Spatially-explicit decision support tools

A variety of marine animals are being used to investigate seafloor disturbance and recovery from physical stressors

The aim of this project is to develop a framework that helps us decide how to best share marine space. We are using spatial data (data with geographical coordinates) to model trade-offs between different resource uses, objectives, and Māori and stakeholder values, and their impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem health.

Project leader: Carolyn Lundquist, NIWA/University of Auckland

Helping decide how to best share marine space

We are developing spatially-explicit decision support tools to inform decisionmaking. These are models that use spatial data (data that have geographical coordinates) to investigate trade-offs between different resource uses, objectives, and Māori and stakeholder values, and their impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem health.

Because there are many different types of models, we are finding out which models work best in a New Zealand context. We are developing techniques that evaluate whether the uncertainty associated with different representations of data – from the biological (living) and physical (non-living) parts of an ecosystem and socio-cultural values – affect model outcomes, which is a key challenge in largescale management of the marine environment.

We are developing models to examine the cumulative impacts of multiple stressors, such as fishing, mineral extraction and sedimentation, on different marine animals in Tasman and Golden Bays (see images). These models will consider the effects at multiple scales and amount of disturbance.

We are developing these tools with involvement from key policy and management people in government, Māori, and community and stakeholder organisations to ensure they are ‘fit for purpose’ and fully integrated and tested within existing management systems.

Latest news and updates

Consultation opens re 2019–2024 strategy

Improving marine management is critical to New Zealand's future health and wealth, but research in isolation is not enough. Excellent engagement with, and participation from, all users and sectors of society is essential.

We therefore invite comment on our draft strategy for Phase II (2019–2024). This strategy has been co-developed with Māori and stakeholders.

Sun, sea, sand – and marine science

During Seaweek, more than 4,600 school pupils joined 6 Sustainable Seas researchers for 3 days of marine science fieldwork in Tasman Bay, as part of the LEARNZ virtual field trip Sustainable seas – essential for New Zealand’s health and wealth.

Tipping Points on Radio NZ

Tune in to tonight’s episode of Our Changing World (after the 9pm news) for an excellent in-depth piece that gets into the detail of what the Tipping Points project is investigating, and why.