Who are we?

Tomahawk Lagoon Citizen Science project team is facilitated by members of ECOTAGO Charitable Trust.

Team facilitators are:

Andrew Innes


Recently retired from secondary school teaching in 2013, Andrew taught biology, chemistry and science. In 2005 he was awarded a Royal Society of NZ Teacher Fellowship and developed the Healthy Harbour Watchers programme. The focus was to investigate different aspects of the environmental health of the Otago harbour ecosystem. This has formed the basis of the Tomahawk Lagoon Citizen Science project he now leads.

Dr Johnathan Kim

Jonathan is an independent educator and scientist with a PhD in Oceanography. He has worked as a scientist for both DSIR and NIWA and more recently as a research scientist with the University of Otago. Jonathan retrained as a secondary school teacher in 2008 and he provides us with high quality scientific expertise and advice for both the Healthy Harbour Watchers and Tomahawk Lagoon Citizen Science projects.

Dr Murray Vickers


Murray retired from teaching chemistry and science at Columba College in 2015. He has a PhD in chemistry and his great passion and strength is sharing this background with students in the classroom and on independent projects in related areas. He has encouraged the students to contribute to science fairs as well as mentoring others in the CREST Awards, an initiative of the RSNZ. His expertise has greatly enhanced the Healthy Harbour Watchers and Tomahawk Lagoon projects.

Lena Schallenberg


Lena has been working as a researcher in freshwater ecology and water quality for the past 5 years. She is currently doing her PhD at the University of Otago looking at picocyanobacteria in Tomahawk Lagoon among other lakes around New Zealand. Lena helps the Tomahawk Lagoon Citizen Science Team with ecological advice, data upkeep, field assistance and science communication.

Andrew Austin 

Andrew is one of our “resident consultants” on our facilitation team. He is a passionate and knowledgeable advocate for a healthy Tomahawk Lagoon ecosystem and catchment. He has a deep understanding of what is happening to the biodiversity at the lagoon with a great love of the birdlife. Andrew is our “go-to” person for bird watching and identification. He assists us with data collection which we archive in eBird NZ website.

Dean Williamson


Dean is another “resident consultants” at Tomahawk lagoon. He has a great passion for and deep understanding of the biodiversity of Tomahawk Lagoon and its catchment. Dean lives close to the lagoon and is a real expert in capturing the birds, bugs and fish either in a net or on his camera. He is a strong advocate for a healthy Tomahawk Lagoon ecosystem and a well cared for recreational backyard.

Mary Thompson

Mary is a long-time member of Birds New Zealand, a nation-wide ornithological society that provides independent, scientifically rigorous data on bird numbers and distribution to inform conservation planning. Birds are important indicators of environmental health. Mary helps the students identify and count the variety of birds that inhabit the lagoons. These are the only regular bird counts of a coastal lagoon in Otago and will be valuable for future research for years to come as the data are archived in eBird. We have already discovered that the lagoons are an important moulting site for native paradise ducks, and that many more native scaup are using the lagoons than 4 years ago.