Sampling at one of our well array sites in Canterbury

Sampling at one of our well array sites in Canterbury

Christchurch Science Centre,
27 Creyke Rd, Ilam, Christchurch
CONTACT PI: Louise Weaver [email]
Environmental Microbiology Laboratory


Our group’s research studies the microbial diversity and function in groundwater and wastewater environments.  We have a key focus on understanding the impacts of anthropogenic activities have on water environments.  As part of this we track the survival of pathogens and their transport in water and wastewaters.  Another aspect of our research is understanding the natural diversity present in environmental systems and how resistant they are to environmental and contaminant pressures.  As we are a Crown Research Institute our research is very end user driven and as such the research can be very varied and dynamic, depending on immediate need.  This can be very different research to our core long term research on microbial systems in the groundwater and wastewater environments.  Within wastewater research we are focused on natural and sustainable systems and approaches to wastewater treatment.


  • Microbiology of groundwater and wastewater
  • Transport and survival potential of pathogenic organisms in the environment
  • Microbial biofilm formation in groundwater
  • Natural treatment systems for wastewater treatment
  • Bioremediation of groundwater

Staff and Post-docs: Judith Webber, Phil Abraham, Murray Close
Postgraduate students: Amanda Inglis, Emmanuel Egbadon


Weaver L, Abraham P, Webber J, Draper J, Bolton A, McGill E, Robson B, Lin S, Humphries B, Gilpin B, Close M. 2017. Groundwater Health Index. In: International Sub-Surface Microbiology (ISSM) Conference (Rotorua, 2017).

Weaver L, Karki N, Mackenzie M, Sinton L, Wood D, Flintoft M, Havelaar P, Close M. 2016. Microbial transport into groundwater from irrigation: Comparison of two irrigation practices in New Zealand. Sci Tot Environ, 543, 83-94.

Burbery L, Weaver L, Humphries B, Gregor J. 2015. Efficacy of coral sand for removal of E. coli and bacteriophage under saturated flow conditions. J Environ Qual, 44, 1384-1391, doi:10.2134/jeq2015.01.0044.

Weaver L, Webber JB, Hickson AC, Abraham PM, Close ME. 2015. Biofilm resilience to desiccation in groundwater aquifers: a laboratory and field study. Sci Tot Environ, 514, 281-289, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.10.031.

Weaver L, Sinton LW, Pang L, Dann R, Close M. 2013. Transport of microbial tracers in clean and organically contaminated silica sand in laboratory columns compared with their transport in the field. Sci Tot Environ, 443, 55-64, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.09.049.