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Ceridwen (Crid) Fraser

I have an undergraduate degree in conserving cultural materials, but my obsession with the ocean and the creatures that live in it refused to be squashed, so I did a second undergraduate degree in marine biology. My Honours year was spent researching marine ecology at the Australian Museum. I stayed on at the Museum for a year or so, working as a technical officer, then moved across the ditch in 2006 to study for my PhD in the Department of Zoology at the University of Otago (Dunedin, New Zealand), graduating in 2009. During my PhD, I fell in love with New Zealand and its incredible marine environments, so I stayed in Dunedin for my first postdoctoral fellowship with the Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution. I then took up a postdoc position in the Biological Control and Spatial Ecology group at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium, where I worked for around a year before accepting an ongoing position in the Fenner School of Environment and Society at the Australian National University, in 2012. In 2019, I was thrilled to take the opportunity to move my lab group - permanently - back to the University of Otago, New Zealand. I am now based in the Department of Marine Science at the University of Otago. I have children and support a culture of work-family balance in academia.

Key awards and appointments:

2022: I took on the role of Associate Dean of Research for the Division of Sciences.

2019: The International Biogeography Society's biennial award for significant, innovative contributions to biogeography by a mid-career researcher (MacArthur & Wilson Award)

2019: Rutherford Discovery Fellowship, New Zealand

2018: Elected as one of the two academic staff members on the ANU Council, which governs and provides strategic oversight for the university.

2018: Australian Academy of Science medal for distinguished early-career research in biology (Fenner Medal).

2017: ARC Future Fellowship

2016: ACT Scientist of the Year

2014: ARC Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA)

Laura Smith and Katie Moon, in the lab

Crid Fraser in Antarctica


Katie Moon (right) graduating with her PhD, 2018, personally congratulated by ANU Vice Chancellor and Nobel Laureate Prof Brian Schmidt


Dr Grant Duffy, Research Fellow, 2022 -
Grant is using environmental modelling to understand where, how and when marine species from more northern coasts might establish in Antarctica, under warming scenarios. His work contributes to Marsden project MFP-20-UOO-173 (How vulnerable are Antarctic coasts to colonisation?).

Dr Phoebe Chapman, Postdoctoral Fellow, 2024 - Phoebe is investigating whether microbiomes associated with giant kelp and southern bull kelp vary around the sub-Antarctic, and how they change during rafting voyages. Her work contributes to Marsden project MFP-20-UOO-173 (How vulnerable are Antarctic coasts to colonisation?).

Claudia Hird, PhD student, 2024 -
Claudia's PhD is looking into why animals aggregate at geothermal sites, especially around hot springs.

Vahid Sepahvand, PhD Student, 2023 -
Vahid's PhD research is using genomic tools to understand patterns of connectivity and biogeography in marine species (fish and invertebrates) in the Ross Sea Region, Antarctica. His work contributes to the goals of the MBIE Antarctic Science Platform, ANTA-1801.

Pluto (Xiaoyue) Liu, PhD student, 2023 -
Pluto's PhD uses a combination of genomics and modelling to test the connectivity patterns of giant kelp, Macrocystis, in the Southern Hemisphere - and in particular, where rafts reaching Antarctica come from. Their work contributes to Marsden project MFP-20-UOO-173 (How vulnerable are Antarctic coasts to colonisation?).

Ian Dixon-Anderson, PhD student, 2021 -
Ian is investigating the ecology and evolution of the New Zealand sand dollar. His primary supervisor is Miles Lamare.
Jessica Moffitt, PhD student, 2021 -
Jessica is using heated plates to assess the response of benthic communities to warming, across shallow water sites in Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica. Jessica's primary supervisor is Miles Lamare.

Anusha Beer, PhD student, 2021 -
Anusha's research is examining freshwater (lake) communities on Rēkohu (the Chatham Islands), looking at questions related to community assembly and biogeography. Anusha's primary supervisor is Travis Ingram.

Benjamin Graham, Master's student, 2024
Ben is looking at how freezing affects the reproductive viability of southern bull kelp, and whether animals associated with the kelp can 'jump ship' to survive on other host macroalgae if need be.


