Find out more about some of our coasts and oceans-related work.

NIWA is leading a New Zealand partnership to map the South and West Pacific Ocean's seabed as part of a worldwide initiative to map the entire globe’s seafloor.
A combination of field surveys and on-site observations are being used along with laboratory-based experiments to determine the effects of seabed disturbance on benthic life.
The aim of this voyage was to examine the movement and habitat utilization of pygmy blue whales in New Zealand waters.
NIWA hosted an IPBES workshop entitled “Visions for nature and nature’s contributions to people for the 21st century” held from 4-8 September 2017 in Auckland.
The sounds of whales and dolphins rarely seen in New Zealand waters have been recorded in a pioneering underwater sound project.
Māui dolphins, a subspecies of Hector’s dolphins, are listed as nationally critical in New Zealand with a population estimate between 57 and 75 dolphins over one year old.
Biological traits analysis is a valuable tool for measuring ecosystem function.

Using a novel observational platform – ocean gliders—this research will observe and understand subsurface variations in temperature, salinity, oxygen and biological factors in water shallower than 200 metres – what we consider to be the shelf seas.

The main breeding population of New Zealand sea lions at the Auckland Islands has halved in size since the late-1990s; NIWA scientists are working with the government and experts from around New Zealand and overseas to understand why.

A NIWA-led project to tackle coastal acidification in New Zealand.
Estuaries and coasts provide a wide range of benefits to New Zealanders – “ecosystem services”. However, we still don’t know enough about these ecosystem services – a challenge NIWA and other scientists are tackling with a new technique.
Ocean acidification conditions around the New Zealand coast are being measured to establish baseline conditions and to quantify future change.
We are using modern techniques to map seafloor surrounding Kapiti Island, an area of significant cultural and environmental value to New Zealand.

Marine scientists have long recognized the potential of using remotely-sensed data, most often acquired using a sonar system, as a proxy of biophysical indicators.

Interest in offshore petroleum and minerals exploration is growing rapidly as investors identify the potential economic returns from New Zealand’s rich marine resources. The challenge for management agencies and scientists is to facilitate development of this natural wealth while ensuring environmental sustainability is not compromised.

Last updated: 
13 November 2019
NIWA has joined with the University of Auckland, the University of Canterbury and Cawthron Institute to form Marine Futures, a research programme funded by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment.

Acidification of the world’s oceans from rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels reduces the availability of carbonate required by some marine organisms to build shells and skeletons, and potentially affects their ability to maintain existing structures.

Long-term datasets that track persistent change in the environment are a critical component of any modern ecosystem-based approach to natural resource management and sustainable growth.

The Southern Ocean has a strong influence on New Zealand and global climate. To understand how the oceans have changed over 1000s of years we use sediment archives from the seafloor.

Since the early 2000s, NIWA has been part of the international Argo programme, which is deploying floats to measure temperature and salinity throughout the world's oceans.