An inspiring line-up of internationally recognised speakers


Dr Andrea Byrom

Landcare Research, Challenge Director

Andrea’s research interests lie in the ecology of multiple invasive mammal species in New Zealand and their interactive effects on native flora and fauna in tandem with other drivers of global change such as climate and land use change. She has also worked on similar issues in Australia and Africa. Andrea completed an honours degree at the University of Otago on the genetics of freshwater copepods before moving to Canada and completing a PhD at the University of British Columbia, where she investigated the ecology of Arctic ground squirrels. After she moved back to New Zealand, she completed a postdoc on the ecology of ferrets in braided riverbed ecosystems. Andrea was then employed as an ecologist by Landcare Research. Prior to taking up her role as Director in 2015, Andrea managed Landcare Research’s invasive weeds, pests and diseases research portfolio. Andrea is also an Associate Investigator in the Te Pūnaha Matatini Centre of Research Excellence, collaborating on projects looking at the role of citizen science in invasive species management, and the biodiversity outcomes of major pest control regimes in New Zealand.

Preferred Photo -Hon Goldsmith

Hon Paul Goldsmith

Minister of Science and Innovation | Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment | Minister for Regulatory Reform

Born in Mt Eden and having attended Auckland Grammar School Paul lives with his wife and their four children in the Epsom electorate.
First elected off the National Party list in 2011, Paul served as the Chair of the Parliamentary Finance and Expenditure Select Committee. Following the 2014 General Election he was appointed Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and Associate Minister for ACC.
In 2016 Paul was appointed Minister of Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, Minister for Science and Innovation, and Minister for Regulatory Reform, and joined the Cabinet.
Before entering Parliament, Paul created his own business as a historian and biographer focusing on New Zealand’s history and economic development. His last books were biographies of Alan Gibbs (Serious Fun) and Sir William Gallagher (Legend). Between 2007 and 2010 he served as an Auckland City Councillor.
Paul is an enthusiastic pianist and has a broad interest in the arts; he is a 2nd dan black belt in Tae Kwon Do and plays on the right wing for the Parliamentary Rugby team.

Dr Jan Wright, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment

Dr Jan Wright

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment

Dr Jan Wright was sworn in as Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment for a five-year term on 5 March 2007 and reappointed for a second term in early 2012. Jan has a a Physics degree from Canterbury, a Masters degree in Energy and Resources from Berkeley in California, and a PhD in Public Policy from Harvard. In 2012 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Lincoln University, and in 2015 was made a Companion of the Royal Society of New Zealand. Prior to her current role, Jan worked as an independent policy and economic consultant for many different government agencies and as a member of various Crown Entity Boards. Jan views climate change as the most significant environmental threat facing the world, and has produced two major reports on rising sea levels. Other reports have covered topics as diverse as fracking, the pesticide 1080, and the plight of New Zealand's longfin eel. Her most recent report followed a comprehensive investigation into the complex science of agricultural greenhouse gases. She is currently hard at work researching and writing her next report on the decline of New Zealand’s native birds.


Dr Fiona Carswell

Landcare Research, Chief Scientist

Fiona’s research career started with leaf-level photosynthesis and has been expanding in scale since that time.  Leaves were soon replaced by forest-scale carbon exchange in the Amazon Basin thanks to a post-doctoral fellowship with the University of Edinburgh.  After returning to New Zealand, Fiona was interested in working with landowners who wanted to regenerate native forests on farmland and for ten years she led a programme at Landcare Research that enabled these owners to secure carbon revenue in order to achieve restoration goals.  Fiona’s attention has now turned to the people that conduct environmental research.  As Chief Scientist for Landcare Research, Fiona’s role is to enable researchers to achieve both science excellence and on-the-ground results for NZ’s most pressing environmental issues.  She sees the Biological Heritage NSC as a vehicle for researchers and practitioners from productive to conservation lands to create solutions that would not have been possible via any party working in isolation.


Dr John Quinn

NIWA, Chief Scientist- Freshwater and Estuaries

John is a stream ecologist with a BSc Hons from University of Otago and a PhD from Massey University. His research interests include nutrient attenuation within rivers, and understanding and mitigating the effects of forestry and pastoral agricultural land uses and the rehabilitation and restoration of streams and lakes. John has established long-term studies and is interested in integrated approaches involving land and aquatic research and social and biophysical science. He is currently a member of the Technical Leaders Group for the Waikato/Waipa Healthy Rivers Plan Change and co-lead of the Innovative and Resilient Land and Water Management Theme of the Our Land and Water National Science Challenge.
B.Sc. (Hons), Ph.D.