Postdocs and Research Fellows:

Dr Felix Vaux (2019 - 2021)

Felix worked on the Marsden project assessing the intraspecific biodiversity impacts of earthquakes on intertidal macroalgae - specifically, whether major earthquake disturbances (uplift and landslides) created opportunities for new lineages to establish in the absence of density-blocking effects.


Dr Anna Simonsen (2018)

During her postdoc, Anna used genomic approaches to look for plant symbionts, including rhizobia, in Antarctica. Knowing whether plant symbionts are in - or can disperse to - Antarctica will help us to understand how easily invasive plant species might establish on the continent with warming climates. Anna is now a DECRA Fellow in the Borevitz lab at ANU.


Research Assistants:

Rachel Rathjen (2018)

Rachel helped with a range of projects including macroalgal DNA extractions at GBS, metabarcoding of Antarctic soils, and exon-capture analyses of Antarctic mosses.

Dr Amanda Padovan (2017)

Amanda assisted with or led lab work on various projects including marine invertebrate population genomic work.

Dr Clare Adams (2021)

Antarctic Science Platform research, carrying out GBS SNP analyses to understand patterns of diversity and connectivity in the Ross Sea Region of Antarctica.

Completed PhD students:

  • Dr Katie Moon: Katie's PhD assessed whether terrestrial parasites could disperse with aquatically-dispersing hosts (in this case, ticks with penguins). Katie graduated in July 2018 after her PhD was accepted unconditionally. For more information on her project, see

  • Dr Elahe Parvizi: Eli researched the impacts of past (thousands of years ago) earthquake uplift on marine intertidal communities in southern New Zealand (Otago). Her primary supervisor was Prof Jon Waters.

  • William Pearman: William's research investigated geographic and adaptive patterns in macroalgal (kelp) microbiomes (mostly bacteria). He looked at whether microbiomes travel across oceans with drifting kelp, and how the microbiome influences kelp development. For more information see

  • Pamela Olmedo Rojas: Pamela used eDNA from soils to research the factors driving some biogeography patterns in Antarctica.

Honours and Master students:

  • Frances Perry: Frances' research investigated how kelp-associated invertebrates, such as isopods and amphipods, cope with cooler temperatures.

  • Xiaoyue (Pluto) Liu: Pluto compiled data from previous genetic studies of terrestrial species in Antarctica, and carried out phylogeographic analyses to look for broad-scale diversity patterns.

  • Johnette Peters: Johnette used genomic approaches to trace the origins of intertidal kelp rafts reaching the earthquake-decimated coastal regions of North Canterbury, New Zealand.

  • Emma Pearce: Dendrochronological analysis of climate change impacts on Podocarpus lawrencei in the Australian Alps.

  • Callum Blake: Distribution of the phytomyxean gall-forming parasite Maullinia associated with southern bull kelp species (Durvillaea) in Chile and Australia.

  • Laura Smith: Identifying glacial refugia through meta-analysis of genetic diversity in Antarctic springtails

  • Xenia Weber: Identifying cryptic species in southern bull kelp in Australia. Xenia was awarded a University Medal.

  • Amy Macris: Genetic diversity in alpine tree frogs (Litoria verreauxii alpina) affected by chytrid fungus

  • Katie Moon: Evolutionary history and dispersal capacity of little blue penguin ticks


Minor Research Project students:

  • Frances Perry: Frances' 4th year research project was a pilot study into how to carry out physiological research on kelp-associated invertebrates.

  • Alex Harrison: Pumice rafting as a transportation agent for marine life: relationships between clast volume / porosity and biomass / diversity

  • Laura Smith: Assessing marine worm dispersal potential among estuaries in NSW

  • Victor Wang: Reproductive and dispersal strategies underpin density dependent demographic processes

  • Wei (Cheng) Tan: Ectoparasite dispersal by an aquatic bird

  • Laura Wilson: Connectivity of tropical marine ecosystems in north-western Australasia.


Frances Perry, Xiaoyue Liu and William Pearman, collecting samples in New Zealand.


William Pearman, graduating his PhD in 2023.


Ben Graham checking his experimental set-up.

Summer students Rani and Levi checking kelp for pathogenic infections, 2023.

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