Ashley Rowden

Prof Ashley Rowden profile picture

Marine ecology, Marine Environmental Management School of Biological Sciences


Teaching in 2020

Personal Bio

PhD, University of Plymouth, UK | BSc (Hons), Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London, UK

I grew up by the sea near Swansea in Wales, from which grew my interest in all matters marine, and which led me to undertake a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Science at the University of London (1985). After which I worked first as geotechnical laboratory technician, before becoming a marine ecology technician at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory (UK). Whilst conducting field surveys, identifying seabed invertebrates, and analysing data as a technician – I did a part-time PhD in Marine Biology at the University of Plymouth (1993). After the PhD, I went to the University of Otago (NZ) to complete a Royal Society Post-Doctoral Fellowship (1995). I then returned to the UK and took up an academic position at the University of Plymouth for five years, teaching marine ecology, supervising PhD students as well as doing research focused on seabed communities of a variety of coastal habitats. I came back to NZ in 2001 to work at the National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA). At NIWA, my research has focused mainly on deep-sea ecology, with applications to environmental conservation and management issues. I now work part-time at both NIWA and Victoria University of Wellington.

Research Interests

My research interests are largely focused on examining the drivers and processes that control and maintain biodiversity in the marine environment. Specifically, I’m interested in exploring the relationship between the biodiversity of seafloor fauna and habitat heterogeneity, productivity and disturbance. To address such questions, I have been involved in research in a range of marine habitats from the intertidal to the deep-sea. Some of his research has concerned applied aspects of marine science. Such as determining the effects of fishing, aquaculture and seabed mining on seafloor fauna, and the production of habitat suitability models, environmental classifications, and ecological risk assessments for conservation and management purposes. I’m also interested in the philosophical, ecological, and practical issues that relate to identifying and describing 'biological communities'.

I’m currently working of projects looking at the impact of disturbance by seabed mining and turbidity currents on seafloor communities in the deep sea, and those that involve the development of habitat suitability models for the management of impacts on vulnerable marine ecosystems.


Rowden, A.A., Anderson, O.F., Georgian, S.E., Bowden, D.A., Clark M.R., Pallentin, A., Miller, A (2017). High-resolution habitat suitability models for the conservation and management of vulnerable marine ecosystems on the Louisville Seamount Chain, South Pacific Ocean. Frontiers in Marine Science 4:335. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2017.00335.

Rowden, A.A., Leduc, D., Clark, M.R., Bowden, D.A. (2016). Habitat differences in deep-sea megafaunal communities off New Zealand: implications for vulnerability to anthropogenic disturbance and management. Frontiers in Marine Science 3:241. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2016.00241

Rowden, A.A., Kröger, K, Clark, M.R. (2015). Compositional patterns of benthic assemblages on the northwestern Ross Sea shelf, Antarctica: interacting environmental drivers operating at multiple spatial scales. Hydrobiologia, 761: 211-233.

Leduc, D., Rowden, A.A., Nodder, S.D., Berkenbusch, K., Probert, P.K., Hadfield, M.G. (2014). Unusually high food availability in Kaikoura Canyon linked to distinct deep-sea nematode community. Deep-Sea Research II 104: 310-318.

View more publications at ResearchGate


Teaching in 2020