Post Graduate Student Research

Priority Research Themes | Current PhD students | Current Masters Students | Postgraduate Conference

The Research Strategic Vision of the Waterways Centre for Freshwater Management (WCFM) is to “integrate disciplinary water research to provide interdisciplinary solutions to freshwater management problems”. Water Resource Management PhD and Masters students conducting research relevant to the WCFM are supervised by WCFM members, and are included in the Waterways Centre's activities during their time at university. If you are a student interested in conducting post graduate research in water management issues, visit here, or email us for more information.

A list of completed Water Resource Management PhD and Masters theses submitted at the University of Canterbury can be found here. A list of PhD and Masters theses submitted at Lincoln University can be found here.

WRM students conduct research on water management issues on a global and local basis. The map below illustrates the geographical reach of our past and present scholars. Click on a dot to find out more about each student or alumni, their research topic and a link to the thesis if it has been completed.

The Waterways Centre Postgraduate Conference is our flagship annual event, usually held in November. Masters and PhD students from a wide range of disciplines from both Lincoln University and the University of Canterbury present snap shots of their research-in-progress, either as a short talk or as a poster.

Please note: locations on this map are indicative only and do not identify individual landowners. Large dots represent multiple theses conducted roughly in the same location (e.g. laboratory-based research at the University of Canterbury). Scroll in for more information about individual theses.


Water Resource Management PhD Students

Julie Clarke

Julie ClarkJulie is a mature student whose academic background is human geography and education. She is interested in the social aspects of environmental sustainability and is pursuing a PhD in Water Resource Management. Julie's PhD investigates the ways we use water in our homes through our everyday habits and routines. Using Social Practice Theory, she is looking at the technologies, infrastructure, skills, knowledge, social norms and meanings bound up in our everyday water-use habits, to find the opportunities for policy change.



Katie Coluccio

Katie CollucioKatie has recently completed a Masters of Water Resource Management at the Waterways Centre and began her PhD at Waterways in April 2018. She originally hails from the US where she completed a BSc in Environmental Science at Northeastern University. Having first arrived in Christchurch in 2009, she now calls New Zealand home. In addition to her work at Waterways, she wears a few hats as a yoga instructor, proofreader and organiser for TEDxChristchurch. When not working or studying, you can find Katie in the hills on her mountain bike or getting her hands dirty in the garden. 

Katie's PhD research is focused on Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere in Canterbury, a place where many social, cultural, economic and ecological aspects of freshwater management intersect. She is investigating groundwater seepage into the lake, which has potential impacts on water quality and quantity outcomes for the lake. She is excited to be working with Dr Leanne Morgan of the Waterways Centre as her primary supervisor on this project and intends to submit in mid-2021.

Email Katie Coluccio

Marlese Fairgray

Marlese FairgrayMarlese is a graduate of the University of Canterbury with a Bachelors of Science in Chemistry and first class honours in Environmental Science. She is currently working towards a PhD in Water Resource Management.  Marlese has experience working in commercial laboratories as well as tutoring both undergraduate students and high school students in science-related disciplines. Outside of study, Marlese enjoys many outdoor activities, community events and reading.

Marlese’s PhD focussed around the rehabilitation of mining sites and the use of geochemical modelling programs to support mine site rehabilitation. This research reports on the fate of heavy metals and other chemicals as they enter surficial waterbodies near the mine sites before remediation and after.  Once completed, it will be used to inform future remediation projects on the expected outcome of rehabilitation works following geochemical modelling. She was supervised by Prof. Jenny Webster-Brown and Dr. James Pope (CRL Energy). Marlese's PhD is currently being marked (August 2019).

Email Marlese Fairgray

Shane Orchard

Shane OrchardShane Orchard is a researcher in conservation planning and spatial ecology specialising in water resources. Shane is involved in several projects in the NGO sector as well as an extensive network of professional organisations. He is a member of WCPA and CEM commissions of IUCN and serves on the NZ IUCN Committee as the CEM rep. He is particularly interested in the intersection between recreation and conservation management as well as potential impacts of climate change. Hobbies including winter mountaineering and lots of water sports.

