Marine Invertebrates

NIWA’s Marine Invertebrate Collection has welcomed two extremely rare octopus that have only just been provisionally identified.

An interactive guide to the intertidal sponges of New Zealand.

Pollen from New Zealand pine forests has been shown to travel more than 1500km through wind and ocean currents, and sink thousands of metres into the ocean to reach some of the world’s deepest ecosystems.

This week we feature a community of critters living on the Chatham Rise sea floor.

Recording underwater biodiversity after earthquakes

NIWA’s marine ecologist Dr Dave Bowden talks about the catastrophic changes to the seafloor in the Kaikoura Canyon following the November 2016 earthquake.

Our Critter this week is Uroptychus tracey (Ahyong, Schnabel & Baba, 2015)—newly described in a 2015 paper reviewing the squat lobster fauna of the Macquarie Ridge.

A voyage to the Kermadec Islands has resulted in the discovery of many species either new to science or not previously found in the area.
This year is the 2400th anniversary of the birth of Aristotle, a philosopher and scientist (384 BCE), who among other many great achievements was the first person to describe the structure, ecology, and diversity of sea urchins – way back in the 4th century BC.
A new fully illustrated electronic identification guide, Bountiful Bryozoans, has just been released to help people identify this group of marine creatures in the wild.
Exploring the deepsea

Despite many centuries of maritime exploration, only a fraction of our planet's seafloor has been observed. NIWA Deepsea Scientist Di Tracey tells us what it feels like to probe deep beneath the waves to see what's living on the ocean floor.

An interactive guide to the bryozoans of New Zealand
An interactive guide to the starfish of the Ross Sea
We have reached the end of our sampling program up in the Kermadecs and we’re on our way home

We’ve been sampling at Macauley Island for a couple of days now, but before we left Raoul and headed south, we deployed a surface plankton net at dawn.

Using a 2x1m rectangle net we collected all sorts of animals that live at the surface of the ocean, providing food sources for seabirds, fishes and other animals.

Over the last few days the “dive team” have been recording corals, fishes, urchins and other invertebrates from the shallow waters (0-30m) surrounding Raoul Island to complement the biodiversity records from the deeper ocean collected by the other scientists onboard.
Another colossal squid is under examination in Wellington, but this one could fit in the palm of your hand.
This week's critter is a sea star that is endemic to New Zealand waters, also known as the "ambush sea star".
Now back on dry land, Voyage Leader Richard O'Driscoll reflects on the final days of RV Tangaroa's 2015 Antarctica expedition.
It has been another amazing week here on the Tangaroa. On Saturday we saw Antarctica which was an absolutely breath-taking experience that I’ll remember for the rest of my life!
NIWA scientists surveying shallow water coastal habitats off the east coast of Northland have found a rich diversity of macroalgal meadows, shellfish beds, sponges, and rare fish species.
Fiordland’s depths reveal more new-to-science wonders - Funicularina sp. (sea pen)

Scientists from NIWA and the Department of Conservation (DOC) have used a remote operated vehicle (ROV) equipped with cameras and a grappling arm to locate and sample specimens of sea pen previously unknown to science, hidden in the undiveable depths of remote Fiordland.

Two specimens of two different species, Funicularina sp. and Acanthoptilum sp., were collected. It's the first time Funicularina sp. - the sea pen shown in this video - has been seen in the area.

You can find out more about the discoveries in the accompanying press release.

Credit: NIWA

A glow-in-the-dark limpet, a fierce-looking 'toe-biter' (which isn't fierce at all and would scarper at first sniff of your toe) and a mayfly that lacks a functioning mouth (and, not-surprisingly, lives as an adult for only a few days) are just some of the weird and wonderful critters to be found in New Zealand's 425,000 kilometres of streams and rivers.

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