Name: Katharina (Kati) Doehring
Age: 36
Job: Freshwater ecologist
City/town: Nelson

What’s your job? Freshwater ecologist and science communicator with Cawthron Institute.

How did you get into this line of work? My parents owned a small piece of land by the Inn River, near Munich. This is where my interest in nature started and from a very young age, I collected plants and animals and studied their behaviour. I was intrigued by the flooding of the river during spring when the snow melted, and the trout we released in the waterways for anglers.

What does a typical working day look like for you? Depending on the projects I am currently working on, I try and focus on a particular project for a good amount of time to get some quality work done.
My work tasks include spatial mapping of fish distribution, writing of glossary and factsheets for LAWA [Land, Air, Water Aotearoa], freshwater community sampling (e.g. fish) to assess the impact of dams/culverts on fish passage, State and Trend analysis of water quality parameters (i.e. assessing whether E. coli levels have reduced over the past 10 years at a particular site).

What qualifications or training did you need? University qualifications: I have a Master of Science with First Class Honours.

What are the best bits about your job? I enjoy working with people and the fact that we are all working towards the same goal: to improve New Zealand’s waterways. Some of the work I do has immediate effect.

What are the worst bits? The same as in every job: there is never enough funding and time to do everything you want to do.

What’s your biggest career goal? A career highlight for me was being one of the key players in setting up the LAWA webtool and helping to launch the New Zealand Fish Passage Guidelines. My goal is to be a recognised science communicator in the international Freshwater Science and Management arena.


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