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With cascading waterfalls and native bush tumbling down mountainous terrain, Fiordland is one of the most eye-catching parts of the country. But peer beneath the waves and you'll see that Fiordland's marine invertebrate and seaweed communities are every bit as remarkable and awe-inspiring.
Sadie Mills has come a long way from scaring the inhabitants of Scottish rock pools. Sarah Fraser explains.
A lack of information about New Zealand oceanic shark populations is making it difficult to assess how well they are doing, says a NIWA researcher.
Jellyfish blooms are likely to be a common sight this summer with rising ocean temperatures one of the main causes of substantial population growths.

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

Antarctic science onboard NIWA’s RV Tangaroa
Researchers are working their way through a wealth of new Antarctic marine data after RV Tangaroa successfully completed its five week scientific voyage to the Ross Sea.
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.

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

New caddisfly species revealed

Of troglobites and troglophiles

Getting to grips with New Zealand Crustacea

Alien worms - frequent international travellers

Marine Invasives Taxonomic Service - 12 months on

New Zealand scientists have contributed to a major milestone in the quest to catalogue all of Earth’s species. The Catalogue of Life, a comprehensive online directory of all known living organisms, has now topped the one million species mark.

Historical landscape influences on the genetic structure of fish and invertebrate populations in some New Zealand streams
Presented at Biodiversity Conservation in Freshwaters,
Fenner Conference on the Environment,
Canberra, July 2001.
K.J. Collier & R.M. Allibone
Understanding factors influencing the genetic structure of populations is important for successful biodiversity conservation.

Info Archive
Boothroyd, I.K.G. (2000). Biodiversity and biogeography. In: Collier K.J. & Winterbourn, M.J. (eds). New Zealand stream invertebrates: Ecology and implications for management, pp 30-52. New Zealand Limnological Society, Christchurch.
Collier, K.J. (2001). Measuring stream invertebrate biodiversity. Water & Atmosphere 9(3): 14–15.
Collier, K.J. (2001). Stream diversity breaks records. Biodiversity Update 3: 8.
Collier, K.J.; Smith, B.J.; Quinn, J.M.; Scarsbrook, M.R.; Halliday, N.J.; Croker, G.F.; Parkyn, S.M. (2000).

Population structure of Galaxias divergens, a widespread non-migratory galaxias in New Zealand
Presented at Fresh Perspectives, joint conference of NZ Limnological Society,
NZ Hydrological Society and Meteorological Society of NZ,
Christchurch, November 2000.
R.M. Allibone
Galaxias divergens is a small non-migratory galaxiid found in the northern South Island and the southern and central North Island, New Zealand. Genetic and morphological investigations were carried out on 28 populations collected from throughout the species' geographic range.

Freshwater and marine biodiversity information collected by NIWA.

Aquatic plant overview, weed management options & freshwater plant ID guides.
Trophic preferences and range for submerged plant species in NZ lakes.
Publications related to this section.
Definitions of terms used in this section.
Publications related to this section.
Articles about our Freshwater and Estuaries-related specialist analytical services involving resource surveying and information.
Native freshwater plants in New Zealand include species and assemblages found nowhere else, but these are under threat from invasive introduced weeds and fish, from decreasing water quality, and destruction of habitat.
Articles related to our Freshwater and Estuaries-related biodiversity services.
The NIWA Biodiversity Memoirs are comprehensive, definitive, illustrated reference works that capture the rigorous, peer-reviewed scientific study of New Zealand’s distinctive marine fauna and flora.

An international team led by scientists from the United States and New Zealand have observed, for the first time, the bizarre deep-sea communities living around methane seeps off New Zealand’s east coast.

New Zealand’s marine and freshwater environments are extremely important for our economic and social welfare, but they are under constant pressure from human uses and introductions of new invasive species.



All staff working on this subject

Principal Scientist - Fisheries
Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology
Principal Scientist - Freshwater Ecology
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Strategy Manager - Coasts & Estuaries
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Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology
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Marine Invertebrate Systematist
Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology
Regional Manager - Wellington
Fisheries Scientist
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Marine Biology Technician
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Marine Ecology Technician
Principal Technician - Marine Biology
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Marine Biologist
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