Professor Bruce Clarkson

University of Waikato, Challenge Ambassador

Professor Bruce Clarkson is the University of Waikato's Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and leads an MBIE funded research programme People, Cities and Nature: restoring indigenous nature in urban environments. In 2016 he received the Royal Society of New Zealand Charles Fleming Award for environmental achievement. Professor Clarkson is a board member of the Australasian chapter of the International Society for Ecological Restoration, on the Governance Group for the Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities National Science Challenge and is ambassador for the New Zealand's Biological Heritage National Science Challenge.


Paul Atkins

Zealandia, CEO

Paul has had a life-long passion for ornithology and conservation. He took over as CEO of ZEALANDIA in mid-November 2015, having first been introduced to the Karori Sanctuary project in early 2000 following which he became a volunteer in the sanctuary, monitoring kaka and doing supplementary feeding duties.
He is also on the board of directors of three start-up companies, two of which he Chairs: Boutiq Science Ltd, a nanotechnology spinout company; Ferronova, a company focusing on use of magnetic nanoparticles and sensors for biomedical applications; and MEVO, a car-share scheme.
Previously Paul was CEO of the National Energy Research Institute (NERI), and prior to that was Director of Business Development for Izon Science Ltd, a nanotechnology instrumentation company. During his time as General Manager of International Investments with the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, Paul established the Foundation’s International Group, negotiating joint research funding agreements with Korea and Japan, as well as research collaborations in the USA and Europe. He was a Director in the British Council for almost 20 years, and has worked in over 40 countries around the world.
Paul holds an MSc and has post-graduate qualifications in both business and marketing management. He is a Chartered Physicist and member of the Institute of Physics, a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, a member of the Institute of Directors and, until late 2015, was inaugural Chair of the New Zealand Smart Grid Forum and Vice-chair of the IEA’s Demand-side Implementing Agreement.

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Dr Jacqueline Beggs

Centre for Biodiversity and Biosecurity, Director

Assoc Prof Jacqueline Beggs is Director of Research at the School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland. She has diverse research interests in the biodiversity and biosecurity of New Zealand ecosystems, with a major focus on the ecology and control of introduced Vespula wasps. Her research is usually the result of collaboration with a range of colleagues and she has enjoyed supervising more than 40 postgraduate students. Jacqueline serves on several advisory groups including the Biosecurity Ministerial Advisory Committee and the Kākāpō Recovery Group (Department of Conservation). Jacqueline has published more than 80 peer-reviewed papers and has ensured that her research is disseminated to the wider community via public meetings, documentaries and social media.

Richard Bowman1

Richard Bowman

Biosecurity Manager, Environment Southland

Richard Bowman is Biosecurity Manager for Environment Southland, based in Invercargill. He graduated from the University of Otago with a BSc Hons majoring in geology in 1975 and returned to complete a MBA degree in 1993/4. He worked as an exploration geologist for various companies from 1976 to 1992 in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. Since 1994 he has been involved in biosecurity and biodiversity management in Southland but has also played an active national role through the BioManagers Group and its predecessors. During this time he has been involved in the development of pest strategies and plans, the operation of major pest management programmes and the coordination and promotion of biosecurity policy and management nationally.  He has a strong interest in the application of research and technology to biosecurity and biodiversity management.


Dr Marie Brown

Marie holds degrees in science and law, including a PhD from the University of Waikato, focusing on compliance with biodiversity offset requirements under the Resource Management Act 1991. From 2005-2010 Marie worked for North Shore City Council, first in RMA compliance and monitoring and latterly in strategy and policy for the natural environment. Marie completed her PhD alongside working as an independent consultant, before joining the Environmental Defence Society from 2013 to 2017 in which she was the organisation’s Senior Policy Analyst. Marie was the lead researcher for five key technical projects including a major investigation of biodiversity management in New Zealand, a review of the environmental outcomes of the RMA and a feasibility study for biodiversity banking. In addition she managed the organisation’s social media, participated in several planning processes as an expert witness and delivered more than 80 presentations on a range of key environmental issues.


