Every year NIWA carries out numerous marine surveillance missions, surveys at ports and harbours around the country. Their divers are looking for the pests that have hitched a ride to New Zealand waters and are capable of destroying our unique ecosystems and shellfish industry.
When you are at the beach or harbours this summer, don't be surprised if you see sea squirts - marine animals we commonly see attached to rocks and wharf piles that have two siphons on the top of their bodies, one to draw in water and the other to expel it. When disturbed, sea squirts contract their siphons, expelling streams of water—hence their name.
Of the more than 70 aquatic plant species naturalised in New Zealand, more than 75% have become problem weeds or have been assessed as having the potential to become future problem weeds. Most of our lakes, rivers and streams are affected by at least one of these species.
NIWA scientists jump overboard to check out the health the Rotorua Te Arawa lakes. The work is part of NIWA's national LakeSPI programme—an ecological health check for lakes throughout New Zealand. Underwater research to protect and maintain New Zealand's freshwater resources.
Today over 90% of New Zealand’s original wetlands have been drained and only 23% of New Zealand has an indigenous forest cover. Such dramatic changes in land use have had a significant impact on the lakes and waterways.
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.
There are more than 150 exotic marine species in New Zealand’s coastal waters already, and at least one new species arrives every year according to a report in NIWA’s new Aquatic Biodiversity & Biosecurity newsletter, published today.