Nick King

Job title and place of work

Senior Scientist-Marine Aquaculture, Cawthron Institute.

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

I’m working with Norman and the team on RA5 looking at how our coastal species will adapt to the changing environment. My role is to design and build systems for manipulating the seawater environment, mixing together engineering, biology and chemistry. I’m also helping understand the role of genetics: are all shellfish created equal?

What do you do on an average work day?

My day is as varied as my role. It ranges from building and programming gas mixing systems through to creating mating designs for breeding trials. Problem solving, working with big datasets, and thinking about ways to maximise the value we get from our experiments. Oh, and playing with tiny swimming shellfish larvae.  

Why is studying coastal acidification important?

Our coastline is one of the things that defines New Zealand and we rely on it for all sorts of things. We need to understand how global scale oceanic changes will impact on our local environment. If we’re proactive, we can respond to these changes, rather than waiting and dealing with the consequences. 

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

I studied the sciences (biology, chemistry, physics, maths) at high school. When I got home from school, I loved taking things apart to see how they worked! At university, I was seduced by the complexity of biology, and focused on zoology. For my MSc, I studied the impact of an antifouling toxin on the marine environment and especially its effects on shellfish. This was a real mix of biology, chemistry and marine science, a lot like CARIM. 

What outcomes from CARIM do you think there will be?

I think we’ll have a much better idea of where the future problems will be, and where we should focus our efforts. Is New Zealand going to be affected more or less than other countries? Can we make our aquaculture industries more resilient? Can we help our Pacific neighbours? 

What excites you about working on this project?

I like the idea that we are helping piece together the ocean acidification jigsaw. Even though NZ is small, we can make a significant and unique contribution to this global issue. I love the multidisciplinary approach, where we need to connect knowledge from many different fields. Studying the seas is fascinating; it’s so complex!