Coasts and Oceans news

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

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The oceans around New Zealand are warming at a rate not seen since the 1930s.

The announcement last week that the Maui gas field might run out 2 years early is a worry because New Zealand relies on natural gas for much of its energy needs. There are also emission problems associated with burning fossil fuels, and fossil fuels are not renewable. So, where can we get the energy we need if we want to increase our economic prosperity and improve our standard of living, without damaging the environment?

A NIWA voyage, using RV Tangaroa, will leave Auckland on Wednesday, 10 April, for 22 days to undertake frontier research of undiscovered volcanoes between New Zealand and the Kermadec Islands. These volcanoes form possibly one of the least known segments of the “Pacific Ring of Fire”. Dr Ian Wright of NIWA is leading the project.

The giant squid (Architeuthis), the world’s largest invertebrate, has never been seen alive – until now. A new Discovery Channel special joins an international expedition team in the waters off New Zealand as they succeed in capturing living juvenile specimens for the first time. The juveniles were found in the larval stage, ranging in size from 9 to 13 millimetres. The expedition, fully funded by the Discovery Channel, was undertaken in cooperation with NIWA and led by marine biologist Dr Steve O’Shea.

Two high-tech recording buoys shaped like dive tanks will be released into the Pacific Ocean this month by NIWA scientists as part of an international programme to understand and predict phenomena influencing the world‘s climate.

The buoys, worth $35,000 each, will provide real-time measurements of the temperature and salinity of the upper ocean that will help forecast long-term climate change, and events like El Niño and tropical cyclones.

For many of us, the temperature of the ocean simply determines whether or not we go for a quick dip or opt for lazing on the beach instead.

Dr Julie Hall, of NIWA Hamilton, has been elected secretary of the international committee of the Washington DC-based Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR).

In February 1999, New Zealand scientists led an international research expedition to the remote Southern Ocean,to artificially initiate an algal bloom by adding dissolved iron to the sea. The results of this expedition are published today in a series of papers in the prestigious scientific journal Nature.

The toxic algal species that has caused the current outbreak on the west coast of the North Island has finally been detected in Wellington Harbour.

French and New Zealand scientists are examining sediments deposited over the last two million years in the offshore Wanganui Basin.

The French scientists are from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the University of Rennes, and they are working with geologists and geophysicists from NIWA (the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research).

Their aim is to study the most recently active submarine faults in the basin and the influence of sea-level changes on the sequence in which the sediment was deposited.

Recent underwater surveys of the Tonga Island Marine Reserve are revealing the benefits of marine protection.

The abundance and sizes of fish within the Kapiti Marine Reserve have impressed research divers who have just completed a survey to assess how well the marine environment has recovered since it was protected in 1992.

French researchers are now, or soon to be, closely involved in a range of New Zealand environmental and marine studies taking in such diverse activities as migratory problems of fish including eels, the foraging habits of royal albatross in southern oceans, and the potential tsunami impact of undersea landslides.

Crayfish living along the Abel Tasman National Park coastline will be introduced to the silicon chip age later this month.

An international centre for post-graduate study in ocean and atmospheric research is being established in Auckland. The Institute of Aquatic and Atmospheric Sciences will be a joint project between the University of Auckland and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).

New Zealand scientists with internationally recognised skills will be teaming up with top level American researchers both in the US and New Zealand to find solutions for environmental problems common to both countries.

A joint New Zealand-German marine scientific expedition costing over of $2.5 million will explore a series of undersea volcanoes including "Rumble III" 200 kilometres north of East Cape. It will also carry out geophysical surveying and seabed rock sampling along the South Pacific "Ring of Fire" in the latitudes of the southern Kermadec Islands.

New findings by scientists at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) have revealed that the death of kina, starfish, and possibly other fishes, in late January and early February off the Kaikoura coast appears to be linked to toxic algae.


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