Coastal and marine research and monitoring

As well as the home of our rich and unique marine biodiversity, the coastal and marine environments of NSW are hubs for recreation and leisure and centres of community and commerce.

Bateau Bay picnic area, Wyrrabalong National ParkThe NSW marine estate spans from the coastal ocean and offshore islands to the landward limits of estuaries and coastal wetlands. The estate includes 755 beaches along 1500km of ocean coastline, 8100 km2 of seafloor, 184 estuaries and coastal lakes with 6500km of estuarine foreshores.

Sustainable coastal and marine environments

To facilitate the sustainable management of NSW coastal and marine environments for all users, we carry out research and monitoring across the NSW marine estate, in collaboration with our university partners, government agencies and the community.

The inaccessible nature of many coastal and marine environments is an enduring challenge. We use advanced facilities and remote sensing to map coastal and seafloor terrain, and sample ocean and seabed characteristics. The organisation operates a range of vessels including RV Bombora, which provide platforms for research in coastal ocean to estuarine settings.

Coastal sea floor mapping

Our coastal and marine scientists are currently working to map the coastal seafloor and marine habitats throughout NSW. The new data will improve our understanding of connectivity between coastal (beaches, estuaries) and marine environments, enabling improved approaches to managing and predicting the impacts of human activities, severe storms and climate change.

Oceans, coasts, estuaries and beaches

Current research programs also include nearshore wave modelling and prediction for the entire coast, ocean and estuarine monitoring of water quality and plankton and more recently plastics, surveying and monitoring of changes in bathymetry (depths) of beaches and estuaries. This research is undertaken in collaboration with NSW government agencies, including NSW Department of Primary Industries, Marine Estate Management Authority, Commonwealth agencies as well as partner universities and private industry.