Master of Science, Doctor of Philosophy (Earth Sciences)
Faculty of Science and Engineering
A University of Waikato science graduate is in the Middle East working to reduce the environmental impacts of a major sea port project.
Peter Longdill is an Environmental and Sustainability Manager as part of a government steering committee.
"I'm involved in the establishment and management of processes to ensure that the project adheres to its environmental objectives, commitments and obligations. So this includes ensuring that the project consultants and contractors are implementing effective mitigation measures on site and that the environmental monitoring works are conducted appropriately. This covers everything from air quality, to vibration, noise, soils, groundwater, coastal processes, oceanography and marine ecology," says Peter.
Peter completed a Master of Science (MSc) and a PhD at the University of Waikato, following a two-year stint in Australia as a GIS analyst.
"I knew specifically the subject area I was interested in and selected Waikato University because of the excellent reputation of the Coastal Marine Group's research and staff, great relationships with industry, and a huge selection of field survey equipment and the technicians and capabilities to use it."
He says that one of the major highlights of his current job has been seeing such a huge project all the way through from a green-field site, through to a major construction site with around 8000 persons working on site.
"Another highlight was my involvement in the relocation of a number of hard and soft corals and mangrove trees which could not be avoided during the Port planning."
The relocation programme involved the removal, transport and reattachment of approximately 10,000 healthy hard coral colonies.
Peter's study focus while at Waikato University was coastal physical oceanography with a mixture of water quality and ecology.
"My degrees gave me a sound understanding of the natural sciences and a good amount of scientific 'common sense'. My work at Waikato helped me to be able to 'talk the scientific talk' while the applied nature of the research also helped me to relate to business interests and commercial realities associated with applied science. That combination has helped me a lot."
During his study Peter also made the most of the Coastal Marine Group's connections with industry and local councils to secure joint industry/government scholarships which were aimed at assisting industry via applied research at universities. "Those scholarships allowed me to focus on my research and also provided resources to allow me to travel to and present at international conferences." After finishing his PhD Peter relocated to the Middle East to work for a Danish based engineering and environmental consultancy company.