Dr Charles K. Lee

Senior Lecturer (Biological Sciences)
Director (DNA Sequencing)
Associate Director (ICTAR)

Qualifications: BSc (Life Science) Tsing-Hua Taiwan, PhD Waikato

Research Interests

I study the microbial ecology and microbial genomics of a wide range of unusual ecosystems, including terrestrial geothermal habitats and the Antarctic Dry Valleys, using molecular genetic and bioinformatic tools. I also have active research projects on the microbial ecology of plant-, animal-, and human-associated habitats.

I'm interested in the development and validation of novel molecular techniques and bioinformatic analyses, and I use them in conjunction with geochemistry to examine the interactions between microbial communities and their environments.

View my Google Scholar profile here.

Research Supervised


  • Abbaszadeh, Jaber (in progress): Geomorphologic Drivers of Microbial Ecology in Terrestrial Antarctica.
  • Noble, Anya (in progress): Title TBD
  • Cabria, Gamaliel Lysander (in progress): Understanding the Influence of Horizontal Gene Transfer on Intra-Species Genomic Variations in Natural Bacterial Communities.
  • Monteiro, Maria (in progress): Microbial nitrification in Antarctic Dry Valleys. (chief supervisor Craig Cary).
  • Wakerley, Georgia (in progress): Human impact on the McMurdo Dry Valley soils of Antarctica: extending the limits of forensic DNA detection. (chief supervisor Craig Cary).
  • Payyakkal Viswam, Jayadev (2016): The role of the gut microbiome of the Huhu grub in lignocellulose breakdown. (chief supervisor Ian McDonald).

MSc (Research)

  • Punjabi, Bhavna (in progress): TBC
  • Noble, Anya (2018): Environmental and biogeographical drivers of the Leptospermum scoparium (mānuka) phyllosphere microbiome.
  • Hu, Xiaoxue (2017): Genetic tool to detect three New Zealand freshwater mussels (Echyridella menziesii, Echyridella aucklandica, Echyridella onekaka) in environmental DNA.
  • Juwono, Joshua (2017): Enhancement of “flavours” through enzymatic release of glutamate.

Teaching Commitments


Antarctica; Biochemistry; Biology; Biotechnology; Ecology; Environmental Biochemistry; Environmental Science and Technology; Microbiology; Molecular Biology

Recent Publications

  • MacIntyre, C., Risk, D., Lee, C. K., & Cary, S. C. (2019). Processes driving soil CO<inf>2</inf> temporal variability in Antarctic Dry Valleys. Geoderma, 337, 871-879. doi:10.1016/j.geoderma.2018.09.050

  • Sirisena, K. A., Daughney, C. J., Moreau, M., Sim, D. A., Lee, C. K., Cary, S. C., . . . Chambers, G. K. (2018). Bacterial bioclusters relate to hydrochemistry in New Zealand groundwater. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 94(11), 15 pages. doi:10.1093/femsec/fiy170

  • Power, J., Carere, C., Lee, C., Wakerley, G., Evans, D., Button, M., . . . Stott, M. (2018). Microbial biogeography of 925 geothermal springs in New Zealand. Nature Communications, 9(1). doi:10.1038/s41467-018-05020-y Open Access version:

  • Lear, G., Dickie, I., Banks, J., Boyer, S., Buckley, H. L., Buckley, T. R., . . . Holdaway, R. (2018). Methods for the extraction, storage, amplification and sequencing of DNA from environmental samples. New Zealand Journal of Ecology, 42(1). doi:10.20417/nzjecol.42.9 Open Access version:

View All research publications by Charles Lee

Contact Details

Room: TRU.G.17
Phone: +64 7 838 4241