Associate Professor Phillip Cassey

University of Adelaide, International Science Advisory Panel

Invasion Ecology Group, University of Adelaide, Australia
As a trans-disciplinary scientist, Dr Cassey brings critical analytical techniques to the study of invasion ecology, wildlife trade, and biosecurity risk management - areas characterised by complexity and uncertainty. His research group focuses on analytical, conceptual, and applied techniques for conducting high impact research. His research has led to significant advances in the discipline of global change biology, and the prioritisation of evidence-based biosecurity decision-making. He works across the biosecurity continuum with existing funded projects in exotic vertebrates, the wildlife trade, emerging diseases, marine biosecurity, established pests, and transport risks.
Dr Cassey’s research interests align most closely with Programme 2, Reducing Risks and Threats.


Mick Clout

University of Auckland, Emeritus Professor

Mick Clout is an Emeritus Professor of Conservation Ecology at the University of Auckland. He is a vertebrate ecologist with longstanding interests in the ecology and conservation of native birds and the behaviour and management of invasive mammals. He led the IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group from 1995-2009 and chaired the NZ Biosecurity Ministerial Advisory Committee until 2012. Mick has published many papers and supervised many research projects. He continues to be actvely involved in science for conservation, chairs the Kakapo Recovery Group, and is a current member of the NZ Conservation Authority.


Professor Peter Dearden

Genetics Otago, Professor

Peter’s research focuses on the evolution of shape and form in animals. By studying how the genes and pathways that make an animal during embryogenesis change over evolutionary time he seeks to understand how shape evolves.
Peter studies not only the way evolution interacts with development, but how the environment influences the way these genes and pathways work.
Peter’s work focuses particular on insects, especially bees. Much of his work involves genetic studies of honeybees to support the beekeeping industry, and in searching for novel bee-friendly insecticides.
Peter also has a strong interest in science communication and community engagement, and is the Director of Genetics Otago and the leader of the Lab-in-a-Box project.


Professor Richard Duncan

Professor, University of Canberra

Professor Duncan’s specialties are in ecology, weed biology, and conservation, with a focus on biological invasions and extinctions. His recent work examines the ways in which invasive species arrive, establish, spread and impact natural ecosystems. Richard was formerly a member of the Bio-Protection Research Centre at Lincoln University.
Professor Duncan’s research interests span all three Challenge Programmes.


Professor Rob Ewers

Imperial College London, International Science Advisory Panel

Faculty of Natural Sciences, Department of Life Sciences, Silwood Park, Imperial College London
Professor Ewers works on spatial patterns of forest ecosystems, and the biodiversity contained within those forests. His research involves investigating and trying to predict patterns of forest cover from local through to global scales, sampling of taxa within selected landscapes located in both temperate and tropical parts of the world, and manipulative experiments in both the field and lab. Most of his work uses invertebrates as a model system, with a focus on beetles. A large recent initiative is the Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems (SAFE) Project. This is one of the world's largest ecological experiments, taking advantage of a planned conversion of forest to oil palm in Borneo to experimentally design a landscape.
Professor Ewers’ research interests also span all three Challenge Programmes.

Sophie Fern

Sophie Fern

Biologist and Storyteller

Sophie Fern is a biologist and storyteller who is interested in the gap between the stories that we tell and the stories that are understood about our natural world.  She became interested in science communication in Woods Hole, USA, where she studied cuttlefish behaviour for her master’s degree and helped the BBC film her research.  She has written about Chatham Island black robins while on Rangatira Island and watched Southern right whales while cooking in the Auckland Islands.  She juggles her research with working in tertiary education, writing and presenting a natural history radio programme and writing science for kids.


Professor Nigel French

Massey University, Professor

Bachelor of Veterinary Science (University of Bristol), Master of Science in Epidemiology (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), Diploma of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Diploma of European College of Veterinary Public Health, Membership of Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, PhD (University of Bristol), Fellow of Royal Society of New Zealand.
Nigel is currently Establishment Director of the New Zealand Food Safety Science and Research Centre, Director of the Infectious Disease Research Centre, and Executive Director of the Molecular Epidemiology and Public Health laboratory in the Hopkirk Research Institute. He was recently elected as  Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand. Nigel is also an Associate member of the New Zealand Institute for Advanced Studies. He is Visiting Professor at the Universities of Liverpool and Surrey, UK, an Honorary Professor at the University of Otago, a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Public Health and a Fellow of Food Standards Australia New Zealand. Nigel is a graduate of the University of Bristol UK (BVSc and MRCVS in 1987 and PhD in 1993), University of London UK (MSc in Epidemiology, 1993). He was lecturer in Epidemiology (University of Liverpool), lecturer in Farm Animal Studies (University of Bristol) and Wellcome Trust Research Training Fellow in Clinical Epidemiology (University of Bristol). He was awarded a Senior Research Fellowship in 1999 and a Personal Chair in Veterinary Epidemiology, University of Liverpool, in 2002. Prior to joining Massey, he was Head of the Defra Epidemiology Fellowship Unit.
His main research interests are: Molecular epidemiology, pathogen evolution, ecosystem health, food and environmental pathogens, particularly Campylobacter, E. coli, Cryptosporidium and Salmonella.


