Cindy Baker is a Principal Scientist of Freshwater Fish and has specialised in whitebait and piharau/kanakana ecology for over 20 years. The majority of her mahi on piharau/kanakana has been undertaken in the Canterbury and Southland areas. Currently, Cindy leads a five-year MBIE research programme in collaboration with Jane Kitson (Oraka-Aparima, Ngāi Tahu Whānui) and working alongside Waikawa mana whenua. Piharau/kanakana research has focused on the adult life stage, investigating critical habitats for maturation and spawning, egg predation and survival, and migration cues for stream selection. In conjunction with Peter Stockman (Ngāti Maniapoto), Cindy has also been investigating passage systems for migration barriers. Key achievements to date include documenting spawning habitat, which was the first for any Southern Hemisphere piharau/kanakana species and developing an instream pheromone (chemical odour) sampler that can estimate the relative abundance of piharau/kanakana populations.
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