Susie Wood

Susie Wood

Freshwater Scientist – Microalgae and Algal Biotechnology

Role at Cawthron

Susie is a senior scientist whose expertise in biosecurity, marine and freshwater and algal biotechnology is used across Cawthron.

Her passion for the New Zealand environment stems from her experiences growing up with typical Kiwi camping trips by lakes and rivers which in turn led to university studies in biology, ecology and conservation.

She chose to study cyanobacterial algal blooms for her PhD after finding a lack of knowledge about the species in New Zealand. Her post doctoral work was done through Waikato University and Cawthron, where she started working in 2005. Susie is now considered one of the world experts in cyanobacteria.

Technical skills, experience and interests

  • Phytoplankton systematics, taxonomy, ecology and physiology
  • Microalgae and cyanobacteria isolation and culturing
  • Biotoxin analysis
  • Analytical and monitoring methodologies
  • Effects of biotoxins on aquatic ecosystems
  • Molecular techniques for detecting and enumerating microorganisms
  • Development of molecular detection techniques for marine bioinvasives
  • Microbial ecosystems in Antarctic freshwater systems
  • Tetrodotoxin

Professional affiliations

  • Associated Editor of Inland Waters (Journal of the International Society of Limnology)
  • New Zealand Freshwater Sciences Society
  • Ministry of Research, Science and Technology’s Oxygen Group


  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship. Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, 2006–2009
  • PhD (Biology). Victoria University of Wellington, 2005
Susie Wood