Sean Waters

Sean Waters

Freshwater Scientist – Limnology and aquatic geochemistry

Role at Cawthron

Sean is a freshwater scientist with the Environmental Flows and Fisheries Team in the Coastal and Freshwater Group. He is involved in a range of projects focused primarily on lake ecosystems. His main area of expertise relates to biogeochemical processes related to nutrient cycling, as well as contaminant transport and fate in aquatic systems.

Sean decided on a career in the freshwater science due to a longstanding affinity for the outdoors and a desire to play a part in the sustainable management of our natural resources. Prior to science, Sean had a long career in experiential leadership development, outdoor education and guiding. He has an extensive background in mountaineering, has been involved in first ascents around the world and was NZ Mountaineer of the Year in 2005.

Technical skills, experience and interests

  • Physical limnology
  • Aquatic geochemistry
  • Nutrient dynamics in freshwater systems
  • Shallow coastal lake systems
  • Stream gauging and hydrology
  • Contaminant speciation
  • Contaminant transport and fate in freshwater systems
  • Geochemical modelling

Professional affiliations

New Zealand Freshwater Sciences Society


  • PhD (Water Resource Management), University of Canterbury, 2016
  • MApplSc (Environmental Management) Lincoln University, 2011.
  • MSc (Geology), University of Otago, 1993


Sean Waters