Professor Neil Gemmell

University of Otago, Professor

Professor Neil Gemmell is the AgResearch Chair in Reproduction and Genomics at the University of Otago and the Head of the Department of Anatomy. He leads a research group that blends ecology, population, conservation and evolutionary biology with technological spin-offs from the various genome projects. A recurring theme in his research is that of reproduction, with past and current projects spanning mating systems and mate choice sperm function, sex determination, sex allocation, and inter-sexual genomic conflict. Work in his lab over the past two decades has synthesised genomics, population genetics and evolutionary theory to provide research services to key end users in the conservation and biosecurity arenas. Currently he has involvement in both the Biological Heritage and Sustainable Seas National Science Challenges where he is, respectively, involved in developing new genetic based biocontrol tools for e.g. mammalian pests and developing eDNA as a tool for biodiversity and biosecurity assessment.


Dr Brent Gilpin

ESR, Science Leader

Dr Brent Gilpin is a Science Leader in the Environmental Science team at the Institute of Environmental Science & Research (ESR) in Christchurch. Brent is a molecular biologist whose primary research interests include the application of genetic analysis techniques to understanding foodborne and waterborne outbreaks and disease, microbial water quality, faecal source tracking, and zoonoses. He has been involved in outbreak investigations and product recalls related to a number of organisms including Listeria, E. coli O157, Salmonella and Campylobacter. He is now focused in the introduction of whole genome sequencing and metagenomics analysis through his involvement in PulseNet International ( and the Biological Heritage National Science Challenge. Brent is the author of over 50 refereed publications, and 4 book chapters, and is an adjunct senior fellow at the University of Canterbury.


Professor Stephen Goldson

AgResearch, Principal Scientist

Principal Scientist, AgResearch; Professorial Fellow, BioProtection Research Centre; Advisor to the Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor; FRSNZ FNZIAHS
Professor Stephen Goldson has spent much of his career as an applied scientist working on long-term biological control projects in the Crown Research Institute AgResearch and prior to that, in the Ministry for Primary Industries. As a result, he has worked on research for industry and the public good (e.g. as the Director of the B3 Consortium). His work has focused mainly on the biological suppression of New Zealand’s worst exotic pasture pest species. This is an area he continues to be very focused on currently as it relates to rapid evolution.
Stephen also works as strategist to the Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister’s, Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, concentrating mainly on Crown Research Institute and environmental issues. In 2007 Stephen was awarded the New Zealand Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Science’s Jubilee Medal for his contribution to primary industries research. He is a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Agricultural Science (1998), a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society of London (2000) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand (2006). In 2009 he was elected to the Council of the Royal Society of New Zealand and between 2009 and 2012 acted as Vice-President, Biological and Life Sciences. He was also the Chair of the Academy of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 2011-12.


Jan Hania

NEXT Foundation, Environment Director

Jan is of Ngati Tuwharetoa and Ngati Raukawa-ki-te-Tonga descent having grown up in South Auckland. Jan has always enjoyed a passion for the outdoors and the environment, climbing, diving, mountain biking and just being. Jan’s early career was as an electronics and systems engineer mostly in the New Zealand Airforce with some earlier time with Telecom. While in the RNZAF he also developed skills in strategy and leadership training and development, international stakeholder liaison and relationship management. His growing passion for the outdoors and the environment led to a career change in his late 20s where he spent time at Canterbury and Lincoln University completing undergraduate and post grad work in Natural Resources Engineering. For the next 10 years he consulted and worked for clients including regional government, in hazard mitigation, water resource protection and environmental restoration both in New Zealand and overseas, before joining DOC in 2009. Jan spent 7 years with the Department of Conservation leading teams at district, regional and national level building partnerships and developing large scale collaborative impact projects focused on people, biodiversity and water. Now working for the NEXT Foundation as Environmental Director, Jan leads the Taranaki Mounga Project and assists with development and evaluation of a number of NEXTs environmental endeavours.


