Biodiversity

Latest news

For more than 20 years NIWA scientists have been nurturing three plants that are the only examples of their kind in existence.
NIWA’s flagship research vessel Tangaroa will sail out of Wellington Harbour on Sunday for the first scientific voyage since the lockdown.
One of the world's leading scientific publishers has named a paper cowritten by a NIWA scientist as one of 250 groundbreaking findings that could "help change the world".
A team of international researchers leaves Wellington this weekend to explore the bottom of the Kermadec Trench – one of the deepest places in the ocean.

Our work

The ability to properly manage our freshwater resources requires a solid understanding of the flora and fauna which live in and interact with them.
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.
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.

Latest videos

Diving deep to check up on our lakes

NIWA scientists jump overboard to check out the health the Rotorua Te Arawa lakes. The work is part of NIWA's national LakeSPI programme—an ecological health check for lakes throughout New Zealand. 
Underwater research to protect and maintain New Zealand's freshwater resources.

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.

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.

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.
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.

Inshore and onshore biodiversity sampling activity is about to commence in the Bay of Islands as the Bay of Islands Ocean Survey 20/20 project enters its next phase.

Some of the useful methods, guidelines and modelling tools we've developed to assist with management of freshwaters.

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.

NIWA co-hosts global marine biodiversity meeting

Two hundred of the world’s leading marine biologists gathered in Auckland for five days last November to share the latest research insights on marine life from the poles to the tropics. The Census of Marine Life meeting was jointly hosted by NIWA and The University of Auckland.
The Census is a global 10-year research programme to assess and explain the diversity, distribution, and abundance of life in the oceans (see: www.coml.org).

Sea ice effects on Ross Sea food webs

Benthic community at Terra Nova Bay, Ross Sea, including: encrusting coralline algae, seastars, and sea urchins camouflaged with pieces of drift red algae. (Photo: Rodd Budd, NIWA)

Scientists from NIWA and the Finnish Institute of Marine Research are using novel ways to explore the effects of sea ice on coastal food webs in Antarctica.
Sea ice is a major driver of polar marine ecosystems, partly through its effect on light levels and, hence, productivity.

Major Antarctic biodiversity voyage underway

Sea ice effects on Ross Sea food webs

A sexy lure for perch

Weedbusting at the border

NIWA co-hosts global marine biodiversity meeting

Awards, awards, awards

Wendy received the award and lifetime membership of the NZ Marine Sciences Society. (Photo: Alan Blacklock, NIWA)

Dr Wendy Nelson, NIWA’s Taxonomy and Systematics Science Leader, has been awarded the prestigious New Zealand Marine Sciences Award in recognition of her continued and outstanding contribution to marine science in New Zealand.
Wendy is New Zealand’s foremost expert on seaweeds, and has devoted her career to research, education, and marineconservation. At NIWA she leads an active algal taxonomy research group and a large marine biodiversity research programme.

Minding Nemo

Amphiprion melanopus, an anemone fish which occurs naturally in parts of Australia. (Photo: Photo: Malcolm Francis, NIWA)

Regulation of the marine aquarium trade is necessary to protect species and habitats in both the countries of origin and import. A NIWA team, led by Dr Don Morrisey, has been working with the Australian Federal Government to characterise the nature of the trade and aid its regulation.
In 2006, Australia imported around 280 000 individuals belonging to over 200 species and 35 families.

A millennium of change

Ever wondered what life was like in the seas around New Zealand 1000 years ago, before human settlement? Or how things have changed since the first Polynesians or Europeans arrived, or even since modern industrial fishing began, around 60 years ago?

Seamount research extended

CenSeam, the global Census of Marine Life programme on seamounts, has received funding to expand its field research.
CenSeam’s aim is to integrate and expand seamount research around the world. Research is focused on evaluating factors driving community composition and biodiversity on seamounts, and determining the impacts of human activities on seamount community structure and function.
Over the past few years, CenSeam has supported many varied research activities according to NIWA’s Dr Malcolm Clark, who leads a three-strong CenSeam team in Wellington.

Keeping pest plants at bay

Promising results from GemexTM field trials

Seamount research extended

NIWA's biosecurity expertise sought in Middle East

NZ seabed biodiversity probed

New caddisfly species revealed

Of troglobites and troglophiles

Getting to grips with New Zealand Crustacea

Alien worms - frequent international travellers

Marine Invasives Taxonomic Service - 12 months on

New Zealand scientists have contributed to a major milestone in the quest to catalogue all of Earth’s species. The Catalogue of Life, a comprehensive online directory of all known living organisms, has now topped the one million species mark.

Historical landscape influences on the genetic structure of fish and invertebrate populations in some New Zealand streams
Presented at Biodiversity Conservation in Freshwaters,
Fenner Conference on the Environment,
Canberra, July 2001.
K.J. Collier & R.M. Allibone
Understanding factors influencing the genetic structure of populations is important for successful biodiversity conservation.

Info Archive
Publications
Boothroyd, I.K.G. (2000). Biodiversity and biogeography. In: Collier K.J. & Winterbourn, M.J. (eds). New Zealand stream invertebrates: Ecology and implications for management, pp 30-52. New Zealand Limnological Society, Christchurch.
Collier, K.J. (2001). Measuring stream invertebrate biodiversity. Water & Atmosphere 9(3): 14–15.
Collier, K.J. (2001). Stream diversity breaks records. Biodiversity Update 3: 8.
Collier, K.J.; Smith, B.J.; Quinn, J.M.; Scarsbrook, M.R.; Halliday, N.J.; Croker, G.F.; Parkyn, S.M. (2000).

Population structure of Galaxias divergens, a widespread non-migratory galaxias in New Zealand
Presented at Fresh Perspectives, joint conference of NZ Limnological Society,
NZ Hydrological Society and Meteorological Society of NZ,
Christchurch, November 2000.
R.M. Allibone
Galaxias divergens is a small non-migratory galaxiid found in the northern South Island and the southern and central North Island, New Zealand. Genetic and morphological investigations were carried out on 28 populations collected from throughout the species' geographic range.

Freshwater and marine biodiversity information collected by NIWA.

Aquatic plant overview, weed management options & freshwater plant ID guides.
Trophic preferences and range for submerged plant species in NZ lakes.
Publications related to this section.
Definitions of terms used in this section.
Articles about our Freshwater and Estuaries-related specialist analytical services involving resource surveying and information.

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All staff working on this subject

Principal Scientist - Fisheries
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Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology
Principal Scientist - Fisheries
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Marine Invertebrate Systematist
Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology
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Regional Manager - Wellington
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Marine Biologist (Biosecurity)
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Freshwater Ecologist
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Marine Ecology Technician
Principal Technician - Marine Biology
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Marine Biologist
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