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In this issue: Director's update, News, Research highlights, Webinars

Newsletter June 2020

Director's update

Tēnā koutou katoa

I am delighted by the high level of interest in our Innovation Fund, and the progress of our Blue Economy core projects which now have confirmed projects leaders and are being co-developed with Māori and stakeholders. The continuing decline of our marine ecosystems and financial impact of Covid-19 means that Kiwi ingenuity in the marine space is needed more than ever.

As the country transitions to a new normal we hope that the opportunities to do many things – including marine management – in new and improved ways are capitalised on. An appetite for change requires widespread recognition of issues with the existing system and an understanding of the alternatives, from policy makers through to individual New Zealanders. We therefore develop resources that our co-development partners and researchers can use to help initiate conversations. The latest of these is a visually-stunning animation about EBM and why it is needed. Please feel free to use and share this with your own networks.

As the new Phase II projects get off the ground, we are continuing to generate user-focused outputs from our Phase I research. The monitoring recommendations and ecosystem services maps in this issue will be of use to many of our interest groups, but particularly regional government agencies.

Nāku iti noa, nā

Dr Julie Hall, Challenge Director


EBM animation

We celebrated World Oceans Day (8 June) by releasing a short animation to help raise awareness of the issues facing our coasts and oceans, and the need to manage them differently. We have shared EBM: a remedy for Aotearoa’s oceans via Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram – please like and share with your own networks.

High interest in our Innovation Fund

We received 90 expressions of interest for our Innovation Fund, from 10 universities; 29 separate businesses/industry organisation; 11 Māori businesses, researchers and iwi trusts; 4 Crown Research Institutes; and from independents, NGOs and community groups.The submissions are being reviewed. Please check Innovation Fund 2020 for updates.


Blue economy core projects

Project Leaders for the blue economy core projects are now confirmed, assembling their research teams, and co-developing their project proposals with Māori and stakeholders:
  • Growing tourism in a blue economy – Simon Milne (New Zealand Tourism Research Institute) & Chris Rosin (Lincoln University)
  • Building a blue economy sector – seaweed – Robin Mitchell (Envirostrat) & Serean Adams (Cawthron Institute)
  • Encouraging restorative economies in New Zealand marine spaces – Nigel Bradly (Envirostrat) & Drew Lohrer (NIWA)
  • Indigenising the blue economy in Aotearoa – John Reid & Jason Mika

PhD scholarships at UoW

We’re looking for the next generation of marine researchers interested in working at the interface of indigenous ecological knowledge and western science. We're supporting 6 PhD scholarships in marine ecosystem science at University of Waikato. The scholarships align with core projects from our Tangaroa, Degradation & recovery and Risk & uncertainty research themes. Find out more

VM Leadership group

Jason Mika is the latest member to join our VM Leadership Group, which provides support and advice for implementing Vision Mātauranga (VM) into our research. Linda Faulkner (Manahautū/Deputy Director Māori) and Beth Tupara-Katene (Tangaroa Lead) head the group, whose members are Māori project leaders from across the Challenge: Kura Paul-Burke, Shaun Awatere, Lara Taylor, Ngarangi Walker and Jason Mika. Find out more

Research highlights

Recommendations for robust monitoring of tipping points

Environmental monitoring is critical to detect changes so that we know the early warning signs of when a tipping point is being approached, and to increase the certainty that a tipping point has occurred.

New guidance from the Tipping points team, Monitoring for tipping points in the marine environment, summarises the critical factors to consider, and the recommended data required, for a robust monitoring programme. The guidance also describes alternatives if existing data sets do not meet these recommendations.

Ecosystem services maps: Hauraki Gulf and Te Tau Ihu/Top of the South

Our coasts and oceans provide many critical ecosystem services. The Measuring ecosystem services project has produced maps for two particularly valuable ecosystem services: the removal of nutrient pollutants and the provision of biogenic (produced by living organisms) nursery areas for juvenile marine fish and invertebrates. These biogenic refuge habitats include kelp forests, sponge gardens and tubeworm mounds. 

