Interactive tools for enabling participation and knowledge exchange

This research is at the boundary of science and society, developing internet-based applications that will enable Māori, stakeholders and the wider public to participate, interact with and use some of the tools and knowledge that we generate.

Project leader: Ross Vennell, Cawthron Institute

Participatory tools: 'there’s an app for that'

We are developing a decision support tool that enables Māori and stakeholders to interact with the scientific findings of the Atlantis ecosystem model (part of the Ecosystem models project).

Atlantis uses Tasman and Golden Bays as one of its case studies and mimics how groups of marine organisms interact with each other, their physical environment and humans. For example, how shellfish populations might change in response to changes in the way we manage this fishery and other marine-related activities. We are distilling the complexity of the Atlantis model into an online application, which stakeholders and managers will be able to use to see how different management strategies affect the productivity and quality of their marine environment. The application uses a ‘Bayesian Network’ (a statistical model that can be used to explore the likelihood of different outcomes as a result of changes in multiple variables) to connect changes in environmental management strategies with a range of cultural, environmental and economic outcomes. This approach will enable Māori and stakeholders to engage with both the complex environmental system of Tasman and Golden Bays and our science.

We are also developing an interactive online tool to track how plastics move around New Zealand’s oceans.     Users of the tool will be able to use an online map to “drop” plastic into the sea and follow where the ocean currents take that plastic.   The tool will use data about the movement of tiny plastic particles in Cook Strait and Tasman-Golden Bays.  The tool could be used to analyse the probability of invasive species moving from one area to another.  It could also be used to model how plastic in our seas is distributed on coastlines around New Zealand.

One of the early findings of our research is that plastic from the Tasman Bay region is very likely to end up on Kapiti coast after 15 days, with some passing through Cook Strait and reaching the Wairarapa Coast in 20 days. However, the reverse is very unlikely, i.e. it is very rare for plastic go from Kapiti Coast to Tasman Bay.

Latest news and updates

Award recognises contribution to marine science

University of Waikato scientist Professor Conrad Pilditch is the 2018 winner of the New Zealand Marine Sciences Society Award. The Award recognises his continued and outstanding contribution to marine science in New Zealand.

Sustainable Seas features on Ocean Bounty S2 EP7

Sir Rob Fenwick,  our Chairman was interviewed about Sustainable Seas on S2 EP7 of Ocean Bounty. You can watch it here on TV 3 on demand.  (6.57 to 11.20).  

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.