils around New Zealand and internationally.

Technical skills, experience and interests

  • Ecological monitoring programmes
  • Applying metapopulation and metacommunity theory to understand extinction risk and patterns of diversity in freshwater ecosystems
  • Freshwater fish ecology
    Invasive species ecology
  • Land use change effects on freshwater communities
  • Simulation modelling (discrete time logistic growth models, population viability analyses, agent-based modelling)
  • Statistical modelling (species distribution modelling, multivariate analyses)


  • PhD Environmental Science, The University of Auckland, 2021
  • MSc Environmental Science, The University of Auckland, 2016
  • BSc Ecology & Biodiversity (Minor in Statistics), Victoria University of Wellington, 2013

Professional Affiliations

  • New Zealand Freshwater Science Society
  • New Zealand Ecological Society

Alaric McCarthy