Coasts and Oceans news

News and media releases related to the our coasts and oceans-related work.

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NIWA's research vessel Tangaroa has just completed a very successful voyage of habitats of significance for marine organisms and biodiversity.

"We were amazed by what we saw," says NIWA's Dr Mark Morrison, programme leader.

Over 42 days, split across two voyages, the Tangaroa worked its way down the country and back, working 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It surveyed habitat and biodiversity hotspots around New Zealand's expansive continental shelf.

Scientists completed a successful three-week field tagging trip in April 2011, where they tagged a record 27 great white sharks around the Titi (Muttonbird) Islands off the northeast coast of Stewart Island.

 

NIWA Chairman Chris Mace says New Zealand urgently needs a National Oceans Strategy, to sustainably manage and use its extensive marine resources to boost the economy. 

"There is huge untapped potential in our oceans and coastal waters, and the Government has clearly indicated their intention to increase the use of these resources. Under the current global economic environment, I think that is prudent. But without an integrated oceans strategy, our ability to sustainably manage those resources will clearly be compromised."

A team of international scientists, led by NIWA Oceanographer Dr Philip Boyd, departs from Auckland on 6 June and sails towards the waters South of New Caledonia this week. They are onboard Research Vessel Tangaroa, for the second leg of the GEOTRACES programme: a ten-year international study of trace elements in the marine environment.

New Zealand is bang in the middle of the biggest and wildest waters on the planet: the Southern Ocean. Many of New Zealand’s coasts and coastal communities are already facing the impact of rising sea levels. Will the future see even bigger storms and waves, putting our increasingly intensive development of coastal areas dramatically at risk?

Ground-breaking research by NIWA and The University of Auckland, investigating the annual movements of New Zealand seabirds migrating within the Pacific Ocean, has revealed that populations are genetically distinct, and have been for centuries as a result of their differing migration behavior.

NIWA Oceanographer Dr Craig Stevens has returned, with stunning images and data, from a successful month-long research trip in Antarctica, where he led a team of international and New Zealand scientists.

New research about how the configuration of beaches and climate cycles affect rip currents will help improve the accuracy of forecasts of when and where dangerous rips occur on New Zealand beaches, potentially saving lives.

NIWA’s research vessel Kaharoa set sail from Wellington today, destined for Lyttelton and equipped with seismic survey gear to survey an area of southern Pegasus Bay.

Preliminary results from the first comprehensive survey of the Cook Strait Canyon seabed have begun to reveal tantalising scientific secrets about New Zealand's largest underwater canyon.

Targeted geological sampling and imaging by NIWA scientists next week will help understand active seabed processes in one of New Zealand's largest seafloor features.

It looks like a slimy worm –- but it lives in the sea! The common sea cucumber is a sluggish creature, brown and blotchy, designed to blend in with its habitat: rocky reefs and sandy bottoms.

It is sub tidal and can be found at depths up to 100 metres, all around the coast of New Zealand.

"They look like a worm crossed with a sausage, and the adults can grow to 20 cm and live for five years," says NIWA aquaculture scientist Jeanie Stenton-Dozey.

The rig shark can be found all around New Zealand at this time of year, from spring to summer. It is found in coastal waters, estuaries and inlets, down to a depth of 200 metres.

Over the long hot summer many kiwis will be digging deep in the sand for pipi. These yummy shellfish live buried in the sand and are free at the beach! 

A shy, slimy, ancient fish, that looks like an eel but isn't. It has a circular sucker for a mouth, and feeds by rasping a hole in its victim's fishy-flesh.

Next time you bring home fish and chips, consider a sprinkling of health-giving seaweed.

On New Year's Day, NIWA's research vessel Tangaroa departs for its first voyage, since its recent $20 million dollar upgrade, making its twentieth consecutive trip to the Chatham Rise to study the abundance of important fish species.

Washed up like a jellyfish on the sand this summer? New Zealand has the moon jelly, spotted jellyfish, and lion's mane, and all three jellyfish are prevalent in our coastal waters all around the country, and the ocean, at this time of year. Jellyfish have weak powers of direction, they drift into bays, and tides and currents wash them up.

The return of the upgraded RV Tangaroa represents a huge advancement for New Zealand science and exploration

NIWA today welcomed home RV Tangaroa, New Zealand’s only deepwater research vessel, after a $20 million dollar upgrade to enhance its ocean science and survey capabilities.

NIWA’s coastal scientists met with members of the Whitianga community last week, and thanked them for their input into a NIWA research project, Coastal Adaptation to Climate Change.

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