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News and events

DOC calling for sightings after University of Otago field trip discovers entangled whale

Friday, 29 March 2019 4:05pm

A group of staff and students from the University of Otago encountered an entangled humpback whale off the Otago coast on Thursday afternoon (28th March). The group was on a postgraduate field trip making observations of seabirds and marine mammals when they spotted the whale approximately 10 kilometres east of Karitane.

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Study proves importance of bird poo in enhancing coral growth

Friday, 15 March 2019 9:50am

A University of Otago study has shown the positive impact bird poo, or guano, has on coral growth in tropical seas.

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Marine Science releases Life Between the Tides poster

Tuesday, 5 March 2019 4:51pm

A species-packed watercolour poster illustrating the strange and amazing marine animals and plants found on the rocky shore and hiding in rock pools at low tide has been released by the  University's New Zealand Marine Studies Centre (NZMSC).

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Glimpse of the future of the south from last summer’s heatwave

Tuesday, 29 January 2019 8:51am

Fish normally seen in sub-tropical waters arrived; the kelp that provides habitat for other fish and marine species died off; farmed salmon failed to thrive – even surfers could wear board shorts instead of wetsuits.

Colossal Squid Dissection

Next week our student Tyler Northern will be helping to dissect a Colossal squid with NIWA at Te Papa (the second specimen ever found intact!),
The dissection will take place at 11am on Tuesday the 16th of September and will be streamed live on this link :
Te Papa also have a blog with more details on the dissection :

International Progammes

Invasive Bryozoan and Ascidian Recruitment and Growth Experiment – iBARGE

Otago researchers join international study examining the fouling communities of ports and harbours.

Department of Marine Science researchers have joined iBARGE, the Invasive Bryozoan and Ascidian Recruitment and Growth Experiment. iBARGE aims to examine the richness and growth rates of fouling communities, groups of marine organisms that grow on the undersides of boats, docks, and aquaculture equipment. In many locations, fouling communities are dominated by invasive species which can overgrow native species including commercially important organisms like oysters and mussels. The iBARGE program compares the growth rates of invasive species between locations on three different continents (the east and west coasts of North America, the UK, and NZ), using photographs taken on a weekly basis. Settlement panels – PVC squares – have been deployed in the northern hemisphere’s spring and summer and were deployed this week in Otago Harbour for the austral spring and summer. Analysis of the data collected will allow scientists to understand how growth rates vary with water temperature and location.

Read more and see examples of the fouling community at