The science behind sediment cores

How do humans impact shallow marine environments?

Sally Watson - The science behind sediment cores

Sediment cores collected in the Queen Charlotte Sound/Tōtaranui will enable scientists to measure the impact humans are having on the shallow marine environment.

Samples collected near regions with high human influence (e.g., next to Picton port) will be compared to samples collected in areas with comparatively relatively low human influence (near marine reserves far from coastal development). 

In collaboration with Marlborough District Council, scientists from the University of Auckland and NIWA will investigate variations in sediment accumulation over time across the Queen Charlotte Sound. They will focus on how human induced changes, including elevated sediment input, introduction of microplastics and changes in sediment composition, influence the flora and fauna that live on the seafloor. 

This project is a part of a broader research initiative, Project EAST, which aims to understand the shallow marine environments around Aotearoa New Zealand. Project EAST uses a range techniques and integrates researchers from multidisciplinary scientific backgrounds to understand shallow marine Ecosystems, Anthropogenic impact, Sediment dynamics and Taiao (Māori perspectives on the natural environment). 

Project EAST team:

Dr Marta Ribo - University of Auckland

Dr Lorna Strachan - University of Auckland

Dr Sally Watson - NIWA

Dr Sarah Seabrook - University of Auckland/NIWA

Dr Rachel Hale - NIWA