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No.02 2005

National Centre timely, says Minister

New tool for marine conservation and management

Marine habitat mapping workshop

Mapping life on the Napier seafloor

Future waves

Mapping life on the Napier seafloor

It sounds easy, but equipment and vessel time as well as unpredictable weather make it time consuming and expensive to map the seafloor using cameras alone.

At NIWA, we have developed a quicker, more cost effective method. First we acoustically map the seafloor using technology such as sidescan or multibeam sonar. We use the acoustic images, and our ecological experience, to guide where we deploy video cameras. Once we have the video footage, we use statistical techniques and ecological information on the importance of various species to classify the observations into habitat types.

New tool for marine conservation and management

New tool for marine conservation and management
New Zealand’s first-ever Marine Environment Classification (MEC) is complete.

The MEC divides New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) into areas with similar environmental and biological character. We used eight environmental variables to define the classification. They all relate to the physical characteristics of the ocean, including depth, tidal currents, and aspects of sea surface temperature. Biological features of an area (e.g., what creatures live there) tend to be closely aligned with the environment.

Future waves

For the past year, NIWA has been conducting in-house trials of a system which produces rolling 5-day forecasts of wave conditions.
Waves are generated by wind. The NIWA model currently uses 5-day forecasts of winds over the world’s oceans from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The model converts those wind forecasts into the likely wave patterns, taking into account the physics of how waves build up, travel, and dissipate.

Research subject: Oceans