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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.

A carnivorous sponge with ‘lip-shaped’ spicules has been identified from the dark depths of the ocean.

NIWA scientists are in the pink! They’re studying the deep candy pink or purple coralline algae, abundant around the New Zealand shoreline and throughout the world, which play a vital role in marine ecosystems.

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.

Welcome to the second edition of Asia-Pacific Update, our newsletter focusing on NIWA's international work in the Pacific, Southeast Asia and Australia. In this edition we focus on some of our recent aquatic biodiversity and biosecurity work in the region.

Researchers at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) have contributed their findings to a major news release by the Census of Marine Life charting an astonishing abundance, diversity, and distribution of deep-sea species.

This unique project is the first systematic attempt to quantify and map environmental values of New Zealand's coastal marine ecosystem.

Scientists at NIWA have identified the source of the giant plankton bloom featuring in spectacular NASA satellite images.

Useful information and resources on New Zealand's marine flora and invertebrate fauna.

Some of the world’s most ancient and fascinating animals have been re-discovered in southern New Zealand. Prospects for their survival look good – provided groundwaters and wetlands are protected.

Different groups of organisms need trained specialists (taxonomists) to distinguish a new species from one that is already named and scientifically described
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.
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.

Inshore and onshore biodiversity sampling activity is about to commence in the Bay of Islands as the Bay of Islands Ocean Survey 20/20 project enters its next phase.

NIWA combines systematics and taxonomic expertise and resources to help meet the requirements of the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy and related international initiatives. Our biosecurity work ranges from identifying invasive marine species to managing aquatic weeds.

NIWA co-hosts global marine biodiversity meeting

Two hundred of the world’s leading marine biologists gathered in Auckland for five days last November to share the latest research insights on marine life from the poles to the tropics. The Census of Marine Life meeting was jointly hosted by NIWA and The University of Auckland.
The Census is a global 10-year research programme to assess and explain the diversity, distribution, and abundance of life in the oceans (see:

Sea ice effects on Ross Sea food webs

Benthic community at Terra Nova Bay, Ross Sea, including: encrusting coralline algae, seastars, and sea urchins camouflaged with pieces of drift red algae. (Photo: Rodd Budd, NIWA)

Scientists from NIWA and the Finnish Institute of Marine Research are using novel ways to explore the effects of sea ice on coastal food webs in Antarctica.
Sea ice is a major driver of polar marine ecosystems, partly through its effect on light levels and, hence, productivity.

Major Antarctic biodiversity voyage underway

Sea ice effects on Ross Sea food webs

A sexy lure for perch

Weedbusting at the border

NIWA co-hosts global marine biodiversity meeting

Awards, awards, awards

Wendy received the award and lifetime membership of the NZ Marine Sciences Society. (Photo: Alan Blacklock, NIWA)

Dr Wendy Nelson, NIWA’s Taxonomy and Systematics Science Leader, has been awarded the prestigious New Zealand Marine Sciences Award in recognition of her continued and outstanding contribution to marine science in New Zealand.
Wendy is New Zealand’s foremost expert on seaweeds, and has devoted her career to research, education, and marineconservation. At NIWA she leads an active algal taxonomy research group and a large marine biodiversity research programme.

Minding Nemo

Amphiprion melanopus, an anemone fish which occurs naturally in parts of Australia. (Photo: Photo: Malcolm Francis, NIWA)

Regulation of the marine aquarium trade is necessary to protect species and habitats in both the countries of origin and import. A NIWA team, led by Dr Don Morrisey, has been working with the Australian Federal Government to characterise the nature of the trade and aid its regulation.
In 2006, Australia imported around 280 000 individuals belonging to over 200 species and 35 families.

A millennium of change

Ever wondered what life was like in the seas around New Zealand 1000 years ago, before human settlement? Or how things have changed since the first Polynesians or Europeans arrived, or even since modern industrial fishing began, around 60 years ago?

Seamount research extended

CenSeam, the global Census of Marine Life programme on seamounts, has received funding to expand its field research.
CenSeam’s aim is to integrate and expand seamount research around the world. Research is focused on evaluating factors driving community composition and biodiversity on seamounts, and determining the impacts of human activities on seamount community structure and function.
Over the past few years, CenSeam has supported many varied research activities according to NIWA’s Dr Malcolm Clark, who leads a three-strong CenSeam team in Wellington.

Keeping pest plants at bay

Promising results from GemexTM field trials

Seamount research extended

NIWA's biosecurity expertise sought in Middle East

NZ seabed biodiversity probed



All staff working on this subject

Principal Scientist - Fisheries
Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology
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Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology
Principal Scientist - Fisheries
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Marine Invertebrate Systematist
Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology
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Regional Manager - Wellington
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Freshwater Ecologist
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Marine Biology Technician
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Marine Ecology Technician
Principal Technician - Marine Biology
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