Scientist Megan Devane is a member of ESR’s Food and Water Environmental Microbiology Group. As a microbiologist, Megan specialises in identifying the sources of faecal contamination in waterways and the environmental transmission routes of infectious disease.
Megan often works with local councils to help them meet their obligations under the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. As part of this, she’s been at the cutting edge of developing microbial and chemical tools for evaluating water quality.
Some of her recent research work has been focused on whether faecal indicator bacteria identified in a waterway are due to fresh or older faecal contamination. The research will help scientists determine not only the source of a contaminant, but also when the contamination occurred.
Megan is also involved in finding ways to keep our waterways clean.
“Right now ESR is working with the University of Canterbury and other researchers on a project to find ways to protect waterways on a number of Canterbury farms. The farmers have been extremely engaged on this project, and we are seeing some good results that could eventually lead to changes in farm management practices around the country,” she says.
With over 15 years’ experience as an ESR scientist, Megan has also held scientific positions at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch Public Hospital and Lincoln University.
Megan has a Masters in Microbiology from the University of Canterbury and is working on her PhD in Freshwater Management. As part of her research, she is studying post-earthquake impacts on the Avon River in Christchurch and the transmission of pathogens in recreational water during and after sewage discharges.