Prospective Students

Thank you for your interest in considering the Thomsen Lab for conducting your graduate studies at the School of Biology, University of Canterbury.

We combine experiments, surveys, analysis of long-term dataset and meta-analysis, to test how patterns in biological communities are generated and maintained and our research provides predictions on how coastal systems will respond to human stressors and recommendations for conservation strategies needed to ameliorate their impacts.

We are always on the look-out for sharp, enthusiastic and hard-working students who have a passion for marine and coastal ecology.

We can offer a vibrant international research group and the opportunity and flexibility to pursue your research interests on a broad set of research topics from diverse habitats located just around Christchurch including rocky coastlines, sedimentary estuaries, seagrass beds, saltmarshes, and sandy beaches (see the Research and Publications pages for examples of our research). These coastal systems are jam-packed with exciting endemic and poorly-studied species, allowing graduate students to make great contributions to local, national, and international ecology.

Christchurch is a fantastic place be a student. It’s not only surrounded by diverse marine systems, but also with mountains (yes – skiing and tramping) and lakes and rivers (yes – fishing, swimming and other water activities – if you are insensitive to waters <20 °C) at your doorstep, a modern international airport and as a central hub for the beautiful South Island of New Zealand. Following major earthquakes of 2011, the reconstructed Christchurch is today now a totally safe place to pursue a graduate career.

The University of Canterbury offers competitive doctoral fellowships twice a year whose deadlines generally fall in mid-May and mid-October ( If you are interested in applying for one of these scholarships (you do need good grades to have a chance), please email Mads well in advance to express your interest and discuss a potential project and the application process.