Chris Cornelisen


Job title and place of work

Coastal and Freshwater Group Manager- Coastal, Cawthron Institute.

What is your role in the CARIM project? What work package are you contributing to?

I currently oversee a small component of the programme that relates to Kim’s RA (RA1) on ocean acidification monitoring. For this work, Emma Newcombe coordinates the water sampling in Tasman Bay, and Paul Barter is overseeing the gadget components of the TASCAM buoy situated near the mussel farming areas in Tasman Bay. Paul will be working with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute to enable a recently deployed seaPhOx instrument to display data relating to water quality and acidification to the public in real time.

What do you do on an average work day?

I play both the role of a scientist and a manager over the course of a day; I work on a range of projects helping to address problems relating to our coastal waters, and also work with the management team at Cawthron on implementing the Institute’s research and development strategies. I find the science bit more fun than the administrative side of things, but both are important to successfully delivering good science.

Why is studying coastal acidification important?

A lot is unknown about the future role and potential influence of coastal acidification on New Zealand’s marine ecosystems and resources. The ‘here and now’ problems such as pollution are front of mind; however, these need to be understood in light of the compounding effects of acidification, particularly in coastal environments where multiple impacts are occurring.

What study did you do at high school? And after high school?

I studied all sorts of things, and originally was an accounting major - of all things! I eventually came to my senses and followed my passion in marine science. It wasn’t until then that I started really achieving in school. 

What outcomes from CARIM do you think there will be?

I think CARIM will lead to exciting outcomes due to the many research strands feeding into the programme and the wide range of people participating in the project. A particularly important outcome will be a better understanding of where New Zealand’s coastal waters lie on the spectrum with regard to acidification today, and into the future.

What excites you about working on this project?

The new knowledge that will be generated for New Zealand – It’s sort of like filling in the pages of a new book, and not knowing what the chapters will bring.