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Kiwi friend of the moa returns home


The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has appointed Kiwi expat Professor Michael Bunce to the role of Chief Scientist.

Professor Bunce has sequenced ancient DNA from the fossil bones of moa and giant eagles but more recently has developed methods to survey biodiversity in water by recovering the DNA that animals leave behind. He has built a distinguished career and reputation applying his genetics expertise to a range of taxonomic, ecological, medical, and environmental issues.

Michael is presently serving as Professor of Environmental Genomics at Curtin University, Western Australia, and heads the University’s Trace and Environmental DNA laboratory. His academic career charts a path from Lincoln to Oxford University. He was an Australian Research Council Future Fellow before being appointed to a full professor at age 38. He has a PhD in medical sciences and a substantial multidisciplinary publication record.

EPA Chief Executive Dr Allan Freeth says: “We are delighted to secure an individual of Professor Bunce’s expertise, vision, and passion. Michael is a Kiwi who is looking forward to making a contribution to New Zealand science while continuing his staunch support for the All Blacks – this time on the correct side of the Tasman.

“He has spent the past 17 years studying biodiversity across terrestrial and marine environments. A recognised expert in genetics, he has maintained a strong connection to New Zealand through co-operative work with colleagues in academic and government agencies.”

Professor Bunce will take up the role at the EPA in August 2019.


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