Joanne Clapcott

Joanne Clapcott

Team Leader – Freshwater Ecosystems

Role at Cawthron

Joanne is a freshwater ecologist with a strong interest in the connectivity within and among freshwater ecosystems, including people. She has researched the interaction between land uses and waterways in small headwater streams to desert billabongs in Australia through to urban streams and large non-wadeable rivers in Aotearoa. She has helped develop frameworks and standardised indicators for the assessment and reporting of river health. This requires expertise in both structural and functional indicators of river health (not just what is there, but what it is doing), and a strong conceptual knowledge of lotic ecosystems from small streams to large rivers.

In her current role at Cawthron Institute, Joanne is Team Leader of Freshwater Ecosystems – an enthusiastic team focussed on applied research that has impact, ultimately to improve environmental wellbeing. Increasingly, this means working with tangata whenua and communities to recognise and nurture the link between environmental wellbeing and social and cultural wellbeing.

Technical skills, experience and interests

  • River health assessment

  • Land-water interactions

  • River restoration

  • Ecosystem metabolism and organic matter dynamics

  • Social-ecological systems

  • Collaborative research for environmental sustainability

  • Project leadership and management

Professional affiliations

  • New Zealand Freshwater Sciences Society
  • Australian Freshwater Sciences Society
  • Society for Freshwater Science

Iwi affiliation

  • Ngāti Porou


  • PhD (Freshwater Ecology), University of Tasmania, 2007
  • MSc (Environmental Science) Griffith University, 2001
  • BSc (Zoology, Environmental Science), Massey University, 1995



Joanne Clapcott