Human waste, pollution, sediments and plastics in urban areas are often discharged from rivers into the ocean along our coast. Even estuaries in pristine areas release carbon and nutrients into the coastal zone.
Ocean monitoring helps us keep track of changes in the coastal environment and support healthy coastal communities, ecosystems and businesses.
We sample ocean water and sediments over the NSW continental shelf using conductivity-temperature-depth profilers, closing-bottle samplers, sediment grabs/corers and specialised plankton nets. These samples help us:
- understand the amount and distribution of nutrients and pollution associated with events such as floods
- monitor change by repeating sampling over time
- understand how organisms at the base of the food chain, such as microscopic phytoplankton, zooplankton and larval fish, change in response to season, climate and human-induced pressures.
We also measure some parameters remotely, such as sediment in water, by analysing images from satellites.