Associate Professor Michael Clearwater

Associate Professor (Biological Sciences)

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


  • Noe, Stevie (2017-). The effects of soil nitrogen and phosphorous on growth and reproductive allocation in mānuka (Leptospermum scoparium).
  • Kaneko, Teruko (2016-). 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)

  • 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

  • Yeates, R. M., Crush, J. R., Nichols, S. N., & Clearwater, M. J. (2019). Using a rhizosheath selection tool to screen perennial ryegrass for root hair traits that reduce root competition against white clover. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research, 10 pages. doi:10.1080/00288233.2019.1620295

  • 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

  • Hunter, S., McDougal, R., Clearwater, M. J., Williams, N., & Scott, P. (2018). Development of a high throughput optical density assay to determine fungicide sensitivity of oomycetes. Journal of Microbiological Methods, 154, 33-39. doi:10.1016/j.mimet.2018.10.006

  • Clearwater, M. J., Revell, M., Noe, S., & Manley-Harris, M. (2018). Influence of genotype, floral stage, and water stress on floral nectar yield and composition of mānuka (Leptospermum scoparium). Annals of Botany, 121, 501-512. doi:10.1093/aob/mcx183 Open Access version:

View All research publications by Michael Clearwater

Contact Details

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