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Work experience

Jan 2007Present

Conservation volunteer

Motuihe Trust
  • Volunteer approximately 12 hours a month and manually remove invasive weeds, collect seeds from native plants and maintainnative seedlings in a nursery setting
  • Lead novice volunteer groups in learning about their local environment and performing hands-on conservation activities
  • Developed an educational booklet for primary school-aged children highlighting Motuihe Trust's pest-free and restoration messages
Jul 2009Apr 2010


Auckland Regional Council
  • Using GIS to determine suitable locations for biodiversity monitoring stations throughout the Auckland region
  • Leading a four person field team to collect data on birds, vegetation and pests at eight forest/shrubland monitoring stations
  • Project coordination of the setup and operations planning for Tawharanui and Shakespear Regional Parks biodiversity outcome monitoring programmes - including overseeing teams of up to 12 people deploying invertebrate and reptile pitfall traps
  • Team assistant in a four person field team collecting vegetation and bird data at 17 freshwater wetland monitoring stations
Feb 2010Feb 2010

GIS Tutor

Auckland University of Technology
  • Computer lab tutor for an introductory GIS class of 25 students.  Assisted students in performing common GIS operations in ArcGIS 9.3.  Answered questions about manipulating rater and vector data, such as data input, data editing and encoding, in a fast-paced environment.
Apr 2007Jun 2009

GIS Analyst

Department of Conservation
  • Developed an extensive GIS database of 4,785 threatened plant records by interviewing botanists and consulting herbarium records, botanical society publications and previous databases. The improved data quality will assist New Zealand in meeting its national priorities for protecting habitats of threatened indigenous species.
  • Produced first-ever digital map of rare ecosystems in the Auckland region.Researched the occurrence of rare ecosystems by consulting herbarium records, geology maps, ecological field surveys and geological databases.The 34 rare ecosystem types I digitised will assist New Zealand in meeting its national priorities for protecting ecosystem types that have become uncommon due to human activity.
  • Prepared primary data sets for systematic conservation assessments to establish marine protected areas (MPA) in the Northeastern Bioregion (Ahipara to East Cape):
    • Digitised naval fare sheet depth soundings to produce maps of seabed relief and potential rocky reef, organised side scan and video ground truthing of these maps and analysed ground truthing footage
    • Acquired high resolution digital aerial photos for region; digitised rocky reefs, beaches, saltmarsh, mangrove, seagrass and mudflat and organised ground truthing of features using volunteer student projects
    • Captured expert knowledge from 20 marine scientists on Northeastern Bioregion marine biodiversity through recorded structured interviews and digital maps
    • Reviewed and compiled maps of previous MPA proposals throughout New Zealand
  • Conducted inventory of available marine and coastal data on physical, biological, social, economic and cultural characteristics of the Northeastern Bioregion
  • Liaised with regional and local councils, Ministry of Fisheries, MAF, LINZ, NIWA, and universities to acquire and negotiate agreements for available marine data
  • Compiled and managed marine data on a dedicated GIS server and maintained metadata and data currency
Sep 2004Dec 2006

Teaching assistant

  •  Explained environmental concepts in easy-to-understand language
  • Graded assignments and exams and managed spreadsheet of student marks
  • Coordinated and oversaw tasks of two other teaching assistants
Sep 2003Aug 2004

Biological technician

U.S. Geological Survey
  • Organised daily water quality sampling of Lake Michigan creeks and swimming beaches - including training and supervising three assistants and managing a database of results
  • Contributed to environmental microbiology research which resulted in a journal publication
  • Designed and conducted "Wetlands in Parks" field trip and presentation for 20 local science teachers
May 2000Jul 2003

Environmental consulting intern

Tetra Tech
  • Drafted preliminary Environmental Impact Statements
  • Devised method to organise 13,000 technical articles using Endnote software
Jan 2003Apr 2003

Team facilitator

McGill School of Environment
  • Facilitated the work of a 10-person team to develop a biodiversity management plan for a 400-acre Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) site
  • Collaborated with the NCC, landowners and other stakeholders to compile bio-physical data and develop appropriate management recommendations
Mar 2002Jun 2002

Environmental officer

Phillip Baxter College
  • Independently expanded tasks of the position to include coordinating recycling programme, environmental building audit and waste clean-up for a residential dormitory serving 800 university students
  • Communicated with other university divisions to integrate environmental activities of the college into larger university programmes
  • Trained two subsequent environmental officers and developed an information manual


