Dr Ingo Andreas Pecher

1995: PhD Natural Sciences, U. Kiel, Germany

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Senior Lecturer


2012-present: Senior Lecturer, University of Auckland, New Zealand

2009-2012: Senior Scientist, GNS Science, Lower Hutt, New Zealand

2007-2009: Geoscience Lecturer, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

2001-2007: Scientist then Senior Scientist, GNS Science, Lower Hutt, New Zealand

1998-2001: Research Associate, University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, Austin, TX, USA

1995-1998: Postdoctoral Scholar then Investigator, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, MA, USA

Research | Current

Geophysical studies of seafloor processes form the focus of my research.  The seafloor plays a key role in carbon cycling, fluid exchange and in many other processes that involve interaction between ocean and solid earth.  Seafloor processes are important for economic, geohazard and biological questions.  My research integrates results from geophysical surveys with geological sampling and modelling focussing in particular on fluid expulsion, cold seeps, gas hydrates, geohazards, as well as seafloor sedimentation & erosion.

Current research in my group includes:

Natural gas hydrates:  Gas hydrate, an ice-like form of water with natural gas, is found in sediments on many continental margins.  I have been active in gas hydrate research since the 1990s.  Research topics includes gas hydrates as a potential source of energy as part of an MBIE-funded programme (Gas Hydrates: Economic opportunities and environmental implications), the link between gas hydrates and fluid flow, the interaction between gas hydrates and seafloor stability (including IODP Expedition 372), as well as dynamics of gas hydrate systems, i.e., how gas hydrates respond to changes of environmental conditions over time.  

Seafloor pockmarks:  Large parts of the Chatham Rise are covered by seafloor pockmarks, circular depressions on the seafloor.  The pockmarks are bathymetrically constrained – they occur only in water depths great than ~500 m.  This led to the suggestion that gas hydrates are involved in their formation.  We are part of an IODP pre-proposal for ocean drilling to study these pockmarks (924-Pre), in which we lead hydrate and shallow-seismic aspects.  We have recently been have been awarded a Marsden Fund grant to conduct geophysical surveys to study the origin of these pockmarks.  We are searching for a PhD and an MSc student (see below).

Fluid expulsion on the Hikurangi Margin:  As part of a GNS Science-led, MBIE-supported initiative, we are investigating fluid expulsion on the Hikurangi Margin focussing on quantitative analysis of seismic reflection data.

Acoustic Characterization of Gas in Ocean Water: This is a new NIWA-led, MBIE-supported programme aiming at characterizing gas bubbles released from the seafloor using broadband acoustic survey.  I am leading the seafloor-geophysical aspects of this project.  We are searching for a PhD student (see below).

For further information, please refer to our Marine Geosciences web-page.

Student opportunities (currently, 2 funded openings for PhD, 1 for MSc studies): https://marinegeosciences.blogs.auckland.ac.nz/student-opportunities/

Further information on research: https://marinegeosciences.blogs.auckland.ac.nz/research/marine-geophysics/


Teaching | Current


  • Earthsci 102: Tools and Techniques in the Earth Sciences
  • Earthsci 361 and Geophys 361: Exploration Geophysics
  • Geophys 761: Subsurface Imaging with Seismic and Radar Waves
  • Earthsci 763: Subsurface Exploration

Contributing to:

  • Earthsci 303: Sedimentary Systems
  • Geophys/Earthsci 760 Seismic Data Analysis for Basin Exploration

Postgraduate supervision

Current PhD students:

2017-present: A. Djeffal, PhD, 2-D Full Waveform Inversion of Seismic Data to Study Gas Hydrate Systems and Related Hydrocarbons Seeps on the Hikurangi Margin, New Zealand (primary advisor; co-advisors: J. Kaipio, S. Singh, IPGP)

2014-2020: P. Oluwunmi, PhD, Modelling of gas hydrate dissociation related to ocean change, seafloor failure, and economic production of gas from hydrates (primary advsior, U. Auckland; Co-advisors: R. Archer, J. Rowland)