He is completing a PhD part-time with Waterways in addition to researching recovery from the Kaikoura earthquakes as a Research Associate with the School of Biological Sciences and consultancy work with Waterlink Ltd. His PhD has a working title of topic ‘Building resilient shorelines: an ecosystems perspective on natural disaster recovery and adaptation to climate change’, or ‘Resilient Shorelines’ for short. The project has the goal of learning from Canterbury earthquakes with a focus on identifying impacts and opportunities for natural disaster recovery. A novel aspect is to identify additional learning that may be useful for adaptation to climate change through the assessment of subsidence-related inundation effects with similarities to the potential impacts of sea level rise.

Irene Setiawan

Irene is a graduate of Lincoln University with a Bachelors in Agricultural Science and first class honours in Environmental Science. She is currently working towards a PhD in Water Resource Management. Irene has experience in assisting research projects and tutoring in Soil Science and Water Resource Management disciplines. Her research interests include sustainable groundwater management and building resilience to climate change. Her hobbies include cooking, tramping, and spending time with friends and family. Irene’s PhD is entitled “Riparian saltwater intrusion under sea level rise”. Her research draws on Christchurch as a case study and aims to address saltwater intrusion from tidal rivers into the adjacent shallow aquifers under sea level rise using field and groundwater modelling investigations. Her supervisory team includes Dr Leanne Morgan and Dr Crile Doscher.


Rachel Teen

Rachel is a recent graduate of Lincoln University with a Masters in Water Resource Management. She has returned to University of Canterbury (where she studied Education and English as an undergraduate) to work toward a PhD in Water Resource Management. With a background in project and business management Rachel is interested in social science and has become particularly interested in the complexity of human/water interactions - the concept of hydrosocial research. Her PhD will explore this concept through analysis of water sensitive cities - what are they and whether New Zealand could support them? Rachel has held board positions in the tourism and health sectors, and now assists the core group at the New Zealand Association of Impact Assessment is Vice Chair on the board of Graduate Women Canterbury; and intermittently continues her project management work toward biodiversity restoration around Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere.

Email Rachel Teen

Water Resource Management Masters Students

Students currently undertaking their second year of a Water Resource Management Masters are:

  Thesis topic Supervisor(s)
Daniel Clark

Representing the surface water and groundwater interactions of a hill-fed braided river within a numeric groundwater model in the Waikirikiri/ Selwyn River and surrounding shallow groundwater systems.

Email: Daniel Clark

Leanne Morgan, Tim Davie and Julian Weir
Patrick Durney The predictability of the outcomes of the Hinds Managed Aquifer Recharge Trial (Ashburton, Canterbury). Leanne Morgan, David Scott, Theo Sarris
Sokna Ly Application of Remote Sensing and GIS in Flood Risk Assessment under Climate Change Scenarios: A Case Study of Tonle Sap Basin, Cambodia.

Crile Doscher, Jenny Webster-Brown.

Lughano Mwenibabu Sediment trace metals as indicators of rural land use change in lake cores in Canterbury. Jenny Webster-Brown, Crile Doscher
Mohamad Odeh

Integrated rainwater harvesting technology to improve the performance of stormwater network and the associated quality of urban waterways in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Crile Doscher, Tom Cochrane, Jenny Webster-Brown
Ariana Painter

Determining potential sources of pollution and habitat limitation in the Ōtukaikino River which contributes to the potential decline of a sensitive macroinvertebrate taxa. Propose potential solutions for remediation.

Email: Ariana Painter

Jenny Webster-Brown, Michele Stevenson.
Rachel Skews

Investigating the mechanisms of heavy metal binding to mussel shells via geochemical modelling, to enhance the applicability of treatment systems for metal contaminated stormwater.

Email Rachel Skews

Jenny Webster-Brown, Frances Charters, Tom Cochrane, Aisling O’Sullivan