Civil and Natural Resources Engineering
University of Canterbury

Portia Sharp

Masters Student

University of Canterbury

Cascading risks of climate change in the natural domain

Supervisors: Dr. Tom Logan, and Assoc Prof. Jonathan Tonkin

Understanding cascading climate change risks to the natural domain

My research investigates different ecosystems’ resilience to climate change induced risks and evaluates potential sensitivities as a result of non-climatic stressors. My goal is to reshape how we assess risk in the natural domain.

My journey started at the University of Otago where I studied a BAppSci in Environmental Management and Geographic Information Systems. During my degree I studied a range of topics from Biogeography, Oceanography, Policy, Surveying, Geography, Hydrology, amongst others. My final year consisted of a year long research project looking into the drivers of sediment accumulation in the Waitaki lake basin. 

After completing my degree, I was eager to apply my skills and I took up a job as an Environmental Urban Planner. My time in this role allowed me to understand the decisions which contribute to how we determine risk in Aotearoa New Zealand. Being immersed in an interdisciplinary environment helped me understand more about the impacts of climate change on everyday lives and the problem solving required to respond to these impacts. I am excited to dive into the resilience of different ecosystem types and enhance the way we currently assess risk in the natural domain. I whakapapa to Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāti Porou.

  1. 2019-2021

    Bachelor of Applied Science

    University of Otago
  2. 2024

    Master of Engineering

    University of Canterbury