2014-present: C. Scholz, PhD, Evolution of the Whakatane Graben (co-advisor, U. Auckland; primary advisor: J. Rowland)


Past PhD students:

2012-2015, G. Herbozo, Studies of gas hydrates on the Peruvian Margin (co-advisor; U. Jena, primary advisor: N. Kukowski)

2011-2015, J. Hillman, Pockmarks on the Chatham Rise and Canterbury Basin (co-advisor, U. Otago, primary advisor: Andrew Gorman)

2010-2016: D. Fraser, Analysis of seismic reflection data from the southern Hikurangi Margin for gas hydrate occurrences (co-advisor, U. Otago; primary advisor: A. Gorman)

2008-2010: F. Domes, PhD, Assessment of the overburden influence on 4D signatures (secondary advisor, Heriot-Watt U., primary advisor: C. MacBeth)

2005-2009: G. Crutchley, PhD, Seismic studies of gas hydrates on the Hikurangi margin (co-advisor, U. Otago, primary advisor: A. Gorman)

2004-2009: M. Fohrmann, PhD, Gas hydrates offshore of Fiordland and on the Hikurangi margin (co-advsior, U. Otago, primary advisor: A. Gorman)


Current MSc students:

2019-present: A. Declan, MSc, Quantitative analysis of 3-D seismic data from the central Hikurangi Margin, New Zealand (primary advisor)

2019-present: P. Hidayat, MSc, Analysis of ocean bottom seismometer data to study gas hydrate deposits on the Porangahau Ridge, Hikurangi Margin (primary advisor)

2018-present: M. Macnaughtan, MSc, Stratigraphic Control of Bottom Simulating Reflections on the Central Hikurangi Margin, New Zealand (primary advisor; co-advisors: L. Strachan)


Past MSc students:

2017-2018: N. Ram, MSc, Diffraction and Migration Velocity Analysis of 3D Seismic Data from the Submarine Tuaheni Landslide Complex (primary advisor)

2017-2018: A. Ganguly, MSc, Sediment deposits in the Hikurangi Channel and links to seismic activity (co-advisor, primary advisor: L. Strachan)

2017-2018: M. McKeown, MSc, Understanding the physical sedimentology of the Madden continental slope distributary system (co-advisor, primary advisor: L. Strachan)

2017: G. Pradel, MSc, Analysis of fluid flow systems and links to potential gas hydrate deposits in the northern Taranaki Basin, New Zealand (primary advisor; co-advisor: L. Strachan)

2017: R. Lunenburg, MSc, Characterization of sedimentary gravity flows in the Tuaheni Canyon, Poverty Bay, New Zealand (co-advisor; primary advisor: L. Strachan)

2014-2015: A. Smith, MSc, Seismic studies of paleo-pockmarks on the Chatham Rise, New Zealand (co-advisor: K. Campbell)

2014-2015. J. MacMahon, High-resolution velocity analysis of seismic data to identify gas hydrates in the Tuaheni Landslide Complex on the Hikurangi Margin, New Zealand (main advisor; co-advisors: J. Eccles; G. Crutchley, GNS Science)

2014-1015: J. Wild, Seismic velocities beneath creeping gas hydrate slides – analysis of ocean bottom seismometer data (main advisor; co-advisors: J. Eccles; J. Mountjoy, NIWA)

2013-2015: K. Waghorn, MSc, Pockmarks on the Chatham Rise, New Zealand, and their relation to gas hydrate dissociation, sea level fluctuations and petroleum systems (Co-advisors Lorna Strachan, Gareth Crutchley, GNS)

2013-2014: Bai Huanxin, MSc, Can weak BSRs from the base of gas hydrate stability on the Hikurangi Margin be caused by the presence of gas and hydrates in fractures? (Co-advisor: Mila Adam)

