SOUTHERN FIORDLAND INITIATIVE TEAM
PROFESSOR JAMES J. BELL
Professor James J. Bell is a marine biologist from Victoria University of Wellington whose research focuses on the responses of benthic communities to environmental stress, with a strong focus on sponges. James began working in Fiordland in 2018 and is interested in understanding the importance of seafloor communities to the overall ecosystem health in fiords, and how important ecological processes might be impacted by climate change. James also has a strong interest in deeper water communities using Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) as part of his research on temperate mesophotic communities.
DR ALICE ROGERS
Dr Alice Rogers leads the Marine Ecology and Ecosystem Modelling group at Victoria University of Wellington. Alice’s research focusses on quantifying the impacts of environmental and human-induced change on marine ecosystems, with a particular focus on fish and fisheries. Alice has been working in the Fiords since 2019, developing ecosystem models to predict the impact of climate change on Fiordland animals, as well as exploring how deep, mesophotic reefs might function to support fisheries, and provide a refuge for mobile animals during periods of thermal stress.
PAUL MITCHELL (MITCH)
Mitch is co-owner/operator of Fiordland Charters. He has a varied background in high Country farming, heavy machinery ops and has been flying helicopters and skippering commercially in and around Fiordland for the last 20 years. During this work Mitch has worked with multiple central and local government agencies on climate and environmental issues. Along with Katherine, after witnessing changes above and below the water in Dusky/Breaksea Sound Mitch started the conversation which led to the creation of SFI.
Katherine is co-owner/operator of Fiordland Charters. She currently manages the day to day operations of the charter business alongside chefing/crewing for the charters. Katherine is a keen fisher and hunter and uses her knowledge of cooking to educate clients about sustainable fishing. Katherine’s role as a citizen scientist and member of the Southern Fiordland Initiative (SFI) is to support long term research opportunities and undertake regular data collection in the Fiords. Via social media, the SFI website and interactions with visitors to Dusky/Breaksea Katherine will pass on information about the work undertaken by SFI and provide opportunities for non-scientists to better understand the changing marine environment.