Professor Chris Battershill

Chair in Coastal Science

Qualifications: BSc MSc(Hons) PhD Auckland, Dip AICD Australian Institute of Company Directors

About Chris

Professor Chris Battershill holds the inaugural Bay of Plenty Regional Council Chair in Coastal Science, based in Tauranga. Amongst other national and international collaborations the new Chair oversees the New Zealand operation of the INTERCOAST programme, established by Waikato University and Bremen University in Germany to create a major centre of marine research excellence in the Bay of Plenty. Professor Battershill also heads the Coastal Marine Group in the Faculty of Science and Engineering and is the inaugural Director of the Coastal Marine Field Center in Tauranga. Formerly Principal Scientist and Research Team Leader (Supporting Sustainable Use of Marine Biodiversity) at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and a Program Leader at NIWA, his research spans the tropics to the Antarctic and focuses on marine ecology, and environmental science, and biodiscovery for medicinal and agricultural sectors.

Recent Activities

International collaborations are being forged with the Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research and James Cook University. The INTERCOAST program with the University of Bremen supporting over 20PhD New Zealand and German students per cohort,  has been successfully funded for a further four years by the DFG Germany. Environmental research work continues around Otaiti Reef (Astrolabe) in association with the MV Rena recovery with a focus on the effects on the Mauri of the ecosystem. The Coastal Marine Field Station continues to grow, now hosting the 'House of Science' which facilitates outreach from the Tertiary Partnership (University of Waikato, Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, Te Whare Wananga o Awanuirangi and Waiariki, to primary and secondary schools in the region.

Recent Publications

For a full list of Chris' recent publications click here.

Research Supervised


  • Cadwallader, Helen (in progress). Diet composition and heavy metal accumulation in NZ Batoid Elasmobranchs.
  • Huteau, Julien (submitted). Use of stable isotopes and trace elements to characterise nutrient input and Ulva algal blooms in Tauranga Harbour, New Zealand.

MSc (Research)

  • Beets, Fenna (in progress). The feeding ecology, pumping efficiency and respiration rate of the New Zealand sea sponge, Polymastia croceus.
  • Browne, Ashleigh (2016). Biodiscovery and production of PSA antibiotics from marine algae.
  • Kellet, Melissa (in progress). Coastal habitat partitioning by sharks and rays (elasmobranchs).
  • Bernstein, Daniel (2015). The chemistry of pollutant mixtures emanating from the MV Rena.
  • Dempsey, Te Puea (2015). Toitu Te Moananui a Toi - The effects of the MV Rena on the water quality, chemistry and zooplankton of Otaiti (Astralobe Reef).
  • McSweeny, Caleb (2015). The effects of contaminated Rena sediments on juvenile paua (Haliotis iris).
  • Webb, Nicola (2015). Chemical ecological insights into metabolites of the New Zealand marine sponge, Cliona celata.
  • Taikato, Vanessa (2015). Estuarine condition and macro-benthic communities in Te Tāhuna o Rangataua, Te Awanui, Tauranga Harbour.


  • Reihana, Kiri (2016). Contrasting microbial communities across anthropogenic pollution gradients: MV Rena shipwreck versus urban pressures.
  • Brooke, Nathania (2015). Larval fish ecology in Tauranga Harbour.
  • Culliford, David (2015). Characterisation, potential toxicity and fate of storm water run-off from log areas of the Port of Tauranga.
  • Sturgess, Nicole (2015). Mapping the ecological and biophysical character of seabed habitats of the Paraninihi Marine Reserve, Taranaki, New Zealand.
  • McCormack, Sam (2015). The Taxonomy of Demospongiae (Porifera) from the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand - connecting Linnaean and Phylogenetic Classification.
  • Macpherson Diana (2013). Effects of catastrophic coastal landslides on the Te Angiangi Marine Reserve, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand.


Antarctica; Biology; Ecology; Marine; Science

Aquaculture, Marine Natural Products

Recent Publications

  • Bollen, M., Battershill, C. N., Pilditch, C. A., & Bischof, K. (2017). Desiccation tolerance of different life stages of the invasive marine kelp Undaria pinnatifida: Potential for overland transport as invasion vector. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 496, 8 pages. doi:10.1016/j.jembe.2017.07.005

  • Beets, F., Battershill, C. N., & Muncaster, S. (2017). Climate change effects on sponge functionality and ecosystem services. Poster session presented at the meeting of New Zealand Marine Sciences Society 56th Annual Conference, Mahi Ngātahi: Working Together for Better Management into the Future. Conference held at University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.

  • Kulgemeyer, T., Müller, H., Dobeneck, T. V., Bryan, K. R., de Lange, W. P., & Battershill, C. N. (2017). Magnetic mineral and sediment porosity distribution on a storm-dominated shelf investigated by benthic electromagnetic profiling (Bay of Plenty, New Zealand). Marine Geology, 383, 78-98. doi:10.1016/j.margeo.2016.11.014

  • Battershill, C. N. (2017). Marine biotechnology in Aotearoa: just the beginning. In Blue2Green Marine Biotechnology Convention 2017. Conference held in Tauranga, New Zealand.

View All research publications by Chris Battershill

Contact Details

Phone: +64 7 5570481