Oceans

Recording old oceans centre tag.

Latest news

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.
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.

Our work

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.
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.

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.

National Centre timely, says Minister

New tool for marine conservation and management

Marine habitat mapping workshop

Mapping life on the Napier seafloor

Future waves

Wave rider buoy 'very valuable'

Finding sand to feed a growing city

Offshore exploration

Habitat mapping highlight

NIWA helps reduce exploration risk

Monitoring the sea level

Myriad applications for isotope analysis

Backscatter workshop a success

Effects of land-based activities on the coastal environment: issues & solutions

Mud and mangroves in the Firth of Thames

How toxic are heavy metals to estuary life?

A better picture for oil exploration

The Argonauts are back

Predicting ocean nutrient levels

Mammoth UNCLOS submission filed

Measuring trace gases in the open ocean

Mapping Marlborough's complex currents

Revealing the forces that shape beaches

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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
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
Freshwater Fish Ecologist
Principal Technician - Marine Geology
Algal Ecologist
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