Dr John Tyrrell

ERI Business Manager

Qualifications: PhD Auckland

John Tyrrell has two main roles at the University of Waikato. He is the Business Manager for the Environmental Research Institute and is also the Research Developer for the biological industries sector. He works with researchers to develop multidisciplinary research collaborations and partnerships. He has a PhD from the University of Auckland in marine biology and biotechnology and completed a post-doctorate at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (California, USA) in biological oceanography. For the last decade John has held a range of business roles in the private and public sectors.

Research Interests

My primary role at the University of Waikato is as a research development professional working with research organisations, groups and individuals to develop R & D strategies, to build external client relationships and to advise on research proposal development. I have additional experience and expertise in IP identification, management and the commercialisation of technology.

My research has been in three main areas:

  1. Development of diagnostic assays for harmful algae and other marine invasive species
  2. Biosystematics of harmful algae
  3. Development of taxon-specific molecular probe assays for biological oceanography

My research has developed molecular probe assays for detection and enumeration of fish-killing harmful algae (Raphidophytes). This technology has been transferred successfully to commercial analytical laboratories and to research groups in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Korea and the USA. During my post-doctorate the research programme developed species and taxon-specific probe chemistry to provide near real-time data for biological oceanography. These assays were deployed onto the Environmental Sample Processor ( to collect and report on primary production, as well as specific species autonomously. A new area of research is on blue biotechnology and in particular, the development of added-value products from algae.


Biology; Biotechnology; Coastal Sciences; Ecology; Environment; Environment Issues; Environmental Change; Environmental Science and Technology; Marine; Microbiology; Molecular Biology; Oceanography; Remote Sensing; Science

Recent Publications

  • Smith, K. F., Rhodes, L. L., Adamson, J. E., Tyrrell, J. V., Mountfort, D. O., & Jones, W. J. (2011). Application of a sandwich hybridisation assay for rapid detection of the Northern Pacific seastar, Asterias amurensis. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 45(1), 145-152. doi:10.1080/00288330.2010.526124

  • Mountfort, D., Rhodes, L., Broom, J., Gladstone, M., & Tyrrell, J. (2007). Fluorescent in situ hybridisation assay as a species-specific identifier of the northern Pacific seastar, Asterias amurensis. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 41(3), 283-290.

  • Ayers, K., Rhodes, L. L., Tyrrell, J., Gladstone, M., & Scholin, C. (2005). International accreditation of sandwich hybridisation assay format DNA probes for micro-algae. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 39(6), 1225-1231. Retrieved from

  • Tyrrell, J. V., Bergquist, P., Bergquist, P., & Scholin, C. (2004). US20040023212 A1, Compositions and methods for detecting raphidophytes.

Find more research publications by John Tyrrell

Contact Details

Room: F.1.07A
Phone: +64 7 858 5122
Cellphone: +64 21 986 967