Oceans

Recording old oceans centre tag.

Latest news

New information about landslides that occur on the seafloor off New Zealand’s east coast will help scientists better understand why and where they happen, and the types of threats they pose.
New Zealand’s changing ocean environment has prompted the call to develop a system that will keep closer tabs on information from scientific monitoring buoys so the data they produce can be shared as widely as possible.
A chance discovery off the Gisborne coast five years ago is prompting a NIWA scientist to find out more about the link between a field of methane seeps bubbling out of the sea floor and submarine landslides.

The on-going rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) that is fuelling climate change is also driving significant changes in the waters off our coasts.

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.
Ocean acidification conditions around the New Zealand coast are being measured to establish baseline conditions and to quantify future change.
Our oceans are expected to become more acidic as carbon dioxide concentrations rise. This will likely have impacts on the plankton, which play a major role in ocean ecosystems and processes.
Where and when do white sharks occur in New Zealand waters, and how can fisheries bycatch be reduced?

Latest videos

Ocean Acidification
This video has been produced to highlight ocean acidification as a potential issue affecting the NZ shellfish aquaculture industry
Echo, Echo: Scanning the Seafloor on R.V. Tangaroa

NIWA ocean geologist Dr Joshu Mountjoy explains how the R.V. Tangaroa's multibeam system is used for bathymetric (seabed) mapping, and some of the benefits which come out of this mapping.

Seabed Frontier: A Brief History of Bathymetry

NIWA marine geologist John Mitchell gives a brief history of bathymetric (seabed) charting, and how it's been carried out over the last few hundred years. (01:18) 

Big Fish, Calm Sea - White Shark Tagging off Stewart Island

Tagging White Sharks off Stewart Island, NZ Scientists from DOC, NIWA, and the University of Auckland are building a unique picture of New Zealand's great white shark population.

This project uses the analysis of ocean floor sediments to help discover a 20,000 year history of major earthquakes in the Alpine Fault and Hikurangi region.
The Coasts and Oceans Centre provides research services in a range of areas

NIWA combines systematics and taxonomic expertise and resources to help meet the requirements of the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy and related international initiatives. Our biosecurity work ranges from identifying invasive marine species to managing aquatic weeds.

Underwater canyon mapping reveals more seafloor secrets

Underwater canyon mapping reveals more seafloor secrets

This diagram shows cross-section views of the Moeraki/Haast channel system.

NIWA scientists have completed another successful voyage to the west coast of the South Island to study the enormous underwater canyon system in the area.
During the 15-day voyage, RV Tangaroa crossed the canyons region collecting mulitbeam bathymetry to map two tributary systems of the Cook/Hokitika canyon system and an additional 400 kilometres of the Moeraki/Haast canyon system.

Know your beach with Coastal Explorer

No-fish zone protects life on the seabed

Where do baby oysters go?

Tangaroa upgrades undersea currents technology

New Zealand Regional Bathymetry Chart

Tidal creeks - important sinks for fine sediment

Tidal creeks - important sinks for fine sediment

The silt-laden Mangemangeroa creek – taking sedimentation pressure off the Hauraki Gulf. (Photo: Andrew Swales, NIWA)

Tidal creeks that fringe many of our estuaries play an important role in trapping eroded catchment sediment. This is an unexpected finding of a three-year study in the Mangemangeroa Creek, one of many that connect catchments to the Hauraki Gulf.

New measures for shellfish health

Colour clues to ocean productivity

Tidal creeks - important sinks for fine sediment

Gathering fishers' stories

After 50 days in Antarctica, NIWA Vessels staff and scientists worked hard over Easter preparing RV Tangaroa for a month-long voyage along the Macquarie Ridge southwest of New Zealand. Scientists from New Zealand and Australia are on-board.

Huge undersea landslide discovered in Cook Strait

Huge undersea landslide discovered in Cook Strait

Scars, indicating large-scale slope failures, are clearly visible at a depth of around 140 m in Cook Strait.

Undersea mapping in Cook Strait has revealed detail of massive rock movements around a huge canyon, Nicholson Canyon, less than 15 km from Wellington Airport.
Using state-of-the-art multibeam equipment, scientists have discovered that the canyon walls are very steep. The over-300 m high walls have clearly visible scars indicating a large-scale slope collapse or landslide.

New Zealand conducted a major biological survey of the Ross Sea, in the Antarctic, as part of the Census of Antarctic Marine Life (CAML) and International Polar Year (IPY).

Recyclers of the coastal zone

Argo deployment reaches new milestones

Dr Drew Lohrer setting up benthic chambers on Waitemata Harbour sandflats. (Photo: Luca Chiaroni, NIWA)

Worldwide, there is growing recognition of the services nature provides that effectively sustain life and business on our planet. NIWA research is highlighting the vital services provided by estuarine ecosystems and the threats they face.
Estuaries act as filters and recyclers: processing nutrients, contaminants, and sediments that are washed off the land.

What lies beneath Wellington Harbour?

New insight on sediment processes

Recyclers of the coastal zone

The changing map of Antarctica

Mahia's nuisance sediment

Mahia’s nuisance sediment
 
Eroding cliffs – a possible sediment source on Mahia Peninsula. (Photo: Sheryl Miller, NIWA)

Mahia Peninsula, at the northern end of Hawke’s Bay, is renowned for its beautiful beaches and spectacular surf. But sedimentation is a big problem on some parts of the coast. The water is clouded by fine mud, and nearshore marine habitats such as rocky reefs are blanketed in sediment.

Special Issue - Effects of land-based activities on the coastal environment

Death of a thousand cuts - ecosystem disturbance

Of mud, mangroves, and radioisotopes

What risk to human health?

Rivers: the land-coast connection

Of mud, mangroves, and radioisotopes

Of mud, mangroves, and radioisotopes

Mangroves advancing in the Firth of Thames. (Photo: Andrew Swales, NIWA)

Many of New Zealand’s estuaries are becoming muddier, as sediment washes into them from rivers and stormwater drains and accumulates, rather than being dispersed by tides. Mangrove swamps are a feature of some of our muddy estuaries, and the Firth of Thames is a good example of a place where mangroves and mud are steadily accumulating.

Death of a thousand cuts - ecosystem disturbance

Death of a thousand cuts - ecosystem disturbance

Intertidal flats of Mahurangi Harbour. (Photo: Jane Halliday, NIWA)

‘The problem that resource managers face in trying to protect coastal environments is that damage is like death of a thousand cuts – it is often the result of many different small disturbances, the effects of which accumulate over time.’ So says NIWA scientist Simon Thrush, who is leading a long-term project on ecological disturbance modelling at NIWA.
Most environmental threats come in the form of some sort of disturbance to natural ecosystems.

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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
Marine Mammal Acoustician
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Coastal and Estuarine Physical Processes Scientist
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Fisheries Acoustics Scientist
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Regional Ocean Modelling System (ROMS) Numerical Modeller
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Marine Sedimentologist
General Manager - Operations
Principal Scientist - Fisheries
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Marine Invertebrate Systematist
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Marine Physics Modeller
Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology
Principal Scientist - Marine Physics
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Physical Oceanographer
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Marine Biologist (Biosecurity)
Principal Scientist - Fisheries
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Freshwater Fish Ecologist
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Principal Technician - Marine Geology
Algal Ecologist
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