New term, new NZ marine science resources

Mussel beds at Tonga Island

School pupils can now explore a real-world issue facing New Zealand – how to best manage our vast marine resources – thanks to a collaboration between the Sustainable Seas Challenge and Science Learning Hub.

Marine ecosystems are critical to Kiwis’ health and wealth. There is increasing recognition that we need to change the way we manage marine resources if we are to sustainably develop our marine economy while protecting the taonga of our marine environment.

Ecosystem-based management (EBM) – a holistic and inclusive way to manage our marine environments and the competing uses for, demands on, and ways New Zealanders value them – is a way to do things better. Sustainable Seas is developing EBM knowledge and tools will help marine resource managers, Māori, industry and communities to assess the effect that developing an opportunity will have on the marine ecosystem, other marine activities, our values and our cultural connection to the marine environment.

Julie Hall, Director of Sustainable Seas, said: “EBM is a complex concept, and the Science Learning Hub has done a great job of making it accessible. Many iwi and local communities are already engaged with what’s happening in their local marine spaces but for EBM to be successful we need better ways for them and other interested parties to participate in decision-making, so we believe it’s important to share what we’re doing and why. It makes sense to raise awareness with young people – not only is this a big issue affecting their future, they talk to their friends and whānau about what they’re learning.”

Andrea Soanes, the Science Learning Hub’s Project Leader, said: "The Science Learning Hub is excited to be working with Sustainable Seas. It is important to tie real-world issues to the NZ Curriculum, and this work dovetails nicely with modern contextual teaching and learning. This collaboration has obvious benefits both the research and education sectors. We value Sustainable Seas’s recognition of our team’s expertise and the Challenge’s ability to use the collaboration to its full advantage.”

EBM is the first many topics to be based on the Challenge’s cutting-edge research. The resources are freely available at:

Future topics will include coastal and marine tipping points; Kiwis’ social, cultural and spiritual values for the marine environment; mātauranga Māori; ecosystem services; modelling ecosystems; measuring marine biodiversity with eDNA and genetic barcoding techniques; and more.