Alaric McCarthy

Lena Schallenberg

Lake scientist and molecular ecologist

Role at Cawthron

Lena is a freshwater scientist who specialises in lake and aquatic microbial ecology. She is passionate about freshwater research and management in Aotearoa-New Zealand and has a variety of research and consulting experience across both terrestrial and freshwater environments. Working closely with the Freshwater and Molecular Ecology teams, she helps clients and stakeholders understand many aspects of lake health. She is an interdisciplinary scientist, working to understand and better manage our lake ecosystems using a combination of ecological, physico-chemical, statistical, and molecular approaches. Her recent research interests include the development of robust eDNA techniques for targeted lake applications and exploring the role of microbial and viral dynamics in how lakes function.

Technical skills, experience and interests

  • Molecular techniques in aquatic systems (optimising eDNA metabarcoding, genomics, metagenomics)

  • Bioinformatics

  • Implementation of the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPS-FM)

  • Lake nutrient cycling

  • Hydrodynamic lake modelling

  • Aquatic microbial ecology

  • Phytoplankton and cyanobacterial ecology

  • Microalgal isolation and culturing

  • Outreach and teaching

  • Extensive field experience


  • PhD Zoology, University of Otago, Dunedin

  • PgDipSci Biological Sciences, University of Waikato, Hamilton

  • BSc Ecology, University of Otago, Dunedin

Professional Affiliations

  • International Society of Limnology (SIL) – Executive Board, ECR Global Outreach, 2022- 2025
  • New Zealand Freshwater Sciences Society


Alaric McCarthy