Keynote Speakers

We are pleased to announce confirmation of the following plenary speakers at the 50th New Zealand Freshwater Science Society Conference in Nelson on 10-14th December 2018. 
There are more to come, so please check back for updates.

Professor Emily Bernhardt

Dr Emily Bernhardt is a Professor of Biology at Duke University, North Carolina, USA. Emily’s research focusses on the effects of global environmental change on the biogeochemistry of rivers, wetlands and watersheds. She grew up in a small town in western North Carolina, gaining a love of nature from frequent hikes in the Appalachian Mountains. During her undergraduate and graduate years, she spent time at the University of Michigan, and in Venezuela and Chile before obtaining her PhD from Cornell University in 2001. Her dissertation research at Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study explored the impacts of forest age, ice storms and carbon supply on stream nitrogen cycling. Following postdoctoral placements, at Duke and University of Maryland, she joined the faculty at Duke University where she has established a dynamic research lab, which has supported dozens of scientists to grow their potential and to love ecological science. Emily was the President for the Society for Freshwater Science from 2016-2017, serves as an associate editor on three journals, and is the recipient of numerous awards and honours including being named a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America earlier this year. Emily has two daughters and a K9 who keep her heading up those mountains. 

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Professor Yvonne Vadeboncoeur

Dr Yvonne Vadeboncoeur is a Professor of Biological Sciences at Wright State University, Ohio, USA. Yvonne’s research focuses on the importance of energy linkages among habitats in freshwater ecosystems. She is especially interested in the function of benthic, or bottom, habitats in both lakes and rivers. She has shown that attached algae are a critical, but often cryptic, resource in aquatic food webs. Yvonne’s passion for exploring aquatic habitats (especially while SCUBA diving) has taken her to Canada, Denmark, Greenland and East Africa. Yvonne looks forward to seeing more of New Zealand during her 2019 sabbatical as a Fulbright Scholar at Cawthron Institute. 


Professor Russell Death

Russell Death is a Professor in Freshwater Ecology in the School for Agriculture and Environment at Massey University. With nearly 30 years’ experience in ecological research and teaching, Russell’s main area of expertise is the ecology of stream invertebrates and fish. He has over 100 peer-reviewed publications in international scientific journals and books and has given around 60 conference presentations and supervised 38 post-graduate research students. Russell has been a Quinney Visiting Fellow at Utah State University and an International Distinguished Visitor to the University of Birmingham. He is also on the editorial board of the international journal Freshwater Science. Although Russell’s primary interest is ecological research he has also been involved in applying that science in planning arenas such as the One Plan, Canterbury Regional Plan and Ruataniwha irrigation scheme. Russell is the recipient of the 2017 New Zealand Freshwater Science Medal.


Tina Porou (MNZM)

Tina is of Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāi Tāmanuhiri. She has been an environmental planner for the last 20 years working with local authorities, iwi and hapū, central government and the private sector on a range of natural resource matters. Her expertise is in connecting mātauranga Maori with technical skills in the planning field to build win-win outcomes for the environment and our sustainable businesses. Tina was the Head of Sustainability and Environment at Contact Energy before deciding to follow her calling to establish Poipoia. She has a 17 year old daughter Te Rina, five nieces and one nephew making for a very full life. Tina was the recipient of a Sir Peter Blake Leadership Award in 2015 for her work with the environment and was honoured as a member of the NZ Order of Merit in 2016.

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Neil Deans

Neil Deans is a Principal Advisor at the Department of Conservation—Te Papa Atawhai. He has been involved in freshwater science and management throughout New Zealand for over 30 years. Neil has been a member of the Freshwater Sciences Society for most of that time and was President in the early 2000s. He has worked for and with many groups with interests in freshwater, including the former Wildlife Service, Fish and Game, the Land and Water Forum, the Minister for the Environment’s office and has just rejoined the Department of Conservation. Much of his career has been at the interface between science, environment and policy and between the practical and the theoretical. Neil brings a wealth of experience to share, from field work to writing peer-reviewed publications, expert witness to wildlife ranger, advising Ministers to working with tangata whenua for improved water management. 
Hon David Parker

David Parker is a Member of Parliament appointed as Attorney-General, Minister for Economic Development, Environment, and Trade and Export Growth, and Associate Minister of Finance. Born in Roxburgh, David grew up in Dunedin and has a BCom and LLB from University of Otago. He was a litigation and managing partner in law firm Anderson Lloyd and was co-founder of the Dunedin Community Law Centre. David is an experienced CEO and company director in a range of industries and has experienced both success and failure. He held various portfolios in the last Labour-led Government and in opposition. In 2008 he was named by the Listener magazine as Environmentalist of the Year for his work as Minister of Energy and Climate. He pioneered New Zealand’s emission trading scheme, then described by many as the most significant environment reform for decades. He maintains strong interests in the protection of civil liberties, as well as economic and environmental policy. David pursues policies which both enhance economic growth and address the growing extremes between rich and poor in New Zealand, while protecting the environment. Passionate about the outdoors, David is a keen tramper and skier.
Jonathan Tonkin

Jonathan is a Postdoctoral Fellow and soon-to-be Rutherford Discovery Fellow at the University of Canterbury, having just returned to New Zealand after six years abroad. Following his PhD at Massey University, Jonathan conducted research as a Lecturer at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University in China, and as a Postdoctoral Researcher at Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum, Germany, and Oregon State University, USA. He has published 50 peer-reviewed papers and is on the editorial boards of Freshwater Biology and PeerJ. Jonathan's research couples basic ecological theory with quantitative modelling to address major global issues in freshwater ecology and management, including metacommunity dynamics in dendritic networks, flow management under hydroclimatic non-stationarity, river restoration, ecological interaction networks in dynamic systems, and developing community-wide mechanistic models. These scientific interests combine with a love of rivers that see him in backcountry whenever he gets the chance.