Benthic habitats

Latest news

High-resolution mapping has produced the first ever global estimates of coastal habitat damage caused by anchoring.
Greater Wellington Regional Council regularly assess sediment quality and seafloor community health in the subtidal areas of Te Awarua-o-Porirua (Porirua Harbour) and Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington Harbour).
Scientists mapping the Hauraki Gulf seafloor have discovered huge colonies of tubeworms up to 1.5 metres high and collectively covering hundreds of metres providing vital habitats for plants and animals.
The findings of the most complex underwater coastal survey of the seafloor undertaken in New Zealand, including previously undiscovered natural features and sunken boats, are to be formally presented to the Marlborough community tomorrow.

Our work

Seagrass beds form an important undersea habitat for small fish, seahorses and shellfish in New Zealand.
New Zealand's Kaikoura Canyon is a 'biodiversity hotspot', containing far more life than seen before at such depths.
This research project investigated whether the mechanisms for periphyton removal in rivers relate more directly to hydraulic and geomorphic conditions than flow metrics.

Latest videos

Sally Watson - The science behind sediment cores
How do humans impact shallow marine environments?
Benthic Ecology in the Kaikōura canyon
Ashley Rowden and Katie Bigham talk about the positive changes observed on the seafloor following the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake.
Wire deployed corer floats being retrieved
Wire deployed corer floats being retrieved on board the RV Tangaroa. The corer sampled sediments at 9994 metre depths in the Kermadec Trench.
ST47 9990m landing
Wire deployed corer landing at 9994 metre depth in the Kermadec Trench. Deployment and retrieval on board the RV Tangaroa.
ST47 9990m landing
Wire deployed corer landing at 9994 metre depth in the Kermadec Trench. Deployment and retrieval on board the RV Tangaroa.
A team of international researchers leaves Wellington this weekend to explore the bottom of the Kermadec Trench – one of the deepest places in the ocean.
It is well known that earthquakes can trigger tsunami but they can also be caused by landslides – with devastating effects.
NIWA vessel RV Tangaroa visted Kaikōura in September 2017 to investigate the impacts of the earthquake in the coastal zone, which includes effects on rocky reef habitats and communities, pāua fishery and Hector’s dolphins.

Pollen from New Zealand pine forests has been shown to travel more than 1500km through wind and ocean currents, and sink thousands of metres into the ocean to reach some of the world’s deepest ecosystems.

Huge mudslides from November’s earthquakes have wiped out all organisms living in the seabed of the Kaikōura Canyon.

This research project investigated whether the mechanisms for periphyton removal in rivers relate more directly to hydraulic and geomorphic conditions than flow metrics.

Find out about the role of toothfish in the ecosystem and the potential effects of fishing.

Now back on dry land, Voyage Leader Richard O'Driscoll reflects on the final days of RV Tangaroa's 2015 Antarctica expedition.
Biodiversity in the Kermadecs

This amazing footage was captured at the Kermadec Ridge in 2011, by NIWA's Deep-Towed Imaging System (DTIS). 

A recent expedition to one of the deepest places on Earth has discovered one of the most enigmatic creatures in the deep sea: the 'supergiant' amphipod.

Welcome to this special edition of  Natural Hazards Update, highlighting the Shallow Survey 2012.

Welcome to this special edition of Coasts Update, highlighting the Shallow Survey 2012.

Welcome to the latest edition of Coasts Update. Here we bring you news of some of NIWA's latest research on aspects of coastal ecology, and the possible impacts of climate change on one of our coastal communities.

New Zealand's Kaikoura Canyon is a 'biodiversity hotspot', containing far more life than seen before at such depths.

The return of the upgraded RV Tangaroa represents a huge advancement for New Zealand science and exploration

NIWA today welcomed home RV Tangaroa, New Zealand’s only deepwater research vessel, after a $20 million dollar upgrade to enhance its ocean science and survey capabilities.

A feeding frenzy of cusk-eels where nothing was previously thought to live, an entirely new species of deep-sea fish, and large crustacean scavengers, are among the highlights of a recent research expedition that is shedding new light on the ecology of deepest places on Earth.

In the past half century, mangroves have increased in extent in estuaries and tidal creeks throughout the upper half of the North Island.

Estuarine restoration research is relatively new in New Zealand and has been largely instigated by community groups that have become increasingly concerned with the decline of plant and animal species.

Two New Zealand research organisations will work closely with one of the world’s leading ocean research and engineering organisations to accelerate research and exploration in a wide range of oceanographic topics in the southwest Pacific region.

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All staff working on this subject

Principal Scientist - Fisheries
Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology
Strategy Manager - Coasts & Estuaries
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Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology
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Marine Invertebrate Systematist
Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology
Fisheries Scientist
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Marine Biology Technician
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Marine Ecology Technician
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Marine Ecology Technician
Principal Technician - Marine Biology
Principal Technician - Marine Geology
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