Tracking Porirua's rig sharks


About me

Name: Warrick Lyon

Current study: PhD at Institute of Marine Sciences, University of Auckland

Current job: Fisheries Technician, NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research)

Education: B.Sc Marine Biology, M.Sc Marine Biology

A few questions answered…

How did you get in to marine biology?

I have always had a fascination and love of what’s in the water, starting as a kid searching through rock pools, progressing to studies in Zoology at Victoria University and research on sharks for post-graduate studies at both University of Canterbury and University of Auckland. I found work at MPI, first as a fisheries observer then in science policy, and now I work for NIWA as a fisheries technician.

Why are you studying rig sharks?

Well, because hundreds to thousands use my local estuary every year, and until recently I had no idea they were there. Now I want to learn as much as I can about them, and pass that knowledge on to others to help them appreciate the value of the estuary.

What’s your favourite spot/activity in Porirua Harbour?

Jumping from the bridge, watching Pauatahanui Inlet on a calm day (it is beautiful), watching a tagged shark on my computer screen as it swims around the estuary, and the walkway being built around Pauatahanui Inlet.

Why do you think it’s important to do this kind of research and why make a website about it?

I think it’s important that this kind of research is undertaken because without it we would know nothing about what lives in our estuaries and harbours, we wouldn’t know the damage that pollution can cause, and we wouldn’t know if anything was there that needed protection.

I think my life is richer because I have an understanding of the environment around me. This research is adding to that knowledge, that richness. This tracking website enables local communities to engage directly (from the comfort of their homes or schools) with an animal that is very rarely seen even though it uses our estuary for half the year: watching to see if the tracked shark uses the large open basins, the steep sided channels, or the shallow tidal water; where it goes at night, and where it spend its days.

What do you hope to do after your PhD?

  • Continue my work at NIWA researching New Zealand sharks. 
  • Ensure we look after Porirua Harbour.

Where do you work?

When I’m not working on my PhD I work at NIWA where I have been part of a team evaluating national rig shark nurseries,  tracking mako sharks, hammerhead sharks , and great white sharks.

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