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David R. Schiel

David Schiel studied at the Leigh Marine Laboratory, around New Zealand’s first marine reserve, and received his PhD from Auckland University. He is head of the Marine Ecology Research Group at Canterbury University in Christchurch, New Zealand.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Society-NZ, was awarded the title of Distinguished Professor by Canterbury University in 2015, and has received numerous awards over his career.
Prof Schiel has worked on a wide range of topics in marine science, with significant contributions in aquaculture, fisheries, kelp forest ecology and the functioning of nearshore ecosystems. His career started in hatchery-based enhancement of wild abalone populations and fisheries stock assessments, but his chief research interests have been in the dynamics of coastal waters and ecology of rocky reefs, and how they are affected by impacts and a changing climate. His work is strongly field-based and is used to underpin and test contemporary theory, particularly the ‘drivers of diversity’ and threats related to human impacts. His research has underpinned key developments in aquaculture impacts, abalone population enhancement, mabé pearl techniques and algal harvesting. He is a prolific public speaker and was a key scientist in public liaison and the design and implementation of recovery studies after New Zealand’s largest oil spill in 2011, for which he was co-awarded NZ Science Communicator of the Year.
An underlying theme of Prof Schiel’s research is the utility of science-led research in better coastal management.  He was a coastal commissioner for northern New Zealand in setting the coastal management plan and, over the past several years, has been one of the architects and science leaders of New Zealand’s National Science Challenge Sustainable Seas. This is a major long-term initiative to bring sustainable management across New Zealand’s marine domain, the 4th largest in the world.
Prof Schiel has over 150 publications and is one of New Zealand’s top-cited marine scientists. He heads several large research programmes and has supervised over 60 post-graduate students.