Coasts and Oceans news

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

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Next week, NIWA's research vessel Tangaroa will set sail for the Chatham Rise, for an international study of how microscopic organisms in the surface waters may affect the creation of clouds.

Boaties, beware this summer of a weird hitch-hiker waving at you in the water, as a peculiar marine amphipod crustacean, Caprella mutica, may be freeloading on your boat hull.

A recent expedition to one of the deepest places on Earth has discovered one of the most enigmatic creatures in the deep sea: the 'supergiant' amphipod.

The broadnose sevengill shark, Notorynchus cepedianus, is named descriptively after – wait for it– its broad snout and seven gill slits! Interestingly, most shark species only have five gills. The broadnose sevengill is one of New Zealand's more common inshore sharks.

Scientists at NIWA and Auckland University have discovered that the fouling of vessels by marine creatures is greatly increased by the underwater sounds generated by the vessels themselves.

They fly like birds under water and create strange pits in the sand. Eagle rays can be seen around New Zealand's coast in the summer months, when they come in to breed. Like their larger cousins, the longtail and shorttail stingrays, they have a sting in their tail.

When you leave the beach this summer, the memory of a great holiday can be savoured with a sea shell. Lift it up to your ear, and you hear the roar of the sea once more.

When you are at the beach this summer, don't be surprised if you're swimming next to a sea snake with a paddle for a tail, a big-headed-turtle, or a magnificently coloured flat-faced fish. New Zealand's got its share of weird and wonderful marine visitors. Several species of sea snake and turtle regularly reach our waters.

The shark with the hammer-shaped head (Sphyrna zygaena) is a big eater and is potentially dangerous to humans. It has been found in New Zealand coastal waters, in up to 110 metres of water, and on the continental shelf. It is more commonly seen around the North Island.

A team of scientists from NIWA and the University of Otago has won the top 2011 Prime Minister's Science Prize for their research into guiding the world's response to climate change.

NIWA's Dr Michelle Kelly and a visiting scientist, Professor Jean Vacelet from Centre d'Oceanologie de Marseille, have recently discovered and described three "previously unknown species" of carnivorous sponges from the family Cladorhizidae.

The 'yeti crab' generated media attention worldwide when the first species was found around deep-sea hydrothermal vents off the Easter Islands at around 2200 m depth (Macpherson, Jones & Segonzac, 2005).

Scientists have been reviewing evidence of changes to New Zealand's climate. They've also been projecting future changes to New Zealand's climate, and the impact on biodiversity and marine habitats.
A historic agreement, aimed at improving country-to-country collaboration on marine research, observations and data management between New Zealand and Australia, has been signed in Canberra this morning.

"Planning on a sea-level rise of X?" is the title of NIWA principal scientist Dr Rob Bell's paper at the New Zealand Coastal Society Annual Conference in Nelson this week. Dr Bell is a key-note speaker at the event. "It's a play on words," he says. "There is no single number to plan for."

NIWA's research vessel Tangaroa will set sail for the Chatham Rise tonight to improve our understanding of how marine ecosystems affect commercially exploited fish, and how commercial fisheries affect the marine food-web. The Chatham Rise, a large plateau between the South Island and Chatham Islands, is our most productive fishing ground.

NIWA is using forecast models to show us the offshore conditions around the grounded Rena, and the likely path of the oil plume, as fuel oil washes up on Bay of Plenty beaches.

In a world first, NIWA has designed a regional climate change ocean 'atlas' - for our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

A recent OECD report describes New Zealand's water quality as 'good' relative to most OECD countries but says that it is deteriorating. This deterioration is due, in large part, to diffuse pollution from agriculture, says Dr Kevin Parris of the Trade and Agriculture Directorate, OECD in Paris, France. Dr Parris is a plenary speaker at the DIPCON conference, in Rotorua.

A new web portal offers a previously unseen record of the marine pests that threaten New Zealand's marine environment.

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