• Art-Science Outreach
    Operation Crayweed
    2016 Sculpture by the Sea
  • Discovery
    New Discovery Centre at SIMS
    You'll love it! (Bookings essential)
    Organise your visit
  • Excellence
    SIMS, achieving excellence in
    marine research, education and
    community engagement.
  • SIMS video
    SIMS at work.
    Take a look at our video

Research themes

  • Urbanisation


    Sydney Harbour is Australia's largest, and most iconic, urbanised estuary. This makes SIMS an ideal place from which to understand, and help manage the pressures of urbanisation on the harbour and coastal ecosystems.

  • Biodiversity


    Sydney Harbour is one of the most biologically diverse harbours in the world. SIMS scientists are using both traditional and modern molecular techniques to expand our knowledge of this immense biodiversity.

  • Climate Change

    Climate Change

    The oceanography of the east coast of Australia is dominated by the East Australian Current. This current is increasing in strength making South-East Australia a global hot spot for climate change. SIMS is ideally placed for studying the causes and impacts of climate change in marine systems.

  • Ocean Resources

    Ocean Resources

    The ocean provides a wealth of resources for our use. SIMS scientists' research on the sustainable use of ocean resources is comparably broad, ranging from studies of the molecular mode of action of potential new pharmaceuticals to enhancing fish and prawn stocks along our coast.

  • Marine Management

    Marine Management

    From exploitation of key fisheries to conservation of endangered species, marine management relies on science to inform policy decisions. SIMS research is playing a critical role in managing our marine environment.

Bulletin board

  • Mosman High/Singapore student web chat


    World Harbour Project (WHP) partner, Serena Teo from Singapore, invited the WHP Education Workgroup to run a live webchat between Mosman High students in Sydney and students attending the Sunburst Environment Program (SEP) in Singapore. This program is part of STEP , which brings together 150 young people from Singapore and ASEAN, India, China & Japan. Climate Change is the over-riding "umbrella" theme. This year the theme was Pollution. image mosman high web seminar Students from the Mosman High Enviro Group were able to present their research on protecting Sydney’s unique and endangered penguin colony from pollution and invasive foxes. Both sides had worked on plastic pollution and shared the commonalities and differences of this pervasive pollutant in their local area.

  • PhD Scholarship Restoring Ecosystems on Temperate Rocky Reefs


    The PhD will focus on the ecosystem values of restored subtidal temperate reef habitats. The project will test methods for restoring temperate reefs in Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne; habitats of interest are kelp forests and oyster reefs. It will quantify the effectiveness of these restored habitats for a number of ecosystem services and address some of the gaps in nature-based coastal defence research. The candidate will work closely with a number of stakeholders to produce applied research for coastal management and climate change adaptation. The student will be based at The University of Melbourne

    NCCC PhD

  • Underwater video reveals culprits behind disappearance of NSW kelp forests


    Seaweed-eating fish are becoming increasingly voracious as the ocean warms due to climate change and are responsible for the recent destruction of kelp forests off the NSW north coast near Coffs Harbour, research shows.

    “Kelp forests provide vital habitat for hundreds of marine species, including fish, lobster and abalone” says study first author Dr Adriana Vergés of UNSW and SIMS. “As a result of climate change, warm-water fish species are shifting their range and invading temperate areas. Our results show that overgrazing by these fish can have a profound impact, leading to kelp deforestation and barren reefs.

    Media release re Disappearance of NSW kelp forests Final

  • Shallow Reefs off Singapore survive in the face of adversity


    An analysis of the health of highly impacted coral reefs off Singapore during a 27-year long period has shown they are more resilient to the impacts of human activity and warming than expected. The study by the team, which includes researchers from UNSW and SIMS, the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, and Singapore’s National Parks Board, is published in the journal Scientific Reports. Study senior author Professor Peter Steinberg from UNSW / Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS) adds: “This is by no means a cause for complacency regarding the state of our reefs, but rather highlights that if we can reduce local stressors, reefs are more likely to be able to rebound from the effects of global stressors such as climate change.”


  • Redhead residents - Installation of oceanographic antennae


    SIMS was awarded funding from the NSW government, under the Research Attraction and Acceleration Program (RAAP), to install a system of ocean monitoring antennae off the Port Stephens area that will provide ocean currents every hour, out to 200 km offshore. These surface currents will be displayed in real time on the web for everyone to access. The ocean east of Redhead is a key area for eastern Australia and its population, where the warm East Australian Current moves offshore and forms a complex region of ocean eddies, which are so important for the local ecosystem. