Professor Chris Battershill

Chris Battershill

Chair in 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, based in Tauranga. Amongst other national and international collaborations the new Chair oversees the New Zealand operation of the 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 heads the Coastal Marine Group in the Faculty of Science and Engineering 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, and environmental science, and biodiscovery for medicinal and agricultural sectors.

Recent Activities

International collaborations are being forged with the Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research and James Cook University. The INTERCOAST program with the University of Bremen supporting over 20PhD New Zealand and German students per cohort,  has been successfully funded for a further four years by the DFG Germany. 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. The Coastal Marine Field Station continues to grow, now hosting the 'House of Science' which facilitates outreach from the Tertiary Partnership (University of Waikato, Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, Te Whare Wananga o Awanuirangi and Waiariki, to primary and secondary schools in the region.

Recent Publications

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

Research Supervised


  • McCormack, Sam (in progress). Systematics and biogeography of marine sponges from North Eastern New Zealand.
  • Taikato, Vanessa (in progress). The science behind ahumoana tawhito (ancient aquaculture): translocation of toheroa and other kai moana by early-Maori.
  • Cadwallader, Helen (2020). Diet composition and heavy metal accumulation in NZ Batoid Elasmobranchs.
  • Huteau, Julien (2017). Use of stable isotopes and trace elements to characterise nutrient input and Ulva algal blooms in Tauranga Harbour, New Zealand.

MSc (Research)

  • 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 (in progress). 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.


  • 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.

Research Interests

Recent Publications

  • Hudson, M., Thompson, A., Wilcox, P., Mika, J., Battershill, C., Stott, M., . . . Warbrick, L. (2020). Creating guidelines for genomic research in Taonga species. In 9th Biennial International Indigenous Research Conference [Virtual].

  • 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

  • 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

  • McCormack, S., Battershill, C., Ross, P., & Kelly, M. (2018). A biogeographic baseline of Taranaki sponge communities: assessing the effects of catchment runoff and reviewing stability of species assemblages. In NZ Marine Sciences Society Conference: Weaving The Strands. Conference held at Napier Conference Centre, Napier, New Zealand.

Find more research publications by Chris Battershill


Antarctica; Biology; Ecology; Marine; Science

Aquaculture, Marine Natural Products

Contact Details

Email: [email protected]
Phone: +64 7 5570481