Name: Susie Wood
Affiliation: Cawthron Institute, New Zealand

Susie Wood is a freshwater scientist and molecular ecologist based at the Cawthron Institute in Nelson, New Zealand. Her research is multidisciplinary and integrative, with the overarching goal of improving knowledge on freshwater ecosystems. It spans three broad areas: (i) toxic cyanobacteria dynamics in freshwater systems (both planktonic in lakes and benthic in rivers), (ii) the development and application of molecular techniques to monitor and understand aquatic systems, and (iii) integrating cutting edge techniques with more traditional paleolimnological approaches to guide future lake management and restoration.

Wood is the co-programme leader of a large project funded in 2017 known as “Our lakes’ health: past, present future” ( The team is obtaining a nationwide overview of health for about 10% of New Zealand’s lakes using paleo-environmental reconstructions. The team is using sediment coring, novel proxy analyses (environmental DNA, high-resolution core scanning), geochronology and Mâtauranga Mâori (indigenous knowledge) to reconstruct water quality and lake health over the past 1000 years and provide a richer understanding of the value of New Zealand’s lakes.