Three new posters reveal the seafloor of the Cook Strait and Wellington Harbour in high resolution detail for the first time. These posters are the product of recent sophisticated seafloor mapping combined with expert marine geological knowledge acquired over decades. They are the culmination of an exceptional collaborative effort among NIWA researchers.
Coasts Update 01, December 2009
Welcome to Coasts Update, the new quarterly e-newsletter of NIWA's National Centre for Coasts. In this issue, we report on tsunami research, predicting contaminant accumulation in estuaries, seagrass restoration, and a new set of posters depicting the seafloor of Cook Strait and Wellington Harbour.
Land-derived sediments and heavy metals are two contaminants threatening the health of New Zealand’s estuaries. NIWA has developed the Urban Stormwater Contaminant (USC) model to predict long-term sediment and heavy metal accumulation under various land-use and management scenarios. The model has recently been applied to the Waitemata and Manukau Harbours to aid planning decisions.
Recent tsunami generated by earthquakes off Samoa and Vanuatu were detected by 12 sea-level gauges around New Zealand, revealing delays of up to 15 hours in local occurrence of peak waves. Using data from the Vanuatu tsunami, NIWA scientists demonstrated new hydrodynamic computer models that may soon be able to predict the effects of regional tsunamis in near real-time.
Beds of New Zealand seagrass (Zostera muelleri) provide important habitat for coastal species such as small fish, seahorses, and shellfish. Much of New Zealand’s seagrass habitat has been lost or degraded, mainly as a result of sedimentation. NIWA is leading a small-scale seagrass transplantation trial in Whangarei Harbour, with promising early results.