MenuMain navigation

Meet our staff


Here are short profiles of some of the team on board


Diana Macpherson

Kia ora tātou. Ko Diana Macpherson tōku ingoa. I am the Assistant Collection Manager of the NIWA Invertebrate Collection and a Marine Biology Technician at Taihoro Nukurangi (NIWA).

My role on this voyage is to support the benthic biological sampling section of the research program, that is, I sample, curate, and record the animals that live on or in the seafloor substrate. To examine and sample the benthic biology of the area around Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai, we are using the Deep Towed Imaging System (DTIS) to video and photograph the seafloor, the multicorer to sample the seafloor sediment to see what is living in it, and the seamount sled or beam trawl to capture a sample of biology living on the seafloor surface. 

My role in these operations ranges from watching the DTIS video live feed and recording the observations in real time, to sieving sediment from the mutlicorer through a fine mesh to extract animals, to sorting through a sled or trawl catch to group the animals into taxonomic groups, photograph, curate, and record their data in our collections database. 




Rob Stewart

Hi, I’m Rob Stewart and I’m a principal technician with the Deepwater Fisheries and Ecology group based in Wellington.

My role on this voyage is varied, but I am mainly providing technical support for various deck operations. These include the sea surface sampling with the Continuous Plankton Recorder that we towed through New Zealand’s offshore waters on our way to Tonga and back. 

I have also been helping to sort the biological specimens captured from either the rock dredge or sled, as well as photographing some of the lifeforms found whilst they are still fresh to capture their full splendour. My main task is supporting the DTIS operation by observing the ‘live’ video footage of the seafloor: we simultaneously log the substrate descriptions (how the seafloor looks) and identification of any fauna that we happen to observe.

I also assist with taking water samples off the CTD and the processing of mud in several ways from the multi-corer.



Sarah Seabrook

Hi, I'm Sarah Seabrook, I'm a Biogeochemist. I study how interactions on the microscopic scale change the function and stucture of marine ecosystems.
On this voyage, I have been looking at how ash from the volcanic eruption has impacted important processes like food and oxygen production in the ocean. This has involved many experiments with water and mud collected around the volcano to understand how microscopic life present in the ocean has been affected by this major event.


Marine Biology Technician
Principal Technician - Marine Ecology