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Christopher Cornwall


Dr Cornwall examines how kelp forests and coral reefs function today and how this will be altered by future ocean acidification and warming. He is particularly interested in how understanding physiological changes to species' can dictate ecological outcomes, and role of variability in the environment (e.g. pH, water motion and light). He also focuses on determining the mechanisms of resistance/tolerance against climate change impacts by exploring the role of organism physiological, adaptive/acclamatory processes, and environmental interactions.

Dr Cornwall recently won the Prime Minister's MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist Award, an award given to one scientist in New Zealand each year within 8 years post PhD, for his work understanding how calcification will be impacted for both temperate reef and coral reef taxa in the future. He is currently a past Rutherford Discovery Fellow, and has also been awarded an ARC DECRA in 2017.

Dr Cornwall works actively in the community, with school groups and the media to promote understating of the impacts of climate change in the marine environment. His research combines field work, complex laboratory manipulations, physiology, geochemistry and modelling to answer cutting edge questions in his field.


  • –present
    Rutherford Discovery Fellow, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington


  • 2013 
    University of Otago, PhD


Prime Minister's MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist Award, Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington's Research Excellence Award, ARC DECRA, Rutherford Discovery Fellowship, Hamilton Award