Insight into Antarctica at public talk

University of Waikato Professor Ian Hawes will be discussing Antarctica at a talk in Tauranga tonight. Supplied photo.

Professor Ian Hawes from the University of Waikato’s Coastal Marine Field Station in Tauranga will present a talk on Antarctica at Café Scientifique in Tauranga this evening.

Analogue sites - places where conditions are believed to mimic those on early earth or other planets - play an important role in developing an understanding of early life on Earth.

Antarctic lakes have been found to contain analogues of the earliest known communities on our planet, says Ian. 

The earliest records of life in the Earth’s rock record, stromatolites, some more than 3.5 billion years old and interpreted as produced by the trapping and binding of sediment by microbial communities.

“Over the last decade, Antarctic lakes have emerged as supporting a rich diversity of stromatolites, built by organisms similar to those around at the time. They are enhancing our understanding of life on earth for the billions of years when it supported only simple bacteria and archaea.”

He will discuss research taking place under the ice of Antarctic lakes which is advancing our understanding of microbially dominated worlds. He has made more than 40 research visits to the Antarctic and Artic, which have led to numerous research collaborations, including with NASA.

An aquatic biologist, Ian is initially from the United Kingdom, and after undertaking a PhD on Antarctic lakes at Durham University he came to New Zealand to work with NIWA and the University of Canterbury, before joining the University of Waikato in 2017. His research expertise includes geobiology, microbial ecology, astrobiology, plant physiology, limnology and oceanography. 

Café Scientifique is a regular Tauranga-based seminar series where anyone can explore the latest scientific thinking and research from national and international speakers. Café Scientifique is organised by Julia and Warren Banks, Saffron Consulting Ltd, with support from the University of Waikato. 

Event: Café Scientifique - Tauranga

Topic: Windows into other worlds - Antarctic lakes, astrobiology and milestone moments for life on ancient earth

Presenter: Professor Ian Hawes, Coastal Marine Field Station, University of Waikato – Tauranga

Date & Time: Monday, March 19, 7pm

Location: Tauranga Yacht & Power Boat Club, 90 Keith Allen Dr, Tauranga,

Register at:


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