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Seagrass research gets French student to Waikato University

22 August, 2013

Seagrass research brings French student to Waikato University

New Zealand’s climate and a work placement at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) has brought French university student Betty Gubri to the Waikato.

Betty is completing a five-month work placement at NIWA, which has involved laboratory work at the University of Waikato. The placement is part of her study towards a diploma at the National Institute of Marine Sciences in Normandie, France.

“I'm really interested in the marine sciences, especially the special ecosystems like mangroves, coral reefs and salt marshes. Through email I made contact with Carolyn Lundquist, a marine ecologist/modeller from NIWA and Dr Lundquist offered me the work placement opportunity,” says Betty.

The placement has involved working with Dr Lundquist on her seagrass and mangrove restoration project, which has meant trips to the Manukau Harbour and Whangamata to study the plant life in these areas.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time so far in New Zealand. It’s been a great chance to improve my English and explore the country.”

In addition, Betty has had the opportunity to work on the DNA genetics of seagrass at the University of Waikato, with ecologist Dr Chrissen Gemmill.

Dr Gemmill says Betty’s involvement with Waikato University has involved isolating DNA from field collected seagrass samples (Zostera muelleri).

“Betty is using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to make sure that the DNA extracts contain only Zostera DNA and no other contaminants, for our future DNA fingerprinting studies,” says Dr Gemmill.


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