Peter Edwards, top left, Taputukura Raea, Shane Parata and Sonja Miller are all part of the Āwhina Victoria University of Wellington Coastal Ecology Laboratory Incubator, working on research investigating the impact of sediments on pāua and kina (image: V Meduna).
New Zealand's coastline is an important source of kaimoana, supporting commercial fisheries as well as recreational harvesting. However, despite its small landmass (only 0.2 per cent of the global land area) New Zealand's sediment input into coastal ecosystems contributes almost 1 per cent of the worldwide sediment yield, and this sediment load can affect coastal species, particularly sessile ones such as pāua and kina.
A group of marine scientists at Victoria University's Coastal Ecology Laboratory, also known as VUCEL, investigates the impact of suspended sediments on the reproduction, growth and respiration of these marine invertebrates, but they take a different approach to their research. Sonja Miller, Taputukura Raea, Shane Parata and Peter Edwards are all part of the Āwhina VUCEL Incubator, a Te Rōpū Āwhina whānau initiative at Victoria University to grow Māori and Pacific marine scientists. The goal of Āwhina is to produce Māori and Pacific scientists, technologists, engineers, mathematicians, architects and designers who will contribute to Māori and Pacific development and leadership.
Taputukura Raea, left, investigates the impact of sediment on the growth of paua, while Peter Edwards checks whether kina eggs have been fertilised (images: V Meduna).