Georgia Pollard is a PhD candidate working to develop a genetic method of zooplankton identification that will improve on the processing time and cost of the standard method, morphological identification.
Being able to identify zooplankton with higher throughput will allow for the generation of larger data sets, leading to more statistically meaningful analyses of zooplankton abundance and distribution, and how they may be affected by climate change.
In the near term, the goal is to determine the best process for genetically identifying zooplankton. Overall, the objective is to gain insights into the abundance and distribution of different species across the Ross Sea region and use that information to estimate how climate change will affect these animals, which are important to the food chain and in carbon sequestration.
Supervision of this work is being undertaken by the University of Waikato's International Centre for Terrestrial Antarctic Research, NIWA, University of Auckland and the University of California, San Diego.