Research Technician, Te Papa Tongarewa
Jeremy Barker has always had a passion for the ocean and spent much of his childhood in and around the water. His passion led him to study marine biology at AUT University where he completed his Masters thesis on “The introduced Australian oyster blenny”. His thesis focused on establishing the distribution of this accidentally introduced fish, and investigating its ecology to determine possible impacts on New Zealand marine life. Following this study, Jeremy secured contracts with AUT working on research projects, before starting with the Te Papa Fish Team in 2011 as a Research Technician. His work at Te Papa is mainly based around maintenance and development of the fish collection, as well as providing technical support to internal and visiting researchers.
What do you hope to achieve on this expedition to the Three Kings?
We hope to collect a wide range of fishes to gain a better understanding of the fish diversity at this unique location. Hopefully we will discover new species records for the Three Kings, and perhaps even for New Zealand. Our team will also focus on obtaining photographs of fresh specimens for Te Papa’s upcoming comprehensive guidebook Fishes of New Zealand. We will also be aiming to take fresh of tissue samples for stable isotope and DNA analyses.
What skills are you bringing to the team?
Our Te Papa team has extensive fish collecting experience using a variety of techniques, and we have expertise in the preservation and storage of these specimens to make them available for current researchers, and for future generations to research. Personally I bring my skills in these areas, along with a wealth of experience free diving and spearing all over New Zealand.
When you’re not on an expedition what does a “day at work” look like for you?
My job is highly varied. I could be doing anything from working at my computer extracting data from our database, through to taking x-rays of fishes to aid taxonomic descriptions. One day per week we process frozen fishes collected by our networks (e.g. researchers, fishing industry or recreational anglers) and we identify, preserve and register them into the national fish collection. This is a really exciting part of my job because, not only do we regularly encounter species new to New Zealand waters, but even species new to science.