Michelle Kelly
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Michelle Kelly


Michelle Kelly BSc, MSc (Hons), PhD (Auck), DSc (Science)–Michelle was born in Otago, New Zealand, in 1961, and grew up in Papua New Guinea with her parents and six siblings (1970-1980), all completing their secondary education through The Correspondence School, Wellington. In 1980 Michelle commenced studies at Auckland University, completing a BSc in 1983, and an MSc (Hons) in 1987, through research carried out on tropical sponge biodiversity and ecology at the University of Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby. Michelle gained the degree of PhD (Zoology) in 1991 from Auckland University, studying the molecular biology and taxonomy of New Zealand sponges with Professors Peter and Patricia Bergquist. From 1991 to 1992 she spent two years as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, Florida, where she participated in studies on marine natural products from deep-sea sponges using submarines and DNA sequence analysis, with Professor Shirley Pomponi. In 1993 Michelle commenced work at The Natural History Museum in London, where she spent four years doing sponge research around the Indo-Pacific in fields as diverse as molecular biology as sponge aquaculture. Michelle is currently a marine biologist in the Coasts and Oceans National Centre at the National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA) in Auckland, where she leads the NIWA Marine Invertebrate Taxonomy Projects and is Managing Editor of the NIWA Biodiversity Memoir Series.

Biodiversity Marine Biology Paleontology Taxonomy Zoology

Work details

Marine Biologist

National Institute of Water & Amospheric Research
Coasts and Oceans
NIWA's mission is to conduct leading environmental science to enable the sustainable management of natural resources for New Zealand and the planet.

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