Position: Professor, Field: Fresh water systems, Organisation: University of Waikato.
David studied science at Otago University. In his third year, he went on a field trip where students had to do a stream study. David was intrigued by the abundance of invertebrates in the stream. He was so amazed by the wealth of life he observed in the water that he decided that this was an area he wanted to learn more about.
David finished his studies in Dunedin, which led him to doing a PhD investigating shallow lake ecology, particularly how wind influences lake ecosystems. This project required intense fieldwork, spending many hours on boats – work that not only interested him a lot but that he also enjoyed doing.
After finishing his PhD, David accepted a post-doctoral position at the University of Western Australia in Perth. Interestingly enough, he was studying Sydney’s water quality using computer models rather than conducting the fieldwork himself. The team he was working with in Perth was of such high standing that they conducted water quality studies all over the world, which also brought him to places like Malaysia, Israel and other countries.
One of David’s achievements was the development of models that predict water quality – one of these models is now used in over 80 countries around the world.
After spending 12 years in Perth, a position became available back in New Zealand that was a dream come true for David, because it combined his passion for lake studies, water quality and modelling, with coming back to New Zealand. David took up the position of Environment Bay of Plenty Chair in Lakes Management and Restoration, based in Biological Sciences at the University of Waikato, where he is now studying the 12 lakes in the Rotorua region.
This useful website tells you about the work that is being done in lake restoration. LERNZ stands for Lake Ecosystem Restoration New Zealand.
This article is based on information current in 2009.