Ulla von Ammon


Ulla works in the marine biosecurity group at the Cawthron Institute in Nelson and will collect eDNA samples to investigate plankton biodiversity patterns and invasive species/pathogen distributions.

Ulla studied marine biology at the University of Rostock in Germany where she focused on the phylogeny of green algae to be used as indicator taxa for the EU water framework directive. A PhD scholarship on a collaborative project between NIWA, the University of Auckland and the Cawthron Institute lead her to New Zealand. There she developed and optimized molecular tools for marine biosecurity surveillance. After completing two PostDocs, she works now as a biosecurity scientist mainly for the MBIE Biosecurity toolbox project (https://www.biosecurity-toolbox.org.nz/) to further explore novel biosecurity tools. Various side projects include ddPCR assay development for aquaculture surveillance and plankton diversity assessment using eDNA. Her expertise is strongly related around invasive species, eDNA/RNA, metabarcoding and real time PCR assay development. A favorite aspect is the communication of science in workshops with school kids, councils, iwi and hapū and local communities.

Within the last few years, Ulla was lucky enough to be part of several ship voyages: as a student onboard the Maria Mann Borgese in the Baltic Sea and for biosecurity research in New Zealand twice onboard the Robert C. Seamans from the Woods Hole Institute in Massachusetts, recently onboard the SV Manawanui in the Northlands and onboard the MV Strannik in the Fiordlands.