Associate Professor Mike Clearwater

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Team Leader - Ecology & Biodiversity

Qualifications: BSc, MSc(Hons) Auckland, PhD Edinburgh

Research Interests

Plant vascular transport and carbon and water physiology, with a focus on the role of vascular functioning in the development of flowers and fruit. Current research projects include the flowering phenology and physiology of nectar production in mānuka (Leptsopermum scoparium), water use by Hass avocado, fruit growth and flavour development in kiwifruit, and the environmental physiology and ecology of New Zealand native trees.

Research Supervised


  • Kramer-Walter, Kris (in progress). Carbohydrate dynamics of fruit development in kiwifruit.
  • Spaak, Johanna (in progress). Floral traits in New Zealand native tree species.
  • Noe, Stevie (in progress). The effects of soil nitrogen and phosphorous on growth and reproductive allocation in mānuka (Leptospermum scoparium).
  • Kaneko, Teruko (in progress). Water use of Hass avocado in New Zealand
  • Subasinghe, Rasika (2018). Investigation of Host cell wall degrading strategies of Pseudomonas syringae pv. Actinidiae (Psa).
  • Black, Mary (2012). The kiwifruit (Actinidia sp.) vine root system: Responses to vine manipulations.
  • Mazzeo, Maria Rosaria (University of Basilicata, 2007). Xylem transport in the developing the kiwifruit berry.
  • Nardozza, Simona (University of Bologna, 2007). Genotypic variation in kiwifruit berry development.
  • Woodward, Tim (2006). Variation in 'Hayward' kiwifruit quality characteristics.

MSc (Research)

  • Crockett-Swanson, Liam (in progress).
  • Ngow, Zachery (in progress).
  • North, Elizabeth (in progress).
  • Truman, Georgia-Leigh (in progress).
  • Unteregger, Joana (in progress).
  • Wade, Ashley (2020). Predicting site productivity drivers for Podocarpus tōtara and modelling its growth with 3-PG.
  • Obeng-Darko, Sylvester (2018). Anatomical and molecular basis of floral nectar secretion by mānuka (Leptospermum scoparium).
  • Hunter, Shannon (2018). Determining the risk of phosphite tolerance in Phytophthora species in New Zealand and the United States: a case study on the implications of long-term use of phosphite to control Phytophthora cinnamomi in avocado (Persea americana)
  • Yeates, Rebecca (2018). Development of a Rhizosheath Selection Tool for screening perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) for reduced root competition against white clover (Trifolium repens L.) for soil phosphorus.
  • Le Lievre, Daniele (2017). The development of flavour in the G3 cultivar of kiwifruit.
  • Noe, Stevie (2017). Investigating the determinants of nectar yield and quality in manuka (Leptospermum scoparium Myrtaceae).
  • Kaneko, Teruko (2016). Water requirements for 'Hass' avocado flowering and fruit development in New Zealand.
  • Fitzpatrick, Dominic (2015). Tree species sorting along temperature gradients: How do frost-resistant traits influence competitive ability in the forest environment?
  • Hennessy, Louise (2015). Epoxy-janthitrems, effects of temperature on in planta expression and their bioactivity against porina larvae.
  • Bylsma, Rebecca (2012). Structure, composition and dynamics of Metrosideros excelsa (pōhutukawa) forest, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.
  • Efford, Jackson (2012). Treeline vegetation composition, structure and dynamics across the AD 1655 Burrell Lapilli deposit, Mt Taranaki, New Zealand.
  • Morrison, Daniel (2012). Vascular functioning and development of the kiwifruit berry (Actinidia deliciosa).
  • Myron, Kirsty (2012). Pittosporum kirkii: Autecology of an endemic shrub epiphyte.
  • Bryan, Catherine (2011). Ecology of vascular epiphytes in urban forests with special reference to the shrub epiphyte Griselinia lucida.
  • Miller, Kieran (2011). Understory restoration in Hamilton urban forests.
  • Trivedi, Pathik (2010). Aspects of biology of the weed of arable crops broom corn millet (Panicum miliaceum L).

Teaching Commitments

Recent Publications

  • Laughlin, D. C., Delzon, S., Clearwater, M. J., Bellingham, P. J., McGlone, M. S., & Richardson, S. J. (2020). Climatic limits of temperate rainforest tree species are explained by xylem embolism resistance among angiosperms but not among conifers. New Phytologist. doi:10.1111/nph.16448

  • Noble, A. S., Noe, S., Clearwater, M. J., & Lee, C. K. (2020). A core phyllosphere microbiome exists across distant populations of a tree species indigenous to New Zealand. PLoS One, 15(8), 22 pages. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0237079 Open Access version:

  • Pronger, J., Campbell, D. I., Clearwater, M. J., Mudge, P. L., Rutledge, S., Wall, A. M., & Schipper, L. A. (2019). Toward optimisation of water use efficiency in dryland pastures using carbon isotope discrimination as a tool to select plant species mixtures. Science of the Total Environment, 665, 698-708. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.02.014

  • Noe, S., Manley-Harris, M., & Clearwater, M. J. (2019). Floral nectar of wild mānuka (Leptospermum scoparium) varies more among plants than among sites. New Zealand Journal of Crop and Horticultural Science. doi:10.1080/01140671.2019.1670681

View All research publications by Mike Clearwater

Contact Details

Room: D.1.05A
Phone: +64 7 838 4613