Prof Gillian Lewis

Biofilm Expert

Professor Lewis brings years of experience in the biofilm research area to the Biocide Toolbox. She is expert in applied ecology of natural and contaminating microorganisms in restoration of degraded water bodies including those from stormwater, landfill and wastewater. 

Gillian is a Director of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research and Deputy Director of the Centre for Microbial Innovation at the University of Auckland. 


Biofilm Research

Stream biofilms are the focus of our current research. This work focuses on the structure, function and ecological roles of these complex communities.

Current and ongoing projects

  • Relationship between bacterial community diversity and functional diversity in stream biofilms

  • Influence of light and flow regimes on bacterial communities in stream biofilms.

  • Microbial biofilms for enhancement of stormwater treatment systems.

  • Microbial biofilms for monitoring the ecological health of streams.

  • The importance of rare bacteria in mixed communities.

  • Stream microbial food webs


Past/completed projects

  • Distribution, persistence and fate of human viruses in aquatic systems

  • Contaminants of Oyster farms by microbial pathogens and indicators

  • Source distribution and implications of microbial contamination of beaches

  • Microbiological components and activity in reducing contaminants in stormwater treatment systems

  • Alternative microbial indicators and water quality

  • Virus transfer to the air by bubble bursting

  • Bacterial resuspension from sediments: implications for water quality

  • Microbial assemblages in wetlands receiving wastewater

  • The influence of bacterial viruses on the bacterial population dynamics in wastewater treatment systems

  • Human viruses in New Zealand Rivers

  • Microbial intervention to reduce methane emissions from waste treatment systems


Research group members

  • Professor Gillian Lewis (Group Leader)

  • Yimin Dong (Research and Teaching Technician)

  • Jo Smith (PhD Student: A Novel Mn depositing stream bacteria)

  • Joanne Hewitt ( PhD Student : Human Adenovirus: a surrogate for the presence of enteric viruses in food and water based at ESR Porirua)

  • Anne-Marie Perchec (PhD Student/Graduate research fellow : Is there an environmental clade of Escherichia coli?)