Sep 2004Dec 2006

Masters of Science

McGill University
  • Safely and effectively managed field teams and complex equipment in hazardous environments
  • Used differential GPS to map study transects, salt marsh elevation, and salt marsh tidal channels
  • Developed techniques to assess water table level, soil porosity, frequency and depth of tidal inundation and other influences on saltmarsh species composition
  • Managed complex databases of environmental and intertidal vegetation species to describe and analyse patterns in species abundance and diversity
  • Developed and tested statistical models of saltmarsh species composition and physical correlates
Sep 1999Jun 2003

Bachelor of Science

  • Graduated with Great Distinction
  • Successfully completed papers in biology, ecology, ecological biogeography and environmental hydrology
  • Awarded four year scholarship ($24,000 CAN) and environmental scholarship ($5,000 CAN)
Jul 2001Jun 2002

Exchange student

  • Successfully completed papers in advanced field biology, soils and landforms, remote sensing, and GIS
  • Analysed hyperspectral imagery and conducted ground truthing to map vegetation of a Sydney lagoon
  • Employed various field techniques to examine environmental drivers of forest vegetation in the Sydney region


Matt Baber

From July 2009 to April 2010, Matt supervised the field work and project coordination I conducted as part of the ARC's region-wide biodiversity monitoring programme.

Dan Breen

From November 2007 to June 2008 I collaborated with Dan in creating GIS data layers for the marine protected areas project. 

John Laurence

Since January 2007 John has supervised my conservation volunteer work on Motuihe Island. 

Motuihe educational booklet

Wild animal distributions

Marine habitat mapping


Professional ecologist and GIS analyst with 10 years of experience who is committed to terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem conservation through research, education and community partnerships.


High proficiency in using GIS and GPS for data acquisition, analysis and map production

Field and laboratory research expertise:

  • Surveying techniques for vegetation, birds, mammals, fish and insects
  • Water quality monitoring and soil sampling techniques
  • Removal of pest plants including lantana, moth plant and rhamnus

Outstanding computer skills:

  • Competent in range of univariate and mulitvariate statistical analysis and software including SPSS, CAPS and CANOCO
  • Familiarity with decision support systems built in Marxan, CPlan and Criterium Decision Plus
  • Thorough knowledge of Microsoft products (Word, Excel, Power Point) and NERO picture and video editing

Strong planning and organisational skills:

  • Adept in planning, organising and managing large projects involving many partners from a range of scientific fields, management agencies and community groups.

Proven written and verbal communication:

  • Extensive experience in explaining scientific information to diverse audiences including members of the public, landowners, science teachers, and students

Presentations and publications

Lindsay, L., C. Wild, S. Byers.  2009.  Auckland Protection Strategy - A Report to the Nature Heritage Fund Committee.  Wellington, Nature Heritage Fund.  81 pages.

Byers, S. 2008. Motuihe Nature Quest. 8 page educational booklet.

Byers, S.E. and G. L. Chmura.  2007.  Salt Marsh Vegetation Recovery on the Bay of Fundy. Estuaries and Coasts. 5: 869–877. 

Byers, S.  2006. Sub-surface hydrology and vegetation drivers at macrotidal Bay of Fundy salt marshes: Implications for future restoration. M.Sc. Thesis, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

Byers, S.  2006.  Book Review – The World’s Largest Wetlands – Ecology and Conservation L.H. Fraser and P.A. Keddy (eds.).  Journal of the American Water Resources Association. 42: 258-259.

Byers, S, McEnroe, N., Sabourin, A., Ross, M., Stone, P., and Chmura, G.  2005.  Pollen Signatures of Everglades Tree Island Vegetation Zones.  Ecological Society of America, Montreal, Canada. 

R.L. Whitman, S.E. Byers, D.A. Shively, D.M. Ferguson, and M. Byappanahalli.  2005.  Occurrence and growth characteristics of Escherichia coli and enterococci within the accumulated fluid of the northern pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea L.).  Canadian Journal of Microbiology. 51: 1027–1037.

Byers, S. and R. Whitman. 2004.  Book Review - Stick Your Head Under the Surface by Bruce Meunch.  Journal of the American Water Resources Association. 24: 271-273.