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Algae Technician

Algae (phytoplankton) are the lifeblood or land-based shellfish production facilities, particularly hatcheries and nurseries. Algae are complex and fragile single cell organisms that require carefully controlled growing conditions. As a technician you may be responsible for operating ‘intensive care’ indoor cultures of individual species, running mass production raceways or extensive earthen pond systems. Technicians need to understand the challenges of working with a microscopic organism and the dedication and care this requires.

Specific activities include;

  • Check PH
  • Monitor size of micro-algae.
  • Stir the stock cultures.
  • Monitor temperature, light intensity, air flow and nutrient concentration.
  • Oversee the health of stock cultures.
  • Use of specialist science equipment.
  • Ensure equipment is sterile.
  • Carryout transfer of stock cultures to shellfish larvae in the hatcheries.
  • Maintenance of growth equipment.
  • Animal husbandry.
  • Pond management.
  • Experimental set-up.
  • Data collection.


  • To become an Algae Technician, you need to have a relevant science or technology qualification.
  • Some employers require you to have a New Zealand Diploma in Applied Science (Level 5 or 6), while others require a Bachelor of Science or a master’s degree in the relevant area of specialisation.
  • A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training. Useful subjects include Maths, Biology, Chemistry and Physics at NCEA L3.

Useful work experience

  • Experience in fields related to the area of science you wish to work in. 
  • Other science or laboratory work.
  • Science undergraduates often gain experience by working in a laboratory part time while studying.