Campbell Leckie

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Land Services Manager

Campbell Leckie is a senior operational manager with Hawake's Bay Regional Council. His roles have included leading plant and animal pest control, and forestry and sustainable land management programmes in the Hawke's Bay region. He is particularly interested in the public sector programmes and solutions that deliver both economic and environmental benefits to the community. In this context, he has a strong interest in the potential role of high UMF mānuka on steep hill country to strengthen economic and environmental outcomes for farming enterprises. speaker PCO

Andrew “Sandy” Liebhold

USDA Forest Service, Research Entomologist

Liebhold’s career has been devoted to studying the spatial dynamics and ecology of forest insect invasions around the world. His work focuses on all phases of the invasion process, including modes of accidental transport of invading species, population processes affecting species establishment, invasions spread and ecological effects of invading species in forests. He has also worked on applying knowledge of these processes to develop more effective strategies for managing pest invasions. Liebhold has served in an advisory capacity on several insect incursion programs in New Zealand and is currently working as part of an interdisciplinary team seeking novel approaches for eradicating nascent insect populations.


Andy Lowe

Lowe Corporation, Managing Director

Andy Lowe, MNZM, is the owner and Managing Director of Lowe Corporation Limited, a privately owned meat by-products business that processes and markets finished hides, skins and rendering material. As well as owning tannery, fellmongery, trucking and rendering businesses throughout New Zealand, the company is also involved in farming, property development and investment.
Lowe Corporation and the Lowe family are well-known in Hawkes Bay for their generosity and community support.
Andy's passion for the outdoors and conservation, together with his innovation, determination and vision honed in the meat and by-products industry, led him to become a developer of special character landscapes that not only enhance the environment but also enable people to actively live and work within that environment.
In particular, Andy is the initiator and vision keeper behind Cape Sanctuary — 2,500 hectares of land on the Cape Kidnappers Peninsula protected by a 10km long vermin proof fence. This is believed to be the largest privately owned and funded wildlife preserve on the New Zealand mainland and is now home to the widest variety of native bird species living on mainland coastal New Zealand.
Andy's vision is to create a pest free New Zealand in which native species can be protected from extinction while integrating nature with human habitation, food production and recreation.


Devon McLean

Project Janszoon, Director

Devon had a 30-year career in the New Zealand forest industry holding a range of management positions including 10-years on the Operating Committee of Carter Holt Harvey, member of the NZ Forest Industries Council for 10-years with five as Chairman, Director of the National Association of Forest Industries of Australia and Director of the NZ Forest Research Institute (now Scion) for seven years.
He has a Bachelor of Forestry Science (Hons) and a Master of Science from the University of California at Berkeley.
In 1990, Devon was involved in setting up Project Crimson and and also served as Chairman for many years. He chairs Predator Free New Zealand, and is a director on the Conservation Authority Board, the Auckland Conservation Authority Board, National Science Challenge and an adviser to the the Next Foundation.


Dr Monica Peters

People + science

Monica works at the interface between science and the public. She has a background spanning fine arts, conservation, ecology and international development and has worked in remote places including Mongolia, Borneo, Raoul Is. and Hamilton. Though eclectic, her background provides her with a range of ways to investigate the environment and human relationships to it. After finishing a PhD at Waikato University on community–led environmental restoration, Monica developed a national citizen science project for the NZ Landcare Trust. The 3-yr project is designed to support the creation a national citizen science movement that is vibrant, produces robust data and engages diverse sectors of society. She has a strong interest in science communication, blogs regularly (, and sends the occasional flurry of tweets (@monica.a.peters).


