Professor Chris Battershill

Chris Battershill

Toihuarewa – Takutai, Chair Coastal Science

Qualifications: BSc MSc(Hons) PhD Auckland, Dip AICD Australian Institute of Company Directors

About Chris

Professor Chris Battershill holds the inaugural Bay of Plenty Regional Council Chair in Coastal Science, Toihuarewa – Takutai, based in Tauranga. Amongst other national and international collaborations the Chair oversees coastal science for the University and has been the New Zealand lead for INTERCOAST programme, established by Waikato University and Bremen University in Germany to create a major centre of marine research excellence in the Bay of Plenty. Professor Battershill also is the Director for the Division of Health, Engineering, Computing and Science, Tauranga, a PI for the Entrepreneurial University platform on algal research, and is the inaugural Director of the Coastal Marine Field Center in Tauranga. Formerly Principal Scientist and Research Team Leader (Supporting Sustainable Use of Marine Biodiversity) at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and a Program Leader at NIWA, his research spans the tropics to the Antarctic and focuses on marine ecology, aquaculture, environmental science, and biodiscovery for medicinal and agricultural sectors.

Recent Activities

International collaborations are being forged with the Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research, James Cook University, Flinders University, and continue with AIMS, SCRIPPS and the National Cancer Institute. The INTERCOAST program, funded by the DFG Germany and MBIE with the University of Bremen/MARUM is now complete graduating over 55 PhD and MSc NZ and German students. Environmental research work continues around Otaiti Reef (Astrolabe) in association with the MV Rena recovery with a focus on the effects on the Mauri of the ecosystem with new work in Taranaki examining carbon flux and effects of catchment sedimentation. The Coastal Marine Field Station continues to grow, now hosting the Facility for Aquaculture Research of Macroaglae (FARM).

Recent Publications

For a full list of Chris' recent publications click here.

Papers Taught

Research Supervised


  • Kiri Reihana (In progress). Marine environmental recovery of Whakaari.
  • Amy Coppock (In progress).  Significance of fish-sponge interactions in coral reef ecosystems. JCU.
  • Saúl González-Murcia. (In progress). Effects of a changing climate on sponge communities on a coral reef. JCU
  • McCormack, Sam (2022). Systematics and biogeography of marine sponges from North Eastern New Zealand.
  • Taikato, Vanessa (In Review). The science behind ahumoana tawhito (ancient aquaculture): translocation of toheroa and other kai moana by early-Maori.
  • Lewis Dean (2021). The Chemistry of Bioactive Natural Products from New Zealand Marine Macroalgae and their Potential as New Agrichemicals
  • Cadwallader, Helen (2020). Diet composition and heavy metal accumulation in NZ Batoid Elasmobranchs.
  • Stine Sorensen (2019). New Zealand seagrass (Zostera muelleri) response to chronic and acute sedimentation: Linking non-structural carbohydrate reserves to resilience.
  • Anja Singer (2019). Modelling the distribution of macrofauna species in the Jade Bay in response to environmental change.
  • Merle Bollen (2019). Range expansion mechanisms in invasive seaweeds
  • Tobias Kulgemeyer (2018). Integrated electromagnetic, optical and acoustic imaging of coastal systems.
  • Huteau, Julien (2017). Use of stable isotopes and trace elements to characterise nutrient input and Ulva algal blooms in Tauranga Harbour, New Zealand.
  • Raymond Bannister PhD, JCU. (2008) Sponge ecology and feeding biology.
  • Dave Abdo (2007) “Chemical ecology of Haliclona spp”. PhD, UWA
  • Steve Whalan (2007) “Ecology of Dictyoceratid Sponges on the Great Barrier Reef”. PhD, JCU.
  • Piers Ettinger-Epstein (2007) PhD “Chemical ecology of Luffariella variabilis and Monoalide biosynthesis”. PhD, JCU.
  • Oliver Floerl (2002) PhD. Marine Invasion Ecology in Northern Queensland. PhD, JCU.
  • Sarah Gardner (2002) “Marine Microbial Biology on the GBR”. PhD, JCU.
  • Plus 6 previous PhD, 3 Post Docs.

