Natasha Gardiner

Studying towards a PhD in Antarctic Studies
The effectiveness of the science / decision-maker nexus in an Antarctic context

Location: Julius von Haast Level 7
Natasha Gardiner

Antarctica and the Southern Ocean are experiencing significant environmental change due to anthropogenic activities around the globe. The speed and extent of such change has, in many cases, unknown yet significant implications for life on Earth as we know it. Future-proofed local, national and international policy action and the need for collaborative global solutions has never been more urgent and Antarctic science holds some of the answers to important questions related to global environmental change.

Natasha chose to undertake PhD research after realising a fundamental gap in our understanding of how Antarctic science impacts policy-making at both national and international levels. Her research thus focusses on the effectiveness of the Antarctic science-policy interface. She has a fantastic and highly experienced supervisory team, which includes Dr Daniela Liggett and Dr Neil Gilbert. The New Zealand Antarctic Science Platform (ASP) funds the project and the knowledge gained through the research will inform the ASP Science-Policy Expert Group with the hope of improving the effectiveness and positive impacts of science – decision-maker interactions in New Zealand.

When not immersed in Antarctic issues, you will likely find Natasha somewhere in the wilderness appreciating the beauty of this magical planet we call home.

Working thesis title

The effectiveness of the science / decision-maker nexus in an Antarctic context

Academic History

Bachelor of Arts, Psychology and Sociology, University of Otago

Postgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies, University of Canterbury


Gardiner, N. B. (2020). Marine protected areas in the Southern Ocean: Is the Antarctic Treaty System ready to co-exist with a new United Nations instrument for areas beyond national jurisdiction? Marine Policy. In Press.

Marine protection falls short of the 2020 target to safeguard 10% of the world’s oceans. A UN treaty and lessons from Antarctica could help (

LaRue, M., Brooks, C., Wege, M., Salas, L., & Gardiner, N. (2022). High‐resolution satellite imagery meets the challenge of monitoring remote marine protected areas in the Antarctic and beyond. Conservation Letters, e12884.