Mary Sewell

Job title and place of work

Associate Professor, University of Auckland.

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

RA1, RA4 and RA5.

My major role is co-ordinating the pH monitoring in the Firth of Thames, relationships with Firth of Thames iwi, and in the biological area using new –omics technologies (transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics) to determine the impacts of ocean acidification on mussels and paua at the molecular/biochemical level.

What do you do on an average work day?

As a university lecturer many of my days are spent teaching undergraduates – giving lectures, laboratories and taking students on field trips – and supervising a large number of graduate students who work with me on a wide-range of topics in marine biology, including in the area of climate change.  

Why is studying coastal acidification important?

We still have a limited understanding of the relative importance of carbon dioxide derived from the atmosphere and carbon dioxide derived from the decomposition of land-based material in contributing to coastal acidification.  The instruments that we are using in CARIM also allow us to measure the hourly, daily and seasonal changes in pH – this is very exciting to me.

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

At school I did basic Maths, English, Sciences (Biology, Physics, Chemistry), with some Geography, and Japanese.  After High School I did a BSc and MSc in Zoology at the University of Auckland, then a PhD at the University of Alberta in Canada.

What outcomes from CARIM do you think there will be?

I think we will have a better understanding of the pH environment around New Zealand, and the physiological responses of the focal species to ocean acidification.  These data will underpin the development of management responses to ocean acidification and how New Zealand responds to the threats of climate change.

What excites you about working on this project?

Working with such a great team of scientists from across New Zealand in a multi-disciplinary project.