Email Us:

Student Research

FAlogoIntegral to the Frontiers Abroad experience is the conceptualization, development, research and completion of a robust and innovative semester-long study. Projects are developed throughout the five-week field camp, and carried out in full throughout the semester on campus.

Research begins with finding a key question or topic that interests the student. As this is a very personal approach, research projects take on an individual style, giving the student ownership of their research. In the early stages of project development Frontiers Abroad acts as the role of mentor, assisting in the overall design and approach to answering the research question.

Data collection and fieldwork is primarily done in the designated research week (the final week of field camp), with data analysis, laboratory work, etc. completed during term. Running in parallel with individual student research projects is a designated research course, which introduces students to valuable techniques, software (i.e. GIS, Corel Draw, Adobe Illustrator), analysis (i.e. XRF, XRD, thin sections, stable isotopes), literature review, and critical review processes.

Research projects are submitted in a standardized journal format. In the past, research projects have resulted in publications in international journals and presentations at AGU and GSA, indicating research at the highest levels.

Current Research Themes

At Frontiers Abroad we offer a broad selection of research areas – each linked to an academic and / or expert in that field.

Here is a selection of our research themes;

Reef ecology –  Animal Migration – Engineering – Indigenous knowledge / Matauranga Maori – Geoarchaeology – Geotourism – Volcanology – Habitat Fragmentation – Rockfall – Groundwater – GeoHazards – Geochemistry – Stable Isotopes – Sedimentology – Active tectonics – Engineering Geology – Environmental – Earthquake Impacts  – Geoeducation – Community Development – Ecology – Rocky shores – Petrology – Megafauna Biology – Conservation Ecology – Renewable Energy – Super-Volcanoes – Geothermal – Waterways –

Published Research Papers

Frontiers Abroad research projects are commonly of such a high caliber that students further present or publish their research.

Recent publications from research undertaken in New Zealand have been:


Horton TW, Oline A, Hauser N, Khan TM, Laute A, Stoller A, Tison K, and Zawar-Reza P (2017) Thermal
Imaging and Biometrical Thermography of Humpback Whales. Front. Mar. Sci. 4:424. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2017.00424

Graeter, Beane, Deering, Gravley, and Bachmann. 2015. Formation of rhyolite at the Okataina Volcanic Complex, New Zealand: New insights from analysis of quartz clusters in plutonic lithics. American Mineralogist.

Lewis and Hampton. 2015. Visualizing volcanic processes in Sketch Up: An integrated geoeducation tool. Computers in Geosciences.

Peacock, Hikuroa, and Morgan. 2012. Watershed-scale prioritization of habitat restoration sites for non-point source pollution management. Ecological Engineering.


Presentation at Geological Society of America (GSA)

Frontiers Abroad aspires for research undertaken while in New Zealand to be presented or published. For the Geology Programme GSA  meetings are a great place for students to showcase their research. Many of our students present an oral presentation or poster at GSA.

In 2017 we had 16 student presentations, including 2 oral presentations

In 2016 we had 12 student presentations, including 3 oral presentations.

In 2015 we had 16 student presentations with five oral presentations.

In 2014 we had 12 students present their research at GSA.




Geology Research Projects

Earth Systems Research Projects