Rebecca McLeod

Rebecca last visited the Auckland Islands in 2006, on the way to the Balleny Islands, Antarctica, onboard the sailing vessel Tiama and the islands really left an impression on her.

Rebecca will be leading the benthic (seafloor) ecology module on this expedition, working with the young leaders to survey what species are present and to collect specimens of seaweeds for taxonomic work back on the mainland. A remote operated underwater video will be used to explore beneath the surface.

Rebecca earned her PhD at Otago University. Rebecca’s thesis focussed on marine communities in Fiordland, in particular looking at what roles the rainforest and the sea play in providing sustenance for the animals that live in the fiords. This work sparked a lot of public interest when Rebecca was named the 2008 MacDiarmid New Zealand Young Scientist of the Year.

Rebecca has since held postdoctoral research fellowships, supervised postgraduate students, been Lead Scientist of a science-based business, and more recently has been working as a science and communications consultant.

Rebecca was appointed as a Fiordland Marine Guardian in 2012 by the Minister for the Environment, and has recently been elected as the Chairman. The Guardians are an advisory group for the region, and work closely with the regional council and government agencies who have an active interest in biosecurity, fisheries, marine reserves, tourism and use of this precious place. Their vision is to maintain or improve the fisheries and visitor experience for future generations to use and enjoy.

Although raised in Nelson, Rebecca has become a true southern girl, based in Dunedin and spending any spare time with her young family on Stewart Island.