MSc (Research)

  • Anita Lewis (2021). Microplastics in the marine environment: Sediment contaminant and bioaccumulation rates in bivalves within the Bay of Plenty.
  • Claire Voogt (2020). The Chemical Ecology of a New Zealand Marine Alga.
  • Taylor Farr (2020).  Investigation of New Zealand marine algae for use in horticulture
  • Reiter, Yanika (2020). Comparing competitive interactions and settlement success among native and non-indigenous species in marine hard bottom communities of colonial ascidians, from the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.
  • Beets, Fenna (2017). The feeding ecology, pumping efficiency and respiration rate of the New Zealand sea sponge, Polymastia croceus.
  • Browne, Ashleigh (2016). Biodiscovery and production of PSA antibiotics from marine algae.
  • Kellet, Melissa (2021). Coastal habitat partitioning by sharks and rays (elasmobranchs).
  • Bernstein, Daniel (2015). The chemistry of pollutant mixtures emanating from the MV Rena.
  • Dempsey, Te Puea (2015). Toitu Te Moananui a Toi - The effects of the MV Rena on the water quality, chemistry and zooplankton of Otaiti (Astralobe Reef).
  • McSweeny, Caleb (2015). The effects of contaminated Rena sediments on juvenile paua (Haliotis iris).
  • Webb, Nicola (2015). Chemical ecological insights into metabolites of the New Zealand marine sponge, Cliona celata.
  • Taikato, Vanessa (2015). Estuarine condition and macro-benthic communities in Te Tāhuna o Rangataua, Te Awanui, Tauranga Harbour.
  • Ashley Webby (2014). Toxicological effects of MV Rena pollutants to New Zealand fish and lobster
  • Daniel Louden (2006) “Sponge clone recovery and fibre quality measurement and characteristics”. MSc, JCU


  • Moraes, Carlos (2019). The quantification of external colour changes during sexual transition in the protogynous Spotty wrasse Notolabrus celidotus.
  • Reihana, Kiri (2016). Contrasting microbial communities across anthropogenic pollution gradients: MV Rena shipwreck versus urban pressures.
  • Brooke, Nathania (2015). Larval fish ecology in Tauranga Harbour.
  • Culliford, David (2015). Characterisation, potential toxicity and fate of storm water run-off from log areas of the Port of Tauranga.
  • Sturgess, Nicole (2015). Mapping the ecological and biophysical character of seabed habitats of the Paraninihi Marine Reserve, Taranaki, New Zealand.
  • McCormack, Sam (2015). The Taxonomy of Demospongiae (Porifera) from the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand - connecting Linnaean and Phylogenetic Classification.
  • Macpherson Diana (2013). Effects of catastrophic coastal landslides on the Te Angiangi Marine Reserve, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand.
  • Steve Whalan (2002) “Genetic differentiation among populations of the vivparous marine sponge Haliclona sp. in south Western Australia”. BSc Hons, UWA.
  • Dave Abdo (2002) “The influence of the physical environment on a bioactive marine sponge, Haliclona sp. in temperate Western Australia”. BSc Hons, UWA.
  • Ray Bannister (2003) “Feeding biology of Dictyoceratid sponges” BSc Hons, JCU.
  • Daniel Louden (2003) “Raceway production and clone technologies for sponge culture” GdipRes Meth, JCU.
  • Plus 4 previous MSc, 4 previous BSc(Hons), 1 Dip Eng.

Research Interests

Marine ecology, benthic ecology, chemical ecology, biogeography, trophic cascades, biodiscovery, aquaculture, biosystematics (porifera and ascidiacea).

Recent Publications

  • Coppock, A. G., Kingsford, M. J., Battershill, C. N., & Jones, G. P. (2022). Significance of fish–sponge interactions in coral reef ecosystems. Coral Reefs. doi:10.1007/s00338-022-02253-8

  • González-Murcia, S., Coppock, A. G., Ekins, M., Battershill, C. N., & Jones, G. P. (2022). Effects of exposure, depth and aspect on sponge communities on a coral reef. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 685, 111-126. doi:10.3354/meps13981

  • Mc Cormack, S. P., Kelly, M., & Battershill, C. N. (2020). Description of two news pecies of Dysidea (Porifera, Demospongiae, Dictyoceratida, Dysideidae) from Tauranga Harbour, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. Zootaxa, 4780(3), 523-542. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.4780.3.5

  • Bartholomä, A., Capperucci, R. M., Becker, L., Coers, S. I. I., & Battershill, C. N. (2020). Hydrodynamics and hydroacoustic mapping of a benthic seafloor in a coarse grain habitat of the German Bight. Geo-Marine Letters, 40(2), 183-195. doi:10.1007/s00367-019-00599-7

Find more research publications by Chris Battershill


Antarctica; Biology; Biotechnology; Coastal Sciences; Coastal Zone Management; Ecology; Indigenous Rights; Intellectual Property; Maori Culture/Tikanga; Marine; Natural Resources; Science

Aquaculture, Marine Natural Products

Contact Details

Email: [email protected]
Room: Sulphur Point or TCBD 4th Floor.
Phone: +64 274455908
Cellphone: 0274455908