Vonda Cummings

Job title and place of work

Marine ecologist, NIWA Wellington.

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

RA4: Determine the acclimation potential of iconic species to future coastal acidification.

Through a number of different experiments we will investigate how paua, green lipped mussels (from spat to adults), and young snapper, survive, develop and grow under future predicted levels of ocean pH. 

RA6: Consequences of coastal acidification for key species.

Here we combine what we have learned from the other parts of the project - about paua and green lipped mussels and their responses to OA, about actual and anticipated ocean acidity in different parts of NZ - and use various models to help predict how populations might be affected longer term.

What do you do on an average work day?

I sit (or stand) at my new desk and analyse data from experiments, write up the findings, and write proposals to get funding for more research. I may also get to the OA room where our paua experiments are running, and do some measurements. 

Why is studying coastal acidification important?

So we can be prepared for how our coasts and oceans might function in the future, and we can do as much as possible now to minimise the impacts.

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

Biology, English and Art. Then a BSc Honours in Zoology at Otago, and a PhD in Biological Sciences at Auckland.

What outcomes from CARIM do you think there will be?

Some major advances in understanding on implications of ocean acidification to NZ coastal ecosystems and the organisms that live there.

What excites you about working on this project?

To be involved in a project with multiple different facets – all of which are geared to improving our understanding of likely impacts. Collaborating with great scientists across the country makes this possible. Also, and importantly, that from the outset this research has been planned to provide information that’s useful and relevant and can help shellfishers and coastal managers.