• Forum Speaker Spotlight #2

    by  • May 9, 2017 • Announcements, Events, Research

    In the lead up to our Annual Marine Science Forum on the 3rd and 4th of June, we will feature a post about each of the scientists presenting this year.hwbf-eventbrite-button

    This week we would like to introduce you to:

    Dr John W. Runcie

    • Honorary Research Associate, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney
    • Chief Executive Officer, Aquation Pty Ltd

    PhJohn_Runcieotosynthesis under pressure: survival at extreme depths and temperatures

    We all rely on photosynthesis for the air we breath, yet how does this vital process cope in the murky depths of the sea and the freezing waters of the Antarctic?  From surface-supply diving in freezing Antarctic waters to deep-diving in a submarine, this talk describes how marine plants and algae can survive such extreme environments.  Can these organisms survive the additional stresses that humans have caused? 


    Having completed a science degree at Sydney University in 1990, John worked with The Ecology Lab in Sydney conducting marine impact assessment work before landing a position with the then NSW EPA, coastal and estuarine studies section.  After several years with the EPA, John then started postgraduate studies at Sydney Uni (again), and was awarded a PhD in Marine Biology in 2001.   
    Postdoctoral research took the form of a NOAA supported grant to conduct coral reef research in Hawaii, developing a fluorescence-based approach to assessing the impacts of nutrients on nearshore coral reef systems.  During this time, John was invited to assist in the Australian Antarctic Division’s Human Impact Research Program, and spent the next few years working variously in Hawaii on deepwater projects or at Casey Station, Antarctica.  Research at Casey involved an examination of the physiology of seaweeds in a polluted bay by the old station, and involved both lots of diving field work as well as laboratory based experiments.  The deepwater projects in Hawaii involved in the use of technical diving to examine invasive species, and manned submersibles to examine macroalgal distribution and abundance to their lower depth limit. 
    Dr Runcie now owns and operates the company Aquation Pty Ltd, based in the Central Coast, NSW.  Aquation designs and manufactures marine plant physiology equipment including custom PAM fluorometers and respirometery systems, as well as water quality monitoring equipment.  Aquation caters to academic and research institutions both in Australia and overseas, having sold to USA, Portugal, Sweden, Spain, Thailand and China. 


    Marine Education Officer for the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre. A qualified marine scientist and educator with a Bachelor degree in Global and Ocean Science obtained from the Australian National University and a Graduate Diploma in Science Communication.