Sightings of the whales, the world's largest animal, are rare and they remain one of the planet's most elusive creatures. They were intensively hunted during the whaling era in the Southern Hemisphere, dramatically reducing their numbers.
One of the biggest drivers of New Zealand's climate is the influence of ocean currents and climate systems in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Even relatively subtle changes could have dramatic impacts on our climate and ability to work and live as we do.
Information gathered by whalers in the 19th century to support the systematic killing of southern right whales in Australasian offshore waters has been used by NIWA scientists to better understand – and ultimately help protect – the present-day habitats of this endangered species.
Scientists from NIWA and the Department of Conservation (DOC) have used a remote operated vehicle (ROV) equipped with cameras and a grappling arm to locate and sample specimens of sea pen previously unknown to science, hidden in the undiveable depths of remote Fiordland.
NIWA is sampling subtidal seagrass meadows, and other habitats, in the southern Kaipara Harbour, from February to March this year. This week, the scientists have been looking at the ‘hottest spots’ for juvenile snapper.
When you are at the beach or harbours this summer, don't be surprised if you see sea squirts - marine animals we commonly see attached to rocks and wharf piles that have two siphons on the top of their bodies, one to draw in water and the other to expel it. When disturbed, sea squirts contract their siphons, expelling streams of water—hence their name.
Scientists set sail on NIWA's research vessel Kaharoa this week to film and explore many aspects of life in deep-sea habitats, and capture fish that are new to science, in the Kermadec Trench, northeast of New Zealand.