Coasts

Latest news

New findings from the record-breaking Tongan volcanic eruption are “surprising and unexpected”, say scientists from New Zealand’s National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).
NIWA is contributing to an international effort to help developing countries reduce the impact of biofouling on aquatic-based industries and environments.
NIWA and The Nippon Foundation are undertaking a mission to discover the undersea impacts of the recent Tongan volcanic eruption.
A robot sea craft is the latest tool NIWA scientists are using to help them count fish.

Our work

Aotearoa New Zealand’s coastal lowlands are our flat low-lying land (or plains) adjacent to coasts and estuaries. Our coastal lowlands are valued for many reasons, including unique ecological wetlands, cultural sites of significance, valued recreational areas, highly-productive agriculture and are popular places to live.

We need information on the food web structures of our marine ecosystems in order to manage the effects on the ecosystem of fishing, aquaculture and mining, as well as understanding the potential impacts of climate variability and change on our oceans. 

NIWA is looking for people who have had a long association with the Hauraki Gulf or Marlborough Sounds to help them with a research project on juvenile fish habitats.

NIWA is developing guidelines and advice to help coastal communities adapt to climate change.

Latest videos

Dive into the alien world of plankton in the Ross Sea

Plankton are the base of the oceans food web and are vital to our survival. But as our world changes will they be able to continue to play this essential role? Join us as we follow a group of NIWA scientists investigating various aspects of this question in the ocean around Antarctica.

Shifting Sands - Tsunami hazard off Kaikoura, NZ

Dr Joshu Mountjoy discusses NIWA's work in assessing the tsunami hazard just south of Kaikoura. 

Find out more about this research. 

Antarctic Coastal Marine Life in a Changing Climate

NIWA marine ecologist Dr Vonda Cummings discusses the likely effects of climate change on marine invertebrates living on the seafloor of the Ross Sea coast.

Next Stop Antarctica

Our Far South is an expedition that aims to raise New Zealanders' awareness of the area south of Stewart Island. Gareth Morgan, Te Radar, scientists and 50 everyday Kiwis are onboard to learn and then share their experience. This is the first video produced by them, showing some of the highlights of the trip so far.

Jellyfish blooms are likely to be a common sight this summer with rising ocean temperatures one of the main causes of substantial population growths.
RV Tangaroa undertook a 45-day voyage to the Southern Ocean and Ross Sea in January-February, 2021.
Storm-tide red alerts are the highest high tide (also known as king tides) dates that Emergency Managers and Coastal Hazard Managers should write in their diaries and keep an eye on adverse weather (low barometric pressure, onshore winds), river levels and sea conditions (waves and swell).
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.
A six-metre long orange underwater robot is flying through the Kaikōura Canyon for the next month collecting information on how the canyon has changed since the 2016 earthquake.
People along the Kapiti and Wanganui coast may spot NIWA’s research vessel Kaharoa operating close to shore in the next few weeks as scientists carry out a survey of snapper, tarakihi, red gurnard and John Dory.
Welcome to the September edition of Making Waves. As always, our commitment is to deliver quality science for the benefit of New Zealand.
NIWA is using serious games to look at problems holistically, support understanding and give a framework for climate change adaptation decision-making.
NIWA scientists have completed the first national assessment of people and buildings at risk in New Zealand’s tsunami evacuation zones.
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.
At the bottom of the Southern Ocean, near Cape Adare in East Antarctica, lies an undersea ridge which until this month was only known by its co-ordinates: -71.2132 latitude, 172.1649 longitude.
Five specialist NIWA divers were left ‘gasping’ during their recent plunge under the ice near Scott Base.
New ways to address environmental sustainability challenges.
New measurements from the ocean under the centre of the Ross Ice Shelf have significantly improved our understanding of the complex processes that drive melting in Antarctica.
NIWA is currently working closely with stakeholders to ensure that our research and advice are applied to maximum effect to assist with the recovery after COVID-19.
A little can mean a lot – especially when it comes to the relationship between sea level rise and coastal flooding.
Two reports released today by NIWA and the Deep South National Science Challenge reveal new information about how many New Zealanders, how many buildings and how much infrastructure could be affected by extreme river and coastal flooding from storms and sea-level rise.
Most of the plastic in the ocean originates on land, being carried to the estuaries and coasts by rivers. Managing this plastic on land before it reaches the river could be the key to stemming the tide of marine-bound plastics. The aim of this project is to understand the sources and fate of plastic pollution carried by urban rivers using the Kaiwharawhara Stream as a case study.

Compound Specific Stable Isotope tracing of sediment sources - tools to manage a sticky problem in New Zealand’s freshwaters and estuaries

Fine sediment is New Zealand’s most widespread water contaminant, degrading ecosystems, infilling dams and reservoirs and impairing recreational, cultural and aesthetic values in our rivers, estuaries and coastal seas.

NIWA puts a lot of things in the ocean—instruments tied to moorings, floats that dive up and down measuring what’s going on in the water, and video cameras that monitor fish.

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

NIWA is looking for people who have had a long association with the Hauraki Gulf or Marlborough Sounds to help them with a research project on juvenile fish habitats.

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All staff working on this subject

Principal Scientist - Ecosystem Modelling
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Hazard and Risk Analyst
Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology
Regional Manager - Nelson
Principal Scientist - Natural Hazards and Hydrodynamics
Strategy Manager - Coasts & Estuaries
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Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology
Senior Regional Manager - Wellington
Strategy Manager - Oceans
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Marine Invertebrate Systematist
Coastal and Estuarine Physical Processes Scientist
Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology
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Physical Oceanographer
Principal Scientist - Coastal and Estuarine Physical Processes
Fisheries Scientist
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Coastal Technician
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Marine Ecology Technician
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