Lou Sanson

Department of Conservation, Director

Lou Sanson was appointed as Director-General of the Department of Conservation in September 2013, after 11 years as Chief Executive of Antarctica New Zealand - responsible for developing, managing, and executing New Zealand’s activities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.
The Department of Conservation is responsible for managing 8.5 million hectares of public land (approximately 30% of New Zealand’s landmass) and 34 marine reserves.
DOC manages over 14,000km of tracks and 970 huts. These places are used by 48% of New Zealanders (approximately 1.6 million people) and approximately 30% of overseas visitors (and many more view the iconic scenery from a distance).
During his time at Antarctica New Zealand Lou has overseen the deepest ever multi-national sedimentary science drilling project in Antarctica (ANDRILL) and he led the development of Antarctica’s largest wind turbine project focussing on reducing fossil fuels at McMurdo Station and Scott Base.
Prior to this Lou was Conservator for Southland Conservancy in charge of Fiordland National Park and Stewart Island.
He also led the establishment of Rakiura National Park, the sub-Antarctic World Heritage Area and one of the world’s largest island eradication projects and helped establish a network of marine reserves in Fiordland and Stewart Island.
Lou is a keen outdoor person, he enjoys natural history, hiking, ski-touring, diving and photography.


Kim TallBear

University of Alberta, Associate professor

Kim TallBear, Associate Professor, Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience & Environment, is author of Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science. She combines indigenous studies, science and technology studies, feminist and queer theory to interrogate the nature/culture split in Western society and its role in producing related –isms: colonialism, racism, speciesism, sexism, and homophobia. She blogs on Indigeneity & Technoscience at She is co-producer of the new Edmonton sexy storytelling show, Prairie Confessions, a northern franchise of the popular Austin, TX Bedpost Confessions. Dr. TallBear is working on a book, Disrupting Settlement, Sex and Nature: An Indigenous Logic of Relationality, that interrogates settler-colonial (and now Indigenous people's) commitments to private land ownership, state-sanctioned marriage, and monogamy. She is a citizen of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate in South Dakota. She is also descended from the Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma.


Nicola Toki

Endangered Species Ambassador

Nicola Toki is the Department of Conservation’s Threatened Species Ambassador, a newly created role that she has held since September 2015.  The position bridges the science and technical work carried out by the Department in relation to threatened species and communication to the public and partners and stakeholders about the challenges our threatened species face, and actions required to address these challenges.
Nicola has a first class honours in Zoology, as well as a Post-Graduate Diploma in Natural History Filmmaking and Communication and has also almost completed a Bachelor of Laws at Otago University. Over the past fifteen years Nicola has made it her business to raise awareness of New Zealand’s native wildlife through her work and her writing, which includes two non-fiction books for young people on NZ ecology.  Nicola is known for her passion for NZ’s native wildlife, and particularly for her passion in engaging Kiwis with what makes our natural world so special through the media.  This has included her spending three years writing, researching and presenting “Meet the Locals” for TVNZ, which showcased our weird and wonderful wildlife and the people who love to protect it.  She also has a regular spot on RNZ featuring the quirky and less charismatic species in NZ, called “Critter of the Week.”  Nicola regularly travels New Zealand and speaks at public events and attends community activities, particularly those groups engaged in predator control.
Prior to this role, Nicola managed the Fonterra “Living Water” partnership with DOC for the South Island, worked for OSPRI as a pest control advocate, helped to establish the Predator Free NZ Trust as their project manager, and was a conservation advocate for Forest & Bird.  She has also worked in ecotourism and television production.


Associate Professor Joshua Viers

University of California, Associate Professor

Professor Viers is a watershed scientist with expertise in resource management and environmental decision making. He is a former Executive Associate Director of the Center for Watershed Sciences at UC Davis, and he joined the faculty at UC Merced in August 2013 as an associate professor in the School of Engineering. He is also UC Merced's Director of the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS), which promotes collaborative research on California's pressing environmental, social and health care problems. His research interests and projects investigate the geospatial aspects of watershed science with a specific focus on the watersheds of California’s North Coast, Sierra Nevada, and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. His watershed research activities include aspects of natural flow regimes, climate change, water management, land use, sustainable viticulture, freshwater ecosystem conservation and riparian restoration.


Professor Andrew Young

CSIRO, Senior Principal Research Scientist
National Research Collections Australia, Director

Professor Young is based at CSIRO, Black Mountain, Canberra. He is a plant ecological geneticist, and is the Director of the CSIRO-hosted National Research Collections Australia. The 15 million specimens held in these collections, and their associated genomes and contextual data, represent a vast amount of underpinning biological knowledge about Australia’s unique biodiversity. Collections and databases are also vital to NZ’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge because they underpin significant research areas such as taxonomy, genetics and genomics, and ecology, making them vital resources for conservation as well as for primary production. Prof. Young’s work also links with the Atlas of Living Australia, thus providing a vital link to this international resource for the Challenge.