Carolyn Burns, is a Professor of Zoology, University of Otago, where her research centres on biological processes in lakes, particularly in relation to plankton and microbial food webs, water quality and the management of freshwater ecosystems. She is best known for her work on trophic interactions and population dynamics of zooplankton, particularly copepods and Daphnia (water fleas), that form important links between primary producers (algae) and fish in lakes. She pioneered the use of radioisotopes and micronic beads to characterize trophic processes and develop quantitative models that are still in use today. Through her university teaching, membership of editorial boards of international journals in aquatic science, and work with national and international limnological organizations, Carolyn has promoted, supported and strengthened scientific research on lakes in New Zealand and throughout the world.
Recently awarded the Naumann-Thienemann Medal, the highest honor that can be bestowed internationally for outstanding scientific contributions to limnology.