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Aquinas College - Ange McManaway

2015 | Marine biology

SchoolAquinas College

HostCoastal Marine Field Station

RegionBay of Plenty

Ange McManaway is a teacher of Biology and Science at Aquinas College. She has also taught at Wellington College and St Patrick’s College, Silverstream before heading to Japan to teach English.

Ange has been hosted by the Coastal Marine Field Station in Tauranga. This is a research organisation that was opened by the University of Waikato’s Environment Research Institute to facilitate the wide range of ground breaking research being conducted in Tauranga Harbour and around the Bay of Plenty. During her time here Ange has been involved in a variety of research activities and has worked with faculty staff and post graduate students in the areas of the environmental effects of development, aquaculture, climate change and the discovery of bio-actives for medicines and agriculture.

Involvement in many aspects of field research has been a valuable experience and Ange has been able to assist researchers with larval fish sampling which is part of a longitudinal study to ascertain the numbers and distribution of larval fish in Tauranga Harbour over many months. Carrying out analysis of water samples from Otaiti (Astrolabe Reef), where the MV Rena shipwrecked in 2011, has been of particular interest. The grounding of this vessel has been described as New Zealand’s worst maritime environmental disaster and the Coastal Marine Field Station scientists are involved in many aspects of sampling, monitoring and assessing the impact of this event on marine ecosystems.

Other exciting areas of research that Ange has been involved in included the effect of urbanisation on the Tauranga Harbour marine environment. In particular, an investigation into the effect of contaminants (metals) on cockles which has been conducted with core sample collection occurring. An understanding of how sophisticated methods of metal detection in shells utilising nanotechnology has highlighted the interconnectedness of all disciplines of science and technology. Ange has also worked alongside scientists to make and distribute artificial reefs containing Ekloniaspto to investigate the effect of urbanization on this important endemic algae at the cellular level.

Working with researchers who are studying the movement of bronze whaler sharks (Carcharhinusbrachyurus) in the Bay of Plenty has led to exciting opportunities to participate in field work and dissections. Supporting scientists as they sample, identify and classify new species of sponges has been rewarding as many of these contain known bio-actives which has led to research into the field of drug discovery.

The House of Science links the University of Waikato Tertiary Partnership to primary and secondary schools in the region. This composite program has given Ange a firm foundation of knowledge and understanding of the Nature of Science, the diversity of scientific fields and career opportunities as well as associated practical field and laboratory skills.

Ange is grateful to be a Participant Teacher in the Science Teacher Leadership Programme, funded by the Government and administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand. She would also like to thank the University of Waikato Coastal Marine Field Station, the House of Science, Tauranga and Aquinas College for this opportunity.