Our People

Dr. Olivier Ausseil

Managing Director and Principal Scientist

Dr. Olivier Ausseil is Aquanet Consulting’s Founding Director and Principal Scientist. He has 20 years of experience as a practising scientist, successively working as a researcher, a regional council scientist, and a private consultant. He specialises in the application of freshwater science and the management and coordination of complex multidisciplinary projects in the context of environmental monitoring and reporting, resource consent processes, and policy development.

Olivier is involved in numerous projects involving freshwater quality and ecological monitoring and reporting and science strategic advice. He is leading the design of the Monitoring and Evaluation Plan for the Kaipara Moana Restoration project, on behalf of the Ministry for the Environment and the review of Northland Regional Council’s environmental monitoring networks. He recently led Stage 1 of Our Land and Water National Science Challenge’s Monitoring Design project (completed on March 21). In recent years, he completed a review of Otago Regional Council’s Science Capability, was the project manager for the development of the National Environmental Monitoring Standard (NEMS) for discrete water quality sampling, and assisted Ministry for the Environment with the national prioritisation of water research needs.

Olivier has extensive practical experience in freshwater objective and limits setting, having played key roles in their development in several regions in New Zealand. He is currently the water quality expert on behalf of the Waikato and Waipā River iwi for the Waikato Plan Change 1 process.

Olivier has been involved in well over 150 resource consent applications and compliance assessment cases, as a technical expert on behalf of consenting authorities, applicants, submitters, and as an Independent Hearing Commissioner. He is currently the project manager for the re-consenting of numerous wastewater treatment plants, community water supplies, and potable water treatment plants. He was the Science Leader for the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme from 2011 to 2014. Olivier has extensive experience as a technical expert in council-level, environment court, and Board of Inquiry processes, and regularly mentors and provides training for technical experts involved in RMA processes.

Consultation is key to the successful development and outcome of many projects. Olivier has been part of the Wai Group, an award-winning consultation process in the Ruapehu area, and is currently involved in multiple consultation processes with a range of stakeholders.


Simon Bendall

Director

Simon is a Director at Aquanet Consulting Ltd and a Founding Director & Principal Planner of Traverse Environmental. With over 15 years of experience in the environmental planning sector, Simon has worked extensively with local government, Iwi, and private sector clients on a wide range of environmental projects. Simon’s specialist areas include natural hazards planning, facilitation, process design, resource consenting, and community engagement. Simon is also a qualified mediator, with accreditation from the Arbitrators and Mediators Association of New Zealand.


Fiona Death

Science and Practice Manager

Fiona is the Science and Practice Manager for Aquanet and has been with us since 2010. She has over fifteen years of research experience specialising in freshwater ecology both here in New Zealand and overseas (UK, USA, Spain, Chile). Fiona holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Canterbury and a Bachelor of Business Studies Degree from Massey University.

Fiona has extensive experience in macroinvertebrate, periphyton, and fish monitoring and water quality investigations, data analysis, assessments of environmental effects, as well as reviews of resource consent applications and compliance assessments. She also teaches in university courses and has written many technical reports for Regional and District Councils, Government agencies, and private companies. As the Science and Practice Manager for Aquanet, Fiona continues to undertake these activities while also overseeing and managing the activities of the rest of the team in the Palmerston North office.


Dr. Michael Greer

Senior SCIENTIST

Michael has been a Senior Scientist with Aquanet since March 2018. He has over 9 years of experience as a freshwater scientist and has previously worked as an Ecology Scientist at Environment Canterbury (2014 – 2017), Greater Wellington Regional Council (2017-2018), NIWA (2014), and as a contractor to the Department of Conservation (2011-2014).

Michael has significant experience as a technical expert in resource consent processes. He has prepared (on behalf of the applicant) and reviewed (on behalf of the consenting authority), many resource consent applications relating to domestic and industrial wastewater discharges, industrial and urban stormwater discharges, earthworks, and river works, forestry harvesting, and stream reclamation and diversion.

Michael specialises in quantifying the impacts of land use and discharges on water quality and freshwater ecosystems. He is especially skilled at working in limit-setting processes at the science-policy interface and has been heavily involved in the development of second-generation regional plans in Canterbury and Wellington. As part of these processes, Michael has led expert panels, managed large technical investigations, and presented evidence to hearing panels.

Michael has significant experience in collaborating successfully with a range of parties to produce scientific solutions to water quality issues, which are both understandable and relevant to the entire community. Effectively establishing and fostering relationships with the farming industry, iwi, and other key stakeholders have been vital to Michaels’ success in developing and leading important strategic initiatives, such as the improvement of the protection provided to Canterbury’s whitebait resource, and the widespread uptake of sustainable management of agricultural drainage networks.


Dr. Mark Heath

SENIOR SCIENTIST

Mark, the newest member of the team, joined Aquanet as a Senior Scientist in March 2021. He has over 10 years’ experience as a freshwater scientist, including seven years working at the Greater Wellington Regional Council as a freshwater ecologist. Mark has also previously worked at the Cawthron Institute and Victoria University of Wellington.

Mark is the current science lead for the Greater Wellington Regional Councils Te Whanganui-a-Tara Whaitua limit setting process. As part of this role Mark has organised, participated-in and led expert panels, overseen the selection and implementation of land use and water quality models, led technical investigations, and broken-down and communicated complex science to community committees.

Mark is also a freshwater technical expert providing advice to the Greater Wellington Regional Councils’ plan change team as it progresses towards it 2022 and 2024 Schedule One processes. While at Greater Wellington, Mark also managed the Rivers State of the Environment (SoE) programme, which included network design, targeted investigation, and regional and national reporting.

Mark has extensive experience as a technical expert in resource consent processes. As a regional council scientist, he has reviewed many resource consent applications relating to wastewater discharges, industrial and urban stormwater discharges, earth and river works, sediment discharges, and stream reclamation and diversion.

Mark strongly believes that good environmental outcomes are underpinned by robust science, clear communication, and strong partnerships. His success in managing the risk to public health posed by toxic algal blooms across the Wellington Region is but one example of where Mark has built effective partnerships and worked collaboratively with a range of stakeholders for positive environmental and community outcomes.


Lovisa Ekelund

Freshwater Scientist

Lovisa Ekelund has been a Freshwater Scientist with Aquanet Consulting Ltd since 2017. Prior to this, she was employed as a Research Assistant and Postgraduate Tutor at Massey University. She has also worked as a high school Biology teacher and Laboratory coordinator. Lovisa holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and a Master of Environmental Management.

Lovisa’s research at Massey University focused on aquatic invertebrates and their usefulness as biomonitoring tools in wetland ecosystems. For this project, she sampled invertebrates and macrophytes from 28 wetlands in the North and South Islands in New Zealand gaining experience in freshwater monitoring, macroinvertebrate identification, and data analysis.

In her current role, Lovisa is involved in water quality and ecological monitoring, conditioning, packaging, and handling of samples collected from any fieldwork, overseeing and quality control of macroinvertebrate processing.

She regularly prepares and writes water quality and ecological reports for the re-consenting or compliance monitoring of potable water treatment plants and wastewater treatment plants in the lower North Island. She has prepared and contributed to many Assessment of Environmental Effects technical reports relating to wastewater and stormwater discharges and has undertaken compliance assessments on behalf of the Greater Wellington Regional Council. Lovisa has also been involved in preparing and presenting expert evidence to hearing panels.


Dimitrios Rados

Freshwater Scientist

Dimitrios has been a Freshwater Scientist with Aquanet Consulting Ltd. since January 2021. Before that, he had been working for Aquanet as a field and lab assistant during the last stages of his Ph.D. studies in Freshwater Ecology at Massey University. He is a Higher Education Associate Fellow and has been tutoring for courses on freshwater ecology and applied river management at Massey University. He has also worked as a freshwater ecology research assistant, high-school biology teacher, and aquarium keeper. He holds a BSc in Biology and an MSc in Ecology and Population Genetics.

Dimitrios specialises in freshwater macroinvertebrate ecology. His Ph.D. focused on the biodiversity of rare stream macroinvertebrates in protected areas and assessed the relationship between rarity and biomonitoring, sampling method, local environment, life stage, and position within the stream network. He collaborated with the Department of Conservation, Iwi, and other New Zealand freshwater scientists. During his MSc studies in Finland, he assessed the success of restoration actions in spring ecosystems, based on benthic macroinvertebrates.

As a Freshwater Scientist with Aquanet, Dimitrios has been involved in fish, macroinvertebrate and periphyton monitoring, data analysis, and preparation of water quality and ecological reports for the re-consenting or compliance monitoring of potable water treatment plants, domestic and industrial wastewater treatment plants, and stormwater discharges in the lower North Island. He has undertaken compliance assessments on behalf of the Greater Wellington Regional Council and has been involved in investigations regarding microbial load in stormwater-receiving streams and in projects aiming at establishing freshwater ecosystems’ restoration monitoring regime.


Jeremy Xu

Research Assistant

Jeremy Xu has been a Research Assistant with Aquanet Consulting Ltd. since December 2018. He holds a Master of Science degree from the University of Otago. Prior to this role, he was involved in a research project that investigates the ecological impacts of neonicotinoid insecticides on New Zealand freshwater macroinvertebrate communities in a multiple-stressor context.

Jeremy’s research at the University of Otago focuses on trout growth and population dynamics. For this project, he carried out an electrofishing survey along the Cardrona River gaining experience in freshwater ecology monitoring and data analysis.

In his current role, he is involved in monitoring, invertebrate processing, and data analysis.