Ecosystems

This project aims to increase our knowledge of aquatic ecosystems and their restoration, and apply this to degraded streams, rivers, lakes and estuaries.
NIWA hosted an IPBES workshop entitled “Visions for nature and nature’s contributions to people for the 21st century” held from 4-8 September 2017 in Auckland.
Atlantis is a 3D, spatially-explicit, trophodynamic ecosystem model that integrates biology, physics, chemistry and human impacts to provide a synoptic view of marine ecosystem function.
Unlike other ecosystem models, machine learning is built solely from the information it is presented.
Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE) is trophodynamic modelling software that uses a mass-balance approach to describe ecosystem based, marine food web interactions.
Spatially explicit disturbance/recovery models are a cellular automaton that uses a mechanistic approach to investigate recovery rates of benthic species following disturbance events.
Resource trade-off models are spatial models that use biological, environmental and socio-economic data to optimise management (protected area designation) across potentially conflicting uses, or across different ecosystem services.
MICE (Models of Intermediate Complexity) is a type of ecosystem model that is question-driven, and contains a limited number of components and ecological processes.

These models can look at the movement of carbon into the water, through the food chain, and then the export to the lower depths of the ocean.

At NIWA, we consider all components of the marine ecosystem important when trying to better understand the role of dynamic, ecosystem processes on the distribution and abundance of marine organisms in New Zealand’s marine environments.
NIWA scientists have found signs of recovery in the Kaikōura Canyon seabed, 10 months after powerful submarine landslides triggered by the November earthquake wiped out organisms living in and on the seabed.

We examine how the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge plans to enhance the use of marine resources within biological constraints.

A NIWA scientist is calling for greater protection of submarine canyons around New Zealand as their rich marine life comes under increasing threat from human activity.
A tiny community of New Zealand sea lions on the Otago Peninsula is helping scientists solve the mystery of why some populations are doing better than others.
A list of current voyage reports in downloadable formats.
Taking the pulse of Antarctica’s ocean ecosystem

Niwa scientists have anchored an echosounder to the sea floor of Terra Nova Bay that could reveal the mystery of silverfish reproduction under the Antarctic ice.

Silverfish are important in the marine food web, providing a link between zooplankton and predators like penguins seals, and toothfish. While silverfish eggs are observed in abundance in Terra Nova Bay every spring, no-one knows whether the fish migrate into the bay to lay them under the cover of the winter ice, or if the eggs wash in on the current.

Read a media release about this research

Now back on dry land, Voyage Leader Richard O'Driscoll reflects on the final days of RV Tangaroa's 2015 Antarctica expedition.
The first objective of the New Zealand- Australia Antarctic Ecosystems Voyage was successfully achieved with the completion of the research at the Balleny Islands.

How far and fast can aquatic insects travel upstream? Do the adults have to fly, or can the larvae crawl? A NIWA scientist is using obstacle courses to test the ability of fly larvae for upstream travel - a kind of flyathalon. This work will identify some of the barriers to stream restoration, including movement of insects as they recolonise restored areas.

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