Find out more about the people behind Cawthron Institute.

Paul Gillespie

Marine Scientist – Coastal and Estuarine Ecosystems


  • Post-Doctoral Fellow. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, 1974–1977
  • Post-Doctoral Fellow. Cawthron Institute, 1971–1973
  • Post-Doctoral Fellow. Oregon State University, 1970–1971
  • PhD (Microbiology/Oceanography). Oregon State University, 1971
  • MSc (Bacteriology). South Dakota State University, 1967
  • BSc (Bacteriology). South Dakota State University, 1965

Role at Cawthron

Paul is a marine scientist in the Coastal and Freshwater Group. He is the manager of a research investigation into land catchment effects on coastal and estuarine ecosystems. He has a particular expertise in water quality, benthic microbial processes, nutrient dynamics and primary production.

Technical skills, experience and interests

  • Microbial ecology of aquatic habitats and the effects of nutrient enrichment on microbial processes
  • Collection of benchmark data (physical, chemical, biological) for development of methods for environmental quality assessment
  • State of enrichment of New Zealand lakes according to microbial characteristics
  • Studies of phytoplankton and benthic microalgal production, ecology in coastal environments, estimates of autotrophic and heterotrophic processes on intertidal flats
  • Identification of the comparative state of enrichment of a variety of natural and disturbed intertidal habitats and to develop a national protocol for the assessment and monitoring of estuarine health
  • Effects of land use activities on the coastal marine environment and biological resources of Tasman Bay
  • Development of the river plume ecosystem approach as a major step towards integrated coastal management
  • Site evaluations for marine farm developments
  • A wide range of coastal impact assessments, including large-scale herbicide spraying of invading Spartina grass in salt marsh habitats, marine farming, wastewater outfalls, land disposal of sewage sludge, log harvesting and sedimentation, harbour maintenance activities and ferry wake disturbances
  • Presentation of expert evidence at environmental planning tribunals and consent hearings
  • External peer review services for ecological investigations
  • Knowledge transfer record includes 40 publications in refereed scientific journals and more than 120 reports to clients.

Professional affiliations

  • American Society for Limnology and Oceanography
  • American Society for Microbiology
  • New Zealand Marine Sciences Society

Publication links

+64 3 548 2319
[email protected]