Prof Wendi Roe staff profile picture

Contact details +64 (06) 356 9099  ext. 85224

Prof Wendi Roe

Professor of Veterinary and Marine Mammal Pathology

School of Veterinary Science

Deputy Head of School

School of Veterinary Science

Wendi completed her veterinary degree at Massey University in 1989, and spent ten years in clinical practice in England and New Zealand, before returning to Massey to train in veterinary pathology. After a period teaching at Washington State University in 2003, and passing the anatomic pathology Boards exam in 2004, she took up a senior lecturer position in the Anatomic Pathology group at IVABS. Currently, Wendi teaches pathology to undergraduates, is Dean of Postgraduate studies and Deputy Head of the School of Veterinary Science, and is active in research in marine mammal pathology and infectious disease.

Roles and Responsibilities

Associate Professor in Pathobiology

Deputy Head of School

Dean of Postgraduate Studies

Marine Mammal Group, Wildbase

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Contact details

  • Ph: +64 6 9518224
    Location: 3.05A, Wildbase Building
    Campus: Turitea

Research Expertise

Research Interests

- causes of mortality in small cetaceans

- toxoplasmosis in Hector's dolphins

- markers of hypoxia and head trauma in marine mammals

- causes of mortality in New Zealand sea lions

- mycobacterial disease in pinnipeds

- the role of brucellosis in Hector's and Maui dolphins

- hypermucoviscous Klebsiella pneumoniae

Research Opportunities

  • Seismic related damage in deep diving cetaceans  (01/01/2013)
  • Vitamin D metabolism in pinnipeds  (01/01/2012) In mammals, vitamin D is obtained either from the diet or from exposure of the skin to sunlight. Animals with heavily pigmented skin or dense fur, and those living at extreme latitudes, have a reduced ability for cutaneous production of vitamin D. Some species have entirely lost this ability, and have to rely entirely on dietary supply. If this is the case for New Zealand sea lions, the majority of which are found in sub-Antarcti latitudes, the vitamin D content of the diet would be critical. Any shifts in availability of prey species, for example due to climatic change or commercial fishing pressure, could result in vitamin D deficiency. This is of particular importance since cephalopods form part of the NZ sea lion diet, and are known to have low levels of vitamin D. This project will use HPLC techniques to assess the ability of sea lion skin to activate vitamin D and to quantify vitamin D intake under varying dietary scenarios.
  • Toxoplasmosis in Hector's and Maui dolphins  (01/01/2012) Hector's dolphins, including the critically endangered subspecies (Maui dolphins) have recently been found to have a high prevalence of toxoplasmosis. The source of infection is currently unknown, and factors that might precipitate disseminated disease require further investigation.
  • Hypermucoviscous Klebsiella pneumoniae  (01/01/2012) Septicaemia due to hypermucoviscous strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae is an emerging problem in human medicine. Since 2002 a similar strain of bacterium has caused significant mortality in NZ sea lion pups at Enderby Island in the sub-Antarctic. Affected pups have meningitis as well as septicaemia. This project aims to investigate the origin of this bacterial strain, and to characterise aspects of the pathogenesis of the resulting disease.


21st Century Citizenship, Health and Well-being

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Agricultural And Veterinary Sciences (070000): Veterinary Pathology (070709): Veterinary Sciences (070700)


anatomic pathology


marine mammal disease

infectious disease


Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Not Specified 1 0
Project Leader 5 31
Team Member 0 1

Research Outputs

Teaching and Supervision

Teaching Statement

General Pathology

Marine mammal disease

Urinary system

Summary of Doctoral Supervision

Position Current Completed
Supervisor 3 2
Co-supervisor 2 2

Current Doctoral Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • Kelly Buckle - Doctor of Philosophy
    Eradication and the subclinical carrier state: a study of Foot-and-mouth disease virus and Mycoplasma bovis, two contrasting diseases of cattle that share the same challenge
  • Jordan Housiaux - Doctor of Philosophy
    Prognosis indicators and survival of pilot whale stranding in New Zealand. Developing protocol and cultural indicators for stranding occurrences.
  • Alicia Coupe - Doctor of Philosophy
    Toxplasma gondii in the marine environment in NZ

Co-supervisor of:

  • Manjula Meda Gedara - Doctor of Philosophy
    Reservoirs of Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae on islands used for biodiversity conservation
  • Adrienne French - Doctor of Philosophy
    Nematode parasitism in kiwi (Apteryx spp.)

Completed Doctoral Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • 2019 - Komkiew Pinpimai - Doctor of Philosophy
    Klebsiella pneumoniae in New Zealand sea lions
  • 2018 - Hayley Hunt - Doctor of Philosophy
    Epidemiological, pathological and metabolomic characterisation an unexplained myopathy of dogs in New Zealand

Co-supervisor of:

  • 2018 - Julia Giles - Doctor of Philosophy
    Characterization of the putative wobbly possum disease virus
  • 2008 - Karen Stockin - Doctor of Philosophy
    The New Zealand common dolphin (Delphinus sp.): Identity, ecology and conservation

Media and Links


  • 21 Feb 2017 - Radio
    Toxoplasma in Maui dolphins
    Radio interview on Raglan community radio

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