Coasts and Oceans research projects

Find out more about some of our coasts and oceans-related work.

The seaweed known colloquially as nori in Japanese - used for making sushi - or karengo in Maori has been reclassified by an international team of scientists including NIWA's Dr Wendy Nelson.
River plumes form one of the primary connectors between river-estuary systems and the coastal ocean.

The Ocean Survey 20/20 (OS 20/20) programme is a Government initiative, which aims to provide New Zealand with better knowledge of its ocean territory, including New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), Continental Shelf and the Ross Sea Region.

Understanding how material released into the ocean spreads is very important in the case of oil spills, sediment transport and the release of invasive species. 

How do marine micro-organisms influence the earth's atmosphere and climate?

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. 

Where and when do white sharks occur in New Zealand waters, and how can fisheries bycatch be reduced?
New Zealand's Kaikoura Canyon is a 'biodiversity hotspot', containing far more life than seen before at such depths.

NIWA is developing guidelines and advice to help coastal communities adapt to climate change.

Building a publicly-available database from the results of a marine mapping survey of the Bay of Islands provides us with a stocktake of the local aquatic resource, in turn giving us valuable information on what areas we can better manage for the future.
NIWA is working on a ministry-funded project to produce a model, validated by 40 years of historic data, to project future wave and storm surges off the coast for two climate change scenarios.
Seagrass beds form an important undersea habitat for small fish, seahorses and shellfish in New Zealand.
This unique project is the first systematic attempt to quantify and map environmental values of New Zealand's coastal marine ecosystem.
NIWA has developed an Urban Stormwater Contaminant (USC) model to enable urban planners to predict sedimentation and heavy metal accumulation in estuaries and identify problem areas in order to target mitigation measures.
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.
Contamination of shellfish by faecal microbes is a health hazard to the consumer and so is of particular concern to the commercial producer.
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.
Understanding the complexity of tidal resources in New Zealand’s coastal waters and examining how extracting tidal energy would influence and be influenced by this variability.
Satellite images can be used to measure phytoplankton biomass in the ocean around New Zealand in order to understand ocean ecosystems, fish populations and greenhouse gas absorbtion.
Coastal aquaculture provides one of New Zealand’s biggest opportunities to generate new wealth from the primary production sector.

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