Oceans

Recording old oceans centre tag.

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.
New research from the Deep South Challenge: Changing with our Climate and NIWA shows that New Zealand could experience very long and “very severe” marine heatwaves by the end of the century.

Our work

Clouds over the ocean, and how they trap or emit radiation from the sun, are partly influenced by the biology, biogeochemistry and physics of the surface ocean below.

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. 

Ocean acidification conditions around the New Zealand coast are being measured to establish baseline conditions and to quantify future change.
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

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.

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.
NIWA's Sarah Searson and Jennie Mowatt
If you want to get accurate scientific readings from the icy depths of the Ross Sea, who do you turn to?
Ocean Acidification
This video has been produced to highlight ocean acidification as a potential issue affecting the NZ shellfish aquaculture industry
A global effort by seabird researchers, including those from NIWA, has resulted in the first assessment of where the world’s most threatened seabirds spend their time.
Departed all the wonderful coastal scenery and moved east out into the Ross sea polynya
The clear sky and exceptional visibility made our approach to Woods Bay very memorable with Mount Melbourne dead ahead and Mount Murchison on our starboard beam.
Numerous sightings of minke whales today while target identification mid-water trawls were being made on krill and fish layers beneath Tangaroa.
Day 34 of the Ross Sea Life in a Changing Climate (ReLiCC) 2021 voyage on RV Tangaroa. We are back in New Zealand waters and due to arrive in Wellington on the morning of Monday 15 Feb.
Sadie Mills has come a long way from scaring the inhabitants of Scottish rock pools. Sarah Fraser explains.
A large, orange Scandinavian robot gives NIWA’s marine geologists an in-depth look at changes to the seafloor off Kaikōura.
New Zealanders and Pacific Island communities are on their way to having the most advanced tsunami monitoring system in the world.
Glen Walker is the bosun aboard NIWA’s research vessel Tangaroa currently exploring the waters around Antarctica. His reading list is exclusively sea disaster stories.
Antarctica is an incredibly pristine place; we are here to do good science and leave no trace. So, you can imagine my horror as I watched my camera start to float away from the boat.
Sitting in the library of the R.V. Tangaroa, I’m contemplating the (almost) three weeks spent at sea. From the nauseating swell of the ferocious fifties to the mornings when I’ve woken to beautiful vistas of Antarctic mountains.
NIWA's Sarah Searson and Jennie Mowatt
If you want to get accurate scientific readings from the icy depths of the Ross Sea, who do you turn to?
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.
Day 20 and we are now more than halfway through the Ross Sea Life in a Changing Climate (ReLiCC) 2021 voyage on RV Tangaroa.
Tue 19th: At 00:00 this morning we came across an extremely large tabular iceberg. It was easily picked up on the ship’s radar but due to the foggy conditions was only visible at a range of 1.7 miles.
Day 13 of the Ross Sea Life in a Changing Climate (ReLiCC) 2021 voyage on RV Tangaroa finds us close to Cape Adare on the tip of the Antarctic continent. We’ve had a busy and icy week.
A NIWA researcher has found the first evidence that female deep sea sharks store sperm as a strategy to preserve the species and possibly avoid aggressive mating encounters.
Jellyfish blooms are likely to be a common sight this summer with rising ocean temperatures one of the main causes of substantial population growths.
When scientists head south to Antarctica on board NIWA research vessel Tangaroa next month, they’ll be keeping a close eye out for an animal that is particularly good at staying out of sight.
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).
NIWA forecasters say a marine heatwave is forming around parts of New Zealand after sea surface temperatures (SSTs) warmed considerably last month.
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.
An interactive guide to the sea slugs of New Zealand.
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.

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All staff working on this subject

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Principal Scientist - Marine Geology
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Marine Biogeochemistry Technician
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Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology
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Regional Ocean Modelling System (ROMS) Numerical Modeller
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Marine Sedimentologist
Principal Scientist - Carbon Chemistry and Modelling
General Manager - Operations
Principal Scientist - Marine Geology
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Marine Invertebrate Systematist
Coastal and Estuarine Physical Processes Scientist
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Marine Physics Modeller
Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology
Principal Scientist - Marine Physics
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Physical Oceanographer
Freshwater Fish Ecologist
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