Position: Formerly University students – harbour ecology assistants for the summer, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Manaaki Taha Moana, University of Waikato.
Currently Technicians, University of Waikato.
Field: Coastal and estuarine ecology.
When we first spoke to David Culliford and Alice Morrison they were both students at The University of Waikato.
During the summer of 2012, they worked as harbour ecology assistants for the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. David and Alice worked on the broad-scale survey project. It involved going out to different areas of Tauranga Harbour and taking benthic core samples, sediment samples and algae quadrat photos. They sieved and processed the samples, which were then sent to the Cawthron Institute in Nelson. The work involved collecting samples, identifying animals and getting muddy. It also involved working together with different groups of people including volunteers.
David Culliford is currently working on an MSc in Biological Sciences. He has a background in the marine industry, at sea and in land-based marine studies in the Bay of Plenty. His BSc, obtained from Auckland University of Technology, majored in applied environmental science. He has also completed some contract work in the field of pollution prevention and environmental monitoring.
David’s area of particular interest concerns human influences on coastal and estuarine ecosystems, for example, stormwater run-off and groundwater seepage environmental effects.
His downtime, not surprisingly, is nearly all sea related – surfing, sailing, paddle boarding and diving. He also enjoys time with his family.
Alice completed a 2-year Diploma in Marine Studies at the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic (BOPPOLY). She now looks forward to completing a BSc in biological sciences at The University of Waikato.
During her time at BOPPOLY, she enjoyed a lot of practical study, surveying and diving. She was lucky enough to conduct coral reef research in Papua New Guinea and also worked alongside the Department of Conservation doing a baited underwater video survey of snapper abundance and size inside and outside Tūhua Marine Reserve.
Alice grew up by the beach and has always had an interest in the marine environment. However, she didn’t think of it as a career path until she learned how to dive 7 years ago.
The harbour is a precious place for all things marine, and [obtaining] more information about what is in it or going into it is important to protect it.
In her spare time, Alice enjoys diving, underwater photography, reading and spending time with her friends – especially when they go fishing!
David and Alice are still working together, now as technicians at the University of Waikato Coastal Marine Field Station in Tauranga. Their roles include scientific diving, skippering, logistics, equipment maintenance and assistance in the field and lab for teaching classes, student Masters and PhD projects and external contracts.
Both continue to be involved in the monitoring of the Rena wreck and the Astrolabe Reef. David has a senior role which includes management of the vessels, equipment and other technicians. Alice enjoys working with data and is currently working on another Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUV) study in Tauranga Harbour.
This article is based on information current in 2012 and 2018.