Irene Middleton

PhD candidate (Marine), Massey University

Irene is a PhD candidate at Massey university in Albany, she works together with oceangoing citizen scientists including fishers, divers, underwater photographers and spearfishers to track tropical fishes in New Zealand waters. Irene has previously worked at NIWA as part of the team developing sustainable Kingfish and Hapuka aquaculture and as a marine biosecurity specialist at the Northland Regional Council.

She has visited Rangitahua/Kermadec islands twice on recreational scuba dive trips and twice as the Senior ranger for the islands while working for DOC. During the latter trips she managed the staff changeover, gear deployment and maintenance work for the team on the islands. She has participated in two marine biodiversity expeditions through the South Pacific with the Auckland Museum, Museum of Australia and Conservation international.

During these trips she visited the Cook Islands, Tonga, Niue, New Caledonia and Fiji and explored many uninhabited and volcanic islands. She was also part of the team that satellite tagged the first oceanic manta rays in New Zealand waters. Irene is an incredibly passionate scuba diver and ocean swimmer and an award-winning nature photographer specialising in underwater photography. Her work has been features in local and international magazines, online blogs, scientific literature and conservation publications.