Senior Scientist Dr. Megan Devane is one of ESR's environmental microbiologists, specialising in the identification of 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 post-earthquake impacts on the Avon River in Christchurch and the transmission of pathogens in recreational water during and after sewage discharges. For a rural aspect to her research, Megan has been studying the persistence of bacteria and faecal source tracking markers in cowpats decomposing in paddocks, and how those bacteria are transported to waterways from the cowpats.
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 17 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 (with distinction) in Microbiology and a PhD in Water Resource Management from the University of Canterbury.