Oceans

Recording old oceans centre tag.

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Scientists on an expedition to the underexplored Bounty Trough off New Zealand have discovered around 100 new and potentially new ocean species.
An expedition to discover new species in one of the most remote parts of the deep ocean is departing from Wellington today.
NIWA are studying the ocean off Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay to see how Cyclone Gabrielle has impacted the health of fisheries habitats and seabed ecosystems.
The 2022 Tonga volcanic eruption triggered the fastest underwater flow ever recorded.

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Led by Ocean Census, NIWA and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, a team of scientists are spending 21 days investigating the unexplored Bounty Trough ocean system off the coast of New Zealand’s South Island.

Latest videos

Tonga eruption and tsunami shock the world

Tsunamis and shockwaves hit continents on the other side of the Pacific. The Hunga-Tonga Hunga-Ha'apai (HT-HH) volcano was like a massive shotgun blast from the deep, generating the biggest atmospheric explosion recorded on Earth in more than 100 years. Funded by The Nippon Foundation, NIWA and SEA-KIT surveyed over 22,000km2 surrounding the volcano, including mapping 14,000km2 of previously unmapped seafloor as part of The Nippon Foundation GEBCO Seabed 2030 project. Find out more: https://niwa.co.nz/news/tonga-eruption-confirmed-as-largest-ever-recorded

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. Voyage leader and principal fisheries scientist Dr Richard O’Driscoll outlines the team’s busy research schedule examining biodiversity and ocean dynamics in the world’s largest marine protected area.

Check out more stories from the 2021 Antarctic voyage

The instruments at work - In the volcano's wake

Our team onboard RV Tangaroa are equipped with all the tech and tools they need to explore the undersea changes caused by the devastating volcanic eruption in Tonga earlier this year. They’ve been using a range of nifty scientific instruments to sample all matters of the ocean from the seafloor through to the water column. The line-up includes the: - DTIS (deep-towed imaging system) - Multicorer - CTD (Conductivity, Temperature, Depth) - Glider Find out what each of them do in our video. The NIWA-Nippon Foundation Tonga Eruption Seabed Mapping Project (TESMaP) is funded by The Nippon Foundation and also supported by The Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed2030 Project which aims to map the world’s ocean floor by 2030. Learn more on our website: https://niwa.co.nz/our-science/voyages/2022-tonga-post-eruption

NIWA scientists will be in Hawkes Bay this week to map the seabed to measure the effects of Cyclone Gabrielle
A fossilised sponge from New Zealand has been named as one of the top 10 new marine species of 2022.
Forecasting sea surface temperatures several months in advance is challenging. To give us insights into what might happen around Aotearoa New Zealand in the months to come, NIWA scientists have combined predictions from eight different climate models from institutes around the world.
Researchers have developed New Zealand’s most comprehensive online atlas, providing an overview of nearly 600 marine species, to guide management and conservation of the country’s unique seafloor communities.
Scientists from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) have returned from a six-week voyage to Antarctica.
A research project co-led by Blue Carbon Services and NIWA will aim to provide New Zealand’s first national estimate of natural kelp-carbon sequestration in the marine environment.
Amid a changing climate, global sea surface temperatures are increasing. This will be associated with more frequent and intense marine heatwave events (which are defined as being an extended period of extremely warm ocean temperatures that can extend up to thousands of kilometres).
We have now visited 23 separate sites in these coastal areas, albeit some of them very close together. Every time we visit a new site, we first need to map the seafloor as we are working in unchartered coastal waters.
We are two weeks into the voyage and while we have yet to enter the Ross Sea we have already seen so much! We are onboard RV Tangaroa with a team of 20 scientists and 18 crew, including a ship doctor and ice pilot, heading for the Ross Sea to study ocean physics, food web dynamics, subseafloor fluid systems and benthic ecology.
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). This page shows the 2023 dates of the highest high-tide "red alert" dates, and the lowest high-tide dates.
A joint Chinese – New Zealand research expedition to the Kermadec Trench at Ranghitāhua (Kermadec Islands region) has revealed fascinating new insights into life in the deepest part of New Zealand waters.
Forecasting sea surface temperatures several months in advance is challenging. To give us insights into what might happen around Aotearoa New Zealand in the months to come, NIWA scientists have combined predictions from eight different climate models from institutes around the world.
As New Zealanders search for the summer sun, 38 researchers and crew will board RV Tangaroa tomorrow for a six-week science voyage deep into the waters of Antarctica.
NIWA is active in a broad range of eDNA topics and can provide expert advice on applications and expected outcomes. We welcome inquiries into our services and can assist with experimental design.
Forecasting sea surface temperatures several months in advance is challenging. To give us insights into what might happen around Aotearoa New Zealand in the months to come, NIWA scientists have combined predictions from eight different climate models from institutes around the world.
The initial data on the survival rates of snapper that are caught and then released, suggests careful handling could help fishers save hundreds of thousands of fish per year.
Coastal waters around Aotearoa New Zealand became unusually warm last month, say NIWA.
A New Zealand scientist and a submersible pilot from China have become the first women to dive to Scholl Deep in the Kermadec Trench, 10 km below sea level.
A New Zealand-led team has completed the fullest investigation to date into January’s eruption of the underwater Tongan volcano.
Forecasting sea surface temperatures several months in advance is challenging. To give us insights into what might happen around Aotearoa New Zealand in the months to come, NIWA scientists have combined predictions from eight different climate models from institutes around the world.
In the latest NIWA Biodiversity Memoir, researchers examined and registered over 250 sponge specimens in the family Latrunculiidae, discovering 14 new species and 1 new fossil species.
A group of international scientists are visiting some of New Zealand’s most significant coastal wetlands as part of a five-year research project to help the country adapt and prepare for sea-level rise.
In 2023, RV Tangaroa undertook a 45-day voyage to the Southern Ocean and Ross Sea (TAN2301) between January 11 and February 24, 2023.
What does science tell us about New Zealand cockles?
NIWA scientists are monitoring the potential for another marine heatwave in New Zealand’s coastal waters this coming summer.

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All staff working on this subject

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Principal Scientist - Marine Geology
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Marine Ecologist - Quantitative Modeller
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Marine Biogeochemistry Technician
Freshwater Fish Ecologist
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
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
Chief Scientist - Coasts and Estuaries
Principal Scientist - Marine Physics
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Physical Oceanographer
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