2011-2012: T. Golding, MSc, Seafloor seismic reflectivity and sonar backscattering: a geophysical  investigation of shallow gas hydrates at Porangahau Ridge, Hikurangi Margin, New Zealand (co-advisor, Victoria U. Wellington, primary advisor: J. Townend)

2009-2011: R. Srinivasan Navalpakam, MSc, AVO analysis of a weak bottom simulating reflection on the Hikurangi margin, New Zealand (co-advisor, Victoria U. Wellington, primary advisor: T. Stern)

Areas of expertise

Marine geophysics

Ocean bottom seismometers

Gas hydrates

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Herbozo, G., Kukowski, N., Clift, P. D., Pecher, I., & Bolaños R (2020). Cenozoic increase in subduction erosion during plate convergence variability along the convergent margin off Trujillo, Peru. Tectonophysics, 790.10.1016/j.tecto.2020.228557
  • Screaton, E. J., Torres, M. E., Dugan, B., Heeschen, K. U., Mountjoy, J. J., Ayres, C., ... LeVay, L. J. (2020). Reply to Comments by N. Sultan on "Sedimentation Controls on Methane-Hydrate Dynamics Across Glacial/Interglacial Stages: An Example From International Ocean Discovery Program Site U1517, Hikurangi Margin". GEOCHEMISTRY GEOPHYSICS GEOSYSTEMS, 21 (6)10.1029/2020GC009005
  • Barnes, P. M., Wallace, L. M., Saffer, D. M., Bell, R. E., Underwood, M. B., Fagereng, A., ... Morgan, J. K. (2020). Slow slip source characterized by lithological and geometric heterogeneity. Science advances, 6 (13)10.1126/sciadv.aay3314
  • Crutchley, G. J., Klaeschen, D., Henrys, S. A., Pecher, I. A., Mountjoy, J. J., & Woelz, S. (2020). Subducted sediments, upper-plate deformation and dewatering at New Zealand's southern Hikurangi subduction margin. EARTH AND PLANETARY SCIENCE LETTERS, 53010.1016/j.epsl.2019.115945
  • Couvin, B., Georgiopoulou, A., Mountjoy, J. J., Amy, L., Crutchley, G. J., Brunet, M., ... Krastel, S. (2020). A new depositional model for the Tuaheni Landslide Complex, Hikurangi Margin, New Zealand. In A. Georgiopoulou, L. A. Amy, S. Benetti, J. D. Chaytor, M. A. Clare, D. Gamboa, P. D. W. Haughton, J. Moernaut, J. J. Mountjoy (Eds.) (pp. 551-566). GEOLOGICAL SOC PUBLISHING HOUSE. 10.1144/SP500-2019-180
  • Watson, S. J., Mountjoy, J. J., Barnes, P. M., Crutchley, G. J., Lamarche, G., Higgs, B., ... Neil, H. (2020). Focused fluid seepage related to variations in accretionary wedge structure, Hikurangi margin, New Zealand. GEOLOGY, 48 (1), 56-61. 10.1130/G46666.1
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Geoffroy Lamarche
  • Stott, L., Davy, B., Shao, J., Coffin, R., Pecher, I., Neil, H., ... Bialas, J. (2019). CO2 Release From Pockmarks on the Chatham Rise-Bounty Trough at the Glacial Termination. PALEOCEANOGRAPHY AND PALEOCLIMATOLOGY, 34 (11), 1726-1743. 10.1029/2019PA003674
  • Screaton, E. J., Torres, M. E., Dugan, B., Heeschen, K. U., Mountjoy, J. J., Ayres, C., ... LeVay, L. J. (2019). Sedimentation Controls on Methane-Hydrate Dynamics Across Glacial/Interglacial Stages: An Example From International Ocean Discovery Program Site U1517, Hikurangi Margin. GEOCHEMISTRY GEOPHYSICS GEOSYSTEMS, 20 (11), 4906-4921. 10.1029/2019GC008603


Contact details

Primary office location

SCIENCE CENTRE 301 - Bldg 301
Level 4, Room 436
New Zealand

Web links