GeoHazards cover story
Our article on the impacts of sea-level change was unexpectedly chosen as the cover story for the latest issue of GeoHazards, check it out here!
Relationship between sea-level change and loss of seaweed on a rocky shore
In this paper recent published in GeoHazards we evaluated the relationship between sea-level change and the severity of impacts in the major habitat-forming seaweed beds that sustain life on rocky shores. Check out the open access paper here: Threshold effects of relative sea-level change in intertidal ecosystems The 7.8 Mw Kaikōura earthquake affected a large section of the South Island’s east coast and led to a major re-assembly of ecological communities and coastal resource use. To understand the drivers of change and recovery in nearshore ecosystems, we quantified the variation in sea-level… Read More
New Report on beach recovery in Marlborough
A new report covers some of our ongoing disaster recovery work on the Kaikōura and Marlborough coasts. It responds to a request from Marlborough District Council (MDC) for information on the coastal environment, with a particular focus on supporting the development of a bylaw to address changes in recreational use patterns that have occurred since the Kaikōura earthquake. In the report, we present a selection of information from our earthquake recovery research that has a focus on understanding the impacts and ongoing processes of change. Major impacts of the natural disaster are associated… Read More
Remote sensing coastal recovery using drones
Over the last summer our drone survey team was busy optimising methods for measuring change in the coastal environment change. We now have a comprehensive set of 3D models and imagery from 30+ field sites. Advantages of drone technologies include the ability to cover more ground and a greater range of habitats than we can manage in ground-based surveys alone, yet the resolution of these methods is impressive. Each model covers several hundred metres of coast and the size of each pixel is < 1 cm on the ground! We are using… Read More
How much of the coast was uplifted by how much?
Although Covid19 set back some of our planned fieldwork, we put the lockdown period to good use to characterise some of the core earthquake impacts on the coast. One key questions is ‘how much of the coast was uplifted and by how much?’. Knowing this helps us to extrapolate the results from small-scale field surveys to the wider coast, which in turn is the best method for gauging the extent of impacts and how the recovery is looking overall. Being able to report the results as the ‘length of coastline’ affected is… Read More
Kelp and seaweed recovery
In the summer of 2019 NIWA and the University of Canterbury completed aerial drone surveys of many sites along the Kaikōura coast to examine the survival of vulnerable kelp species such as bull kelp (Durvillaea spp). This included testing the relative accuracy of readily available “RGB” cameras, and enhanced spectral cameras (multispectral cameras). This research revealed that both RGB and multispectral cameras can be used effectively for mapping broad scale distribution of marine vegetation (i.e., kelp), but multispectral cameras can be used to examine species biodiversity at higher taxonomic resolution. NIWA and… Read More
Beach birds: mapping hotspots for banded dotterels
Our beach birds study got underway this year on the uplifted Marlborough and Kaikōura coast beaches. In early December we completed a baseline survey of where Banded Dotterel nesting grounds are found, all the way from Oaro in the south to Marfells Beach in the north. That was a lot of walking for our team of three! The beach birds study aims to identify the most important nesting locations and assess interactions with human activities along the earthquake-affected coast. Knowledge of these sites fills a gap for coastal planning, especially where the… Read More
Overview of earthquake impacts
Initial Impacts Soon after the earthquake MERG began re-surveying our long-term research sites that span the coast. Many of these sites have been monitored for over 20 years. These surveys gave us a good understanding of the immediate impacts on coastal habitats and species. This work also provided a great foundation for our post-earthquake research. The following sections provide a snapshot of some important changes that resulted from the Kaikōura earthquake. Coastal fishes & invertebrates By chance, the earthquake happened to coincide with a high tide. This meant increased devastation to marine… Read More
What is RECOVER?
RECOVER is collecting data on recovery of the natural environment with a focus on the short to mid-term prospects for key species and habitats along the coast. We are particularly interested in understanding the nature of earthquake impacts, detecting barriers to a full recovery, and investigating how long it might take. Why?RECOVER is aimed at helping the coastal environment return to a ‘new-normal’ following the earthquakes. As we already know the earthquakes have caused massive changes, RECOVER focuses more on what happens next. Some main themes of the project include predicting the… Read More