Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Scientists survey vulnerable marine ecosystems

Scientists survey vulnerable marine ecosystems

NIWA’s flagship research vessel Tangaroa has returned from a five-week voyage to the Louisville Seamount Chain after completing an extensive biological survey of this rarely sampled area.

The voyage was one of the first of its kind aimed at giving scientists a better understanding about marine ecosystems vulnerable to commercial fishing in the region.

The main goal of the voyage was to verify the models developed by scientists that predict the whereabouts of various sea animals that indicate the presence of a vulnerable marine ecosystem.

Voyage leader and NIWA Principal Scientist Malcolm Clark said this “ground-truthing” provided confidence that the models can be used for management of fishing industry practices to mitigate the impacts of bottom trawling on the seamounts.

The Louisville Seamount Chain is about 1000km northeast of New Zealand and extends more than 4000km through the western South Pacific.

Dr Clark said a combination of techniques such as detailed mapping, towed cameras to take photographs of the seafloor, and sampling some of the animals proved very effective.

“We had to be adaptable during the survey, as the size and shape of the seamounts differed from expected, as did the location of the animals.”

Dense patches of live stony corals were quite localised, not on the summits as is common with many seamounts around New Zealand, but on the hard and steep flanks and ridges down the side of the seamounts. They were also much deeper than expected, Dr Clark said.

Samples of some animals were captured using small seafloor sleds. These included about 80 species of invertebrate and fish.

“These specimens will be used to improve our knowledge of deep-sea biodiversity in the region, to study the genetic connectivity of populations on the seamounts, and to understand the associations between corals and the animals like brittlestars that live on them,” Dr Clark said.

Some live corals were also recovered that will be analysed at NIWA in Wellington to determine the effect of ocean acidification on coral growth and survival.

Data from the survey will be used to refine the scientific models and improve the confidence of fishery managers that the maps correctly predict the distribution of vulnerable marine ecosystems when they are designing protective measures.

Dr Ashley Rowden, Principal Scientist at NIWA and the project leader, said "The survey is one of the first to ground-truth large-scale models of habitat suitability for fishery management purposes, and represents an important contribution by New Zealand to improving the techniques that are now being used to protect marine ecosystems worldwide."

The survey is part of a three-year research project on the vulnerable marine ecosystems of the South Pacific funded by NIWA, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

The study involves US-based scientists under a bilateral agreement to improve scientific and technical collaboration between NZ and the US. Scientists from Australia are also involved in the project.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Interest Rates: RBNZ Hikes OCR To 3.5%, ‘Period Of Assessment’ Now Needed

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler raised the official cash rate as expected, while signalling a pause in rate hikes to assess the impact of moves so far this year. The kiwi dollar sank after Wheeler said its strength was “unjustified” and that the currency could have “a significant fall.” More>>

ALSO:

Fonterra: Canpac Site 'Resize' To Focus More On Paediatrics

Fonterra is looking at realigning its packing operations at Canpac, in the Waikato, to focus more on paediatric nutritionals... The proposed changes could mean around 110 roles may not be required at the site which currently employs 330. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Postie Plus Brand Gets 2nd Chance With Well-Funded Pepkor

The Postie Plus brand is getting a new lease of life after South Africa’s Pepkor bought the failed retailer’s assets out of administration and said it will use its purchasing power to reduce costs of stock and fatten margins. More>>

ALSO:

Warming: Warming Signs From State Of Climate Report

Climate data from air, land, sea and ice in 2013 'reflect trends of a warming planet' -- says the latest State of the Climate report, launched by U.S. and New Zealand scientists. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Embrace Falling Home Affordability, Says NZIER

Despair over the inability to afford a house is misplaced and should be embraced as an opportunity to invest in more wealth-creating activity, says the principal economist at the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, Shamubeel Eaqub. More>>

Productivity Commission: NZ Regulation Not Keeping Pace

New Zealand regulators often have to work with out-of-date legislation, quality checks are under strain, and regulatory workers need better training and development. More>>

ALSO:

Callaghan Innovation: Investment To Help Deepen Innovation Reporting

Callaghan Innovation, the government’s high tech HQ for Kiwi business, is to help deepen New Zealand media coverage of the commercialisation of innovation through an arms-length partnership with independent business news service BusinessDesk. More>>

ALSO:

Tax Credits, Grants: Greens $1Bn R&D Plan

In the Party’s headline economic announcement, the Greens have launched their plan to build a smarter, more innovative economy which has as its centrepiece an additional $1 billion of government investment in research and development (R&D) above current spend, including tax breaks for business. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus

Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news