Te Tari Pāngarau me te Tatauranga
Department of Mathematics & Statistics

Recent News

60th Birthday Colloquium

We are delighted to be holding a colloquium for Joerg Frauendiener on the occasion of his 60th birthday. The colloquium, to be held on Wednesday August 29th, brings researchers from NZ and overseas to celebrate Joerg's wide-ranging contributions to the understanding of Einstein's general theory of relativity.

For more information, please feel free to contact Joerg Hennig.

August 2018

PhD position

Bryozoans are one of the most mineralogically-complex phyla in the sea. These small colonial invertebrates make hard skeletons from seawater in any of three carbonate minerals, sometimes in various combinations, in response to controls that are intrinsic (phylogeny, development) and extrinsic (environment).

We are looking for a PhD student with a strong background in statistics, mathematical biology, or quantitative environmental or marine science to develop models and statistical approaches that will bring out the best of a large collated database of bryozoan mineralogy. A background in marine or environmental science would be an advantage but is not required; strong quantitative skills are required.

The PhD would be jointly carried out in the Departments of Marine Science (under the guidance of Prof Abby Smith) and Mathematics and Statistics (Dr Peter Dillingham, Prof David Bryant).

For more information contact Prof Abby Smith

Image credit: John Turnbull (CC 2.0)

August 2018

Congratulations Dr Hong

Chuen Yen Hong has been awarded a PhD in Statistics for her thesis "Focussed model averaging in generalised linear models". In focussed model averaging, model weights are typically chosen to minimize the asymptotic mean squared error of the estimate of a parameter of interest. Chuen Yen proposed a new approach which outperforms existing methods in many cases.

July 2018

Congratulations Dr Cao

Zhanglong Cao has successfully completed a PhD in Statistics. In his thesis, "Inference and characterization of planar trajectories", he considered the problem of reconstructing the trajectory of moving object from irregularly sampled GPS data. His solutions to the problem included an adaptive smoothing spline and a Bayesian approach for real-time reconstruction.

July 2018

Simon Marais Maths Comp

The 2018 Simon Marais Mathematics Competition for undergraduate and Honours students is to be held on October 13. Students can enter individually or in pairs, and there is over $100,000 in prize money up for grabs.

If you are interested, please contact your local coordinators by September 21:

Melissa Tacy (Dept of Maths & Stats, Rm 220,

Jörg Hennig (Dept of Maths & Stats, Rm 215,

July 2018

IEJA Honours John Clark

The International Electronic Journal of Algebra has published a volume dedicated to the memory of the Department’s Associate Professor John Clark who died last year. Included is a tribute from Professor Patrick Smith of the University of Glasgow.

Read more

July 2018

Impact of tourism on whales and dolphins

Research led by University of Otago scientists, including John Harraway, has provided evidence that whale and dolphin watching activities can have detrimental effects on the populations they target.

The study focused on populations of spinner dolphins off the coast of Egypt in sites with no tourism, controlled tourist activity, and uncontrolled tourist activity. In the uncontrolled site, in particular, there is great concern that the dolphins' resting patterns are being disrupted.

The study "Behavioural responses of spinner dolphins to human interactions" has been published by Royal Society Open Science

Photo credit: A.Cesario (HEPCA)

May 2018

John Holmes, exceptional PhD thesis

Congratulations to John for having his PhD thesis "Modelling strategies to improve genetic evaluation for the New Zealand sheep industry" added to the Division of Sciences' List of Exceptional Doctoral Theses.

John's work involved assessing the accuracy of animal comparisons (that are required for selective mating practices) when genomic data is incorporated.

March 2018

Welcome to Dominic Searles

We are delighted Dominic Searles has joined us as a Lecturer in Mathematics. Dominic studied mathematics at the University of Auckland and then completed his PhD at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2015. Afterwards, he was a postdoc at the University of Southern California. He and his family have now decided to come back to New Zealand and have swapped the Californian sun for the more moderate Dunedin climate. Dominic's research is in algebraic combinatorics with a focus on Schubert calculus. A warm welcome to you, Dominic.

March 2018

Littlejohn award

Matthew Schofield received the Littlejohn research award at the 2017 New Zealand Statistics Association conference. The Littlejohn award recognizes excellence in research, based on publications during the five calendar years.

December 2017

Student award

Congratulations to Timothy Bilton who was recently judged joint winner of the student prize for his talk at the 2017 New Zealand Statistics Association conference. This follows from Timothy winning the prize for best student talk at the MapNet2017 conference earlier in the year. Congratulations Timothy!

December 2017

Student award

Congratulations to Heloise Pavanato who was judged as a runner-up in the student prize at the SEEM2017 conference. Congratulations Heloise.

December 2017