Biodiversity

Help us build a better niwa.co.nz for you by filling out our annual survey

Latest news

Jellyfish blooms are likely to be a common sight this summer with rising ocean temperatures one of the main causes of substantial population growths.
Small orange flecks spotted floating around in a respiration chamber at a NIWA laboratory have led to a discovery about the spawning habits of a deep-sea stony coral in New Zealand waters.
NIWA researchers are heading out from Tasman early next week to survey an area thought to be home to important juvenile fish nurseries.
After a decade-long effort, NIWA’s latest Biodiversity Memoir has just rolled off the presses. Written by marine biologist Kareen Schnabel, the 350-page treatise presents everything we currently know about the different kinds of squat lobster living in New Zealand’s waters.

Our work

The ability to properly manage our freshwater resources requires a solid understanding of the flora and fauna which live in and interact with them.
NIWA hosted an IPBES workshop entitled “Visions for nature and nature’s contributions to people for the 21st century” held from 4-8 September 2017 in Auckland.
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.
Our oceans are expected to become more acidic as carbon dioxide concentrations rise. This will likely have impacts on the plankton, which play a major role in ocean ecosystems and processes.

Latest videos

Critter of the deep - episode 3: sea spider
Sea spiders look similar to land spiders, but they are in their own special group.
Dr Jade Maggs talks about reef sharks
A global survey involving 123 scientists from 58 nations raises concerns about the global status of reef sharks.
A journey under the ice, with Peter Marriott
Chill-proofed divers plunge in the Ross sea, Antarctica.
Tour of the NIWA Invertebrate Collection with Sadie Mills
The NIWA Invertebrate Collection (NIC) holds specimens from almost all invertebrate phyla.

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.

NIWA looked deep – to almost 1840 metres – and found new-to-science fish, close to the seafloor. The ocean revealed specimens of some rarely seen, and some previously unknown, fishes from New Zealand waters.

Building a publicly-available database from the results of a marine mapping survey of the Bay of Islands provides us with a stocktake of the local aquatic resource, in turn giving us valuable information on what areas we can better manage for the future.
Once you have identified the problem, and applied the necessary tools for restoring fish to your stream, the next phase of your project is to monitor the stream site to see whether restoration works.

What is known about life in the ocean? Even though it’s the biggest habitat on the planet, most of the ocean remains unexplored biologically. So what do we know? And how does New Zealand’s biodiversity compare with the rest of the world?

A New Zealand sponge has been selected for the prestigious international Top 10 species of the year. Each year, an international Top 10 New Species selection committee selects the 10 most notable new species described from around the world.

They are tiny, burrow under the boards of your seaside bach, and make a heck of a lot of noise in the dead of night. They think night-time is the right time for … calling loudly in a raspy voice!

Snapper are New Zealand’s most prized fish; they are the fish fishermen love-to-love. They live in a wide range of habitats in New Zealand’s warmer coastal waters, around the North Island and the top of the South, and prefer depths of 5–60 metres. They grow to a decent size: up to 105 cm in length.

Think you’ve got your favourite surf beach to yourself? Think again! There’s life hidden beneath those waves.

“It may look barren, but the high-energy surf zone of exposed beaches is a very productive place, second only to coastal upwellings,” says Keith Michael, a fisheries scientist at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA). “It’s rich in phytoplankton [microscopic plants], such as diatoms, that provide a constant ‘soup’ for animals tough enough to survive the waves.”

If you’re surfing the North Island beaches this summer don’t be surprised if the sleek bronze body next to you riding the waves is that of a bronze whaler shark.

The scientific name for New Zealand’s iconic black-footed pāua captures its shape and iridescent hues perfectly: Haliotis iris means ‘ear-shell rainbow’.

The decorator crabs, or camouflaged crabs, are very different creatures from the paddle crab. They’re slow movers that rely on disguise to evade predators, decorating their shells with whatever flotsam and jetsam comes to claw.

Ever had a crab nip your toe at the beach? The culprit is most likely the paddle crab.

This summer, watch out when snorkelling around the New Zealand coastline, for our very own sea monster: Hippocampus abdominalis, the pot-bellied sea horse.

Specimens can be loaned to universities, colleges, museums and other research or education institutions for the use of resident research staff.

Pages

 

All staff working on this subject

Principal Scientist - Fisheries
Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology
placeholder image
Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology
Principal Scientist - Fisheries
placeholder image
Marine Invertebrate Systematist
Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology
placeholder image
Regional Manager - Wellington
placeholder image
Freshwater Ecologist
placeholder image
Marine Biology Technician
placeholder image
Marine Ecology Technician
Principal Technician - Marine Biology
placeholder image
Marine Biologist
Subscribe to RSS - Biodiversity