Marine Invertebrates

Latest news

A worm that feeds on bacteria and has no eyes is one of the standout stars of almost 600 unfamiliar and potentially new ocean species identified at NIWA in the past year.
NIWA’s Marine Invertebrate Collection has welcomed two extremely rare octopus that have only just been provisionally identified.

Pollen from New Zealand pine forests has been shown to travel more than 1500km through wind and ocean currents, and sink thousands of metres into the ocean to reach some of the world’s deepest ecosystems.

A voyage to the Kermadec Islands has resulted in the discovery of many species either new to science or not previously found in the area.

Our work

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.

Latest videos

Ocean acidification - what is it?

The on-going rise of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is not only changing our climate—it is also changing our oceans. Take a look at the work of the NIWA-led CARIM project into what these changes may mean for the delicate balance of marine life.

NIWA Blake Ambassadors Vlog 3: its bongo time! TAN1810
18 Nov 2018. NIWA Blake Ambassador—Lana Young—explains how bongo nets are deployed to collect plankton around the clock on board the RV Tangaroa.
NIWA Blake Ambassadors Vlog 3: Fishing for water!

7 November 2018. In this Vlog 2 update live from Tangaroa, NIWA Blake Ambassador Siobhan O’Connor shares a typical shift, starting at 2.30am, collecting water samples from different ocean depths which are carefully analysed in the lab. 

Students at Leigh School have been working with marine scientists and the 'Year of the Salps' project partners to learn how to count sea salps, understand salp life cycle phases and the importance of salps in marine ecosystems and their carbon-cycling effects on climate change.
Who is involved in the TAN1810 SalPOOP voyage?
The RV Tangaroa is working across the Chatham Rise and the east coast of the South Island Oct/Nov 2018. The TAN1810 voyage will focus on the special role salps play in carbon cycling, and where they fit in marine food webs off the New Zealand coast.

Think about a futuristic world where at night time, people use different kind of self-propelled vehicles to hover across cities, illuminating the skies with different colours and shapes, while transiting around them.

Breakfast with Ebony - Episode 3

Marine Biologist Diana Macpherson spends a good part of her time investigating various critters that live on the sea floor...check out this enormous specimen!

NIWA’s Marine Invertebrate Collection has welcomed two extremely rare octopus that have only just been provisionally identified.
An interactive guide to the intertidal sponges of New Zealand.

Pollen from New Zealand pine forests has been shown to travel more than 1500km through wind and ocean currents, and sink thousands of metres into the ocean to reach some of the world’s deepest ecosystems.

This week we feature a community of critters living on the Chatham Rise sea floor.

Recording underwater biodiversity after earthquakes

NIWA’s marine ecologist Dr Dave Bowden talks about the catastrophic changes to the seafloor in the Kaikoura Canyon following the November 2016 earthquake.

Our Critter this week is Uroptychus tracey (Ahyong, Schnabel & Baba, 2015)—newly described in a 2015 paper reviewing the squat lobster fauna of the Macquarie Ridge.

A voyage to the Kermadec Islands has resulted in the discovery of many species either new to science or not previously found in the area.
This year is the 2400th anniversary of the birth of Aristotle, a philosopher and scientist (384 BCE), who among other many great achievements was the first person to describe the structure, ecology, and diversity of sea urchins – way back in the 4th century BC.
A new fully illustrated electronic identification guide, Bountiful Bryozoans, has just been released to help people identify this group of marine creatures in the wild.
Exploring the deepsea

Despite many centuries of maritime exploration, only a fraction of our planet's seafloor has been observed. NIWA Deepsea Scientist Di Tracey tells us what it feels like to probe deep beneath the waves to see what's living on the ocean floor.

An interactive guide to the bryozoans of New Zealand
An interactive guide to the starfish of the Ross Sea
We have reached the end of our sampling program up in the Kermadecs and we’re on our way home

We’ve been sampling at Macauley Island for a couple of days now, but before we left Raoul and headed south, we deployed a surface plankton net at dawn.

Using a 2x1m rectangle net we collected all sorts of animals that live at the surface of the ocean, providing food sources for seabirds, fishes and other animals.

Over the last few days the “dive team” have been recording corals, fishes, urchins and other invertebrates from the shallow waters (0-30m) surrounding Raoul Island to complement the biodiversity records from the deeper ocean collected by the other scientists onboard.

An interactive guide to the sponges of New Zealand. Version 3.0 (December 2018) is available for download now!

Another colossal squid is under examination in Wellington, but this one could fit in the palm of your hand.
This week's critter is a sea star that is endemic to New Zealand waters, also known as the "ambush sea star".
A list of current voyage reports in downloadable formats.

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All staff working on this subject

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Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology
Senior Regional Manager - Wellington
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Marine Invertebrate Systematist
Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology
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Marine Ecology Technician
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Marine Ecology Technician
Principal Technician - Marine Biology
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Marine Biologist
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