These maps are particularly useful for regional government agencies seeking to identify marine ‘hotspots’ of ecosystem service delivery that require protection.
  • Biogenic habitat provision: Hauraki Gulf – This map shows where refuge habitats are predicted to be found. Download map
  • Biogenic habitat provision: Te Tau Ihu/Top of the South – This map shows where refuge habitats in Tasman Bay, Golden Bay and Marlborough Sounds are predicted to be found. Download map
  • Biogenic habitat provision: Queen Charlotte Sound – This map shows where refuge habitats are predicted to be found. Download map
  • Denitrification potential: Whitford estuary – This map shows areas where natural nitrogen removal by soft-sediment seabed is predicted to be high. Download map

Interview with: Josie Crawshaw

Dr Josie Crawshaw is an Environmental Scientist at Bay of Plenty Regional Council, with a focus on marine ecology. She is helping co-develop the new ‘Ecological responses to cumulative effects’ project led by Simon Thrush and Kura Paul-Burke, and was previously involved with the ‘Tipping points’ project in as a PhD student. 

“I wanted to co-develop the Ecological responses project for many reasons. Firstly, because it’s building on the Tipping Points work and I wanted to keep seeing that through. Tauranga was one of the TP sites, so I am keen to keep related research in this area. As a co-developer, the Council provides in-kind cofunding and can expand on the Sustainable Seas research through our own work, as well as provide opportunities for students.

I’m also excited to work with Kura Paul-Burke who has done a lot of fascinating Bay of Plenty Regional Council-funded research that is driven by the local iwi and hāpu, working through the Ōhiwa Harbour Implementation Forum on starfish predation and mussel restoration dynamics.

The timing of this new Ecological responses project is excellent for the Council – we are in the early stages of implementing the Motiti Protection Areas, so it’s perfect timing to incorporate findings from different aspects Sustainable Seas research into our giant experiment. For example, I was recently out using drones to survey kelp and kina populations in the protection areas – the Defining rocky reef tipping points in Kaikōura project gave us confidence that drones can be used to effectively survey and monitor shallow coastal areas.

>> Read the full interview here

Recent activities

Project leader workshop

Ensuring that research from individual research projects is properly integrated into the overarching Challenge objective, and that VM is threaded across all our work, are high priorities so we recently held a workshop that brought together our project leaders to help:
  • Build working relationships between project leaders within and across themes
  • Build common understanding of the Challenge objective, and our long-term goals
  • Consider Treaty implications and maximising VM opportunities

Holistic governance – from the mountains to the sea

When research and management only focus on components, the connections across places and world views become less visible, making holistic governance less likely. Alison Greenaway and Lara Taylor discussed the Enabling EBM narratives project and how sharing narratives of holistic governance helps to create alignment and keep visible the integrative efforts across Aotearoa New Zealand. Watch the recording

Webinars at 1pm

We have two upcoming webinars: one about the trials of testing the resilience of deep-sea species and another about to mapping the benefits of marine ecosystems. All our webinars are open to everyone and are free of charge. Registration via Zoom is essential, sign up below:

15 July – Mapping the provision of ecosystem services

Drew Lohrer (NIWA) will discuss measuring and mapping marine ecosystem services (the benefits humans receive from nature) that deliver benefits to society in the Hauraki Gulf, Marlborough Sounds, and elsewhere. Drew and his research team predicted, mapped and validated variation in the amount of refuge habitat; and developed tools to measure and map nitrogen removal. This webinar will be of particular interest to marine managers, local government, marine conservation groups, decision-makers, and marine aquaculture.

27 August – Sea-floor species health and survival to underwater 'sediment clouds'

Malcolm Clark (NIWA) and his team will discuss the results and challenges of their research into the health and survival of two sea-floor species, dog cockles and a common sponge, to suspended sediment levels that could arise from human activities. This webinar will be of particular interest to marine managers, local government, marine conservation groups, decision-makers, and marine businesses.
In case you missed it...

Webinar recording: Art is a powerful way to communicate science
Gabby O'Connor, Carolyn Lundquist and Joe O'Callaghan discussed outcomes from The Unseen, an art-science-education research project that investigated ways to communicate risk and uncertainty in marine science. 

Upcoming events

25–27 November 2020 – Special session: NZGS conference

Organised by Karen Fisher and Hamish Rennie, the topic of this session is Marine spatial planning: ecosystem-based management, indigenous and local community empowerment?
The conference will be run in a hybrid format: partly face-to-face and partly online. Registration costs are being revised to reflect this. Costs will likely range from $100-400, with different scales to reflect online vs face-to-face participation, student prices and NZGS membership. Follow the NZGS conference Facebook event page for updates.
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