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Daniel Breen

Associate Investigator



Auckland University of Technology

Te Wānanga Aronui o Tāmaki Makau Rau

A Bit About Dan

Dan is a lecturer in environmental science and marine biology in the School of Science at Auckland University of Technology. Dan trained as a marine biologist, but also specialises in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), spatial ecology, and the use of unmanned remote sensing systems. Dan completed his PhD at James Cook University on conservation planning for marine protected areas (MPAs). After moving to New Zealand, he worked at the Department of Conservation on marine protected areas and surveying species such as the Māui dolphin. He previously worked at the New South Wales (NSW) Marine Parks Authority and NSW Fisheries, mapping coastal marine biodiversity and helping to establish marine parks and aquatic reserves. At the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority he mapped biophysical data to help protect over a third of this World Heritage Area with no-take marine reserve zones. As a consultant, Dan worked on environmental impact and monitoring projects in marine, freshwater, and terrestrial environments and within the marine tourism industry. Dan's research interests include quantitative marine ecology, spatial and statistical modelling, and applying GIS based decision support systems. Recent projects he has been involved in include mapping sand cays and seabird colonies on the Great Barrier Reef, seaweed farms and coral reefs in the Solomon Islands, and marine spatial planning for protected areas and sustainable use in the New Zealand Territorial Sea.

Dan's Story

Dan first went to the Solomon Islands in 2018 as part of an AUT and Otago University project funded by the New Zealand Institute for Pacific Research (NZIPR). He was stunned by the amazing mosaic of reef and rainforest islands and the people living there.

Dan worked with the project team, the Solomon Islands Government, the community, and consultants to build a national geographic information system for sustainable seaweed aquaculture.

Dan and his team also mapped reef and coastal habitats from drone imagery and are now mapping and ground truthing changes in reef and coastal habitats at Kolombangara Island.  

Similar geospatial surveys and information systems have been built for community-based management in New Zealand.

The aim is to enable communities to make informed environmental decisions for statutory and customary  management in New Zealand and the Pacific Region.

Dan with PhD student Antony Vavia in Gizo.jpg
Dan Lindsey Fisheries staff Antony Vavia drone.jpg

Here are some examples of corals from the recent Solomon Islands trip that Dan is helping to identify


Connect with Dan

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