Research projects

Read about the wide-ranging research that NIWA scientists lead and contribute to in Antarctica. 

NIWA’s Antarctic fisheries research is allowing us to investigate possible effects of the longline Antarctic toothfish fishery on the toothfish population and on the local ecosystem.
We don’t clearly understand the ecological effects of commerical toothfish fishing in the Ross Sea region. To improve our knowledge, we conducted a survey of demersal (bottom-dwelling) fish species on the Ross Sea slope - particularly grenadiers and icefish - during the 2015 Antarctic Ecosystems Voyage.
The Southern Ocean is under-sampled. Data collected continuously during the Antarctic Ecosystems Voyagehelped fill an important knowledge gap about oceanographic and atmospheric processes in this important region.
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.
The Ross Sea lies 3500 km south of New Zealand next to Antarctica. It encompasses the main fishing grounds for Antarctic toothfish, a species NIWA scientists are studying so that it can be fished sustainably.

This research project focusses on modelling atmospheric chemistry and climate from the surface to the top of the stratosphere, using sophisticated chemistry-climate models.

NIWA is conducting a five–year study to map changes in the distribution of plankton species in surface waters between New Zealand and the Ross Sea.
The Antarctic ozone hole has a major effect on the local climate, and the future of Antarctica will influence global climate and sea level changes.

By analysing air trapped in ancient ice we can see how wetlands and permafrosts responded to warming periods in the past, and help predict what will happen in the future.

CFCs have damaged the ozone layer and led to higher UV levels and increased health risks. Our role is to understand the causes and effects of ozone depletion, to inform the public of the risk.

IceCUBE (Coastal Underwater Benthic Ecosystems) is the umbrella name for our coastal marine research project that aims to understand the structure and functioning of benthic (seafloor) ecosystems along the Ross Sea coast in response to future environmental change.