Ken Ryan

AProf Ken Ryan profile picture

Antarctic Biology & Ecophysiology School of Biological Sciences


Teaching in 2020

Personal Bio

PhD + BSc (Hons) + BSc Victoria University of Wellington

I grew up in a small farming village in the middle of the North Island of NZ. My dad worked in the local general store. I became interested in biology as a small child and always thought I would be a scientist.

On completion of my PhD at Victoria University of Wellington, I moved to what was then called the Physics and Engineering Laboratory in Lower Hutt as a specialist electron microscopist and one of the only biologists in an organisation of chemists, physicists and engineers! I moved to VUW in 2002 firstly as a senior research fellow then as an academic staff member.

I teach plant biology, global change biology, genetics, marine biology, and Antarctic studies

Research interests

  • Ecophysiology, toxic freshwater cyanobacteria, Antarctic algae, marine ecology, electron microscopy, light microscopy
  • Climate change biology – Ecophysiological effects of pH, temperature, UVB, and salinity on organisms in Antarctic coastal marine ecosystems
  • The growth and toxin production of cyanobacteria in river systems
  • Light and electron microscopy remain a strong interest although I don't do much of this now.

View the Antarctic Biology and Ecophysiology research group


Ryan KG, McMinn, A, Hegseth, E., and Davy, S K (2012). The effects of Ultraviolet-B radiation on Antarctic Sea Ice Algae. J. Phycology 48, 74-84

Sirisena KA, Daughney CJ, Moreau-Fournier M, Ryan KG & Chambers GK (2013) National survey of molecular bacterial diversity of New Zealand groundwater: relationships between biodiversity, groundwater chemistry and aquifer characteristics. FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 86, 490-504. DOI: 10.1111/1574-6941.12176

Cowie ROM, Maas EW, Lee CK, Williams GJ, Voyles M. Ryan KG (2014) Antarctic sea-ice microbial communities show distinct patterns of zonation in response to algal-derived substrates. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 73, 123-134

Heath, M., Wood, S., Young, R., Ryan, KG. (2016)The role of nitrogen and phosphorus in regulating Phormidium sp. (Cyanobacteria) growth and anatoxin production. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 92 (3) DOI: 10.1093/femsec/fiw021

McMinn, A., Müller, M, Martin, A., Ugalde S, Lee S., Ryan KG. (2017). Effects of CO2 concentration on a late summer surface sea ice community. Marine Biology 164, 87 doi:10.1007/s00227-017-3102-4

Burr, D.J., Martin, A., Maas, E.W., Ryan, K.G. (2017) In situ light responses of the proteorhodopsin-bearing Antarctic sea-ice bacterium, Psychroflexus torquis. ISME Journal accepted march 2017.

Bylenga, C.H., Ryan, K.G., Cummings, V.J. (2017). High resolution microscopy reveals significant impacts of ocean acidification and warming on larval shell development in Laternula elliptica. PLoS ONE 12(4): e0175706.

View more publications at ResearchGate


Teaching in 2020