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Brian Paavo BSc PhD, Director and Principal Consultant

Brian Paavo DivingMy passion is bringing creativity, scientific rigour, and practical skills to help your group understand the marine environment at an appropriate level of inquiry. Your firm may already have excellent theoretical ecologists, environmental impact scientists, or policymakers, but lack cost-effective in-house resources to process macrofauna or meiofauna, develop benthic data, procedures, presentations, or instruments. I like to spearhead invertebrate taxonomy work or provide an outside assessment. I can facilitate equipment and study design solutions. I really enjoy supporting the process of how people do science with respect to the actual measurements they need, cutting through false assumptions, and integrating appropriate technology with your existing resources. I like turning ideas into reality.



I have over 15 years of experience with most aspects of macrofaunal and meiofaunal work.  I have designed and undertaken or facilitated surveys from intertidal estuaries to deep oceanic seeps. These include live culture, sampling, preservation, extraction, mounting (community samples or single individuals), and curation work. I especially enjoy working with polychaete fauna, and enthusiastically contribute to educational and interdisciplinary projects that integrate environmental information with biological observations. Our clients have found that I provide special value through my interdisciplinary approaches, personal attention, and my experience integrating the use of several of the most important tools in marine science:


Sediment Profile Imagery SPI-Scan (invented the rotational SPI system), tSPI, and traditional REMOTS-style systems


Bottom Samples: low and high-frequency sidescan sonar survey, analysis/reduction, and mosaicing. Day, VanVeen, US-NEL, Ponar, Ekman, and Petersen grabs. Beach seine nets. Beam, naturalist, and otter trawls. ROVs, drop cameras, photoquadrats, fish, sedentary, and mobile invertebrate video transects including chemical cryptofauna extraction. Manual diver, piston, and multi-corers for biological, nutrient, toxicity, sedimentological, and porewater protocols.


Brian Paavo and RosetteWater Column: CTD, Van Dorn and Nansen bottles. DOBIE wave gauges and Stowaway loggers. GPS drifters. Standard, bongo, vertical, and closing plankton nets. Limnological flow profiling equipment.


Other equipment: Nephelometers; colorimeters; spectrophotometers; pH meters; permeable membrane and FOXY oxygen probes; gas chromatographs; CHN analysers; scanning and transmission electron microscopes; zoom, biological, phase-contrast, and Nomarski interference light microscope systems; several underwater video, still (wide and macro) photography systems.


Vessels: NZ LLO ticket (R/V Nauplius, R/V Nemo, and M/V Spotty), operations on vessels ranging from 3-75 m OL.


SCUBA Diving: DAN Oxygen provider, OSH/NAUI/PADI certifications (>400 hrs), 100 FSW AAUS rating, tropical and temperate wet- and drysuit diving in blue, open, and semi-confined environments


Computer Application Proficiencies: R, MATLAB, postgreSQL, Minitab, PRIMER, Surfer, SolidWorks, Power CAD Pro, EAGLE PCB layout, Open Office Suite, Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Adobe Photoshop/Imageready, GoLive, PageMaker, GIMP, ImageJ, Scion, QGIS, SonarWiz, Caris' HIPS & SIPS, and QGIS, GRASS, and ARC suite.


 Selected Publications

Paavo, BL, Ham D, Gorlitz S, Probert PK (2012) How does tidal submersion time affect macroinvertebrate community patterns on a temperate sheltered sandflat? Marine and Freshwater Research, 63: 68–77.


Neuhaus B, Higgins RP, Paavo BL (2011) Chapter 10: Phylum Kinorhyncha (mud dragons). Dennis P. Gordon (ed.) in New Zealand Inventory of BioDiversity Volume 2, Chaetognatha, Ecdysozoa, and Ichnofossils, Canterbury University Press, Christchurch, New Zealand, 544 p.



Paavo BL, Jonker R, Probert PK, Thrush S (2011) Macrofaunal community patterns of adjacent coastal sediments with wave-reflecting or wave-dissipating characteristics. Journal of Coastal Research, 27(3): 515528.



Probert PK, Glasby CJ, Grove SL, Paavo BL (2009) Bathyal polychaete assemblages in the region of the Subtropical Front, Chatham Rise, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 43: 11211135.



Paavo B, Ziegelmeyer A, Lavric E, Probert PK (2008) Morphometric correlations and body mass regressions for Armandia maculata, Aglaophamus macroura (Polychaeta), and Zethalia zelandica (Gastropoda). New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 42: 8591.



Paavo B (2007) Soft-sediment benthos of Aramoana and Blueskin Bay (Otago, New Zealand) and effects of dredge-spoil disposal. PhD thesis, University of Otago Dept. of Marine Science, 498 p.



Probert PK, Paavo B (2004) Polychaetes. CD-ROM Review. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 38:753754.



Bailey-Brock JH, Paavo B, Barrett BM, Dreyer J (2002) Polychaetes associated with a tropical ocean outfall; synthesis of a biomonitoring program off O'ahu, Hawai'i.Pacific Science, 56(4):459479.



Bailey-Brock JH, Paavo B, Barrett BM, Dreyer J (2001) Changes in pollution indicators at the Sand Island Sewage Outfall. OCEANS 2001 MTS/IEEE Proceedings.


Paavo BL, Bailey-Brock JH, Akesson B (2000) Life history and description of a new species of Ophryotrocha (Polychaeta, Dorvilleidae) associated with the sewage outfalls of O'ahu, Hawai'i. Sarsia, 85(3):251264.



Paavo BL, (1998) Morphology and life history of an undescribed Ophryotrocha species (Polychaeta: Dorvilleidae) and its possible role as an indicator of organic enrichment.Pacific Science, 52(2):191.



Selected Consulting Works

('Grey' literature, copies available upon request with due consideration of client confidentiality)

  • Sediment Profile Imagery Results and Analysis: Seafood Producers Cooperative. Prepared for Haggitt Consulting.
  • Sediment Profile Imagery Results and Analysis: Sitka Sound Seafoods. Prepared for Haggitt Consulting.
  • Benthic habitat structures and macrofauna of lower Otago Harbour. Prepared for Port Otago Limited.
  • Benthic offshore surveys of proposed dredge spoil disposal sites off Otago Peninsula. Prepared for Port Otago Limited in cooperation with NIWA researchers.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Environmental impacts of dredge spoil from Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawai'i. Prepared for the US federal government and USACE.
  • Hawai'i Kai Marina: Two years of water quality monitoring. Prepared for the Hawai'i Kai Home Owners Association.
  • Environmental impacts of Poydactylus sexfilis mariculture. Prepared for the Hawai'i state government.
  • Invertebrates of Little Harbour, Stewart Island. Prepared for a private client.
  • Soft-bottom invertebrate communities near dispersive dredge spoil disposal areas off Dunedin, New Zealand. Prepared for the Otago Regional Council and Port Otago Limited.
  • Marine investigation of the Bluff municipal sewage outfall. Prepared for the Invercargill City Council.


Project Planners: If you are still in the early stages of your work contact me to explore your options for the best way to optimise your evidence-based resource consent application. We often work with terrestial planners just beginning to work in the marine environment. A full CV and support materials can be sent to include in your client presentation.


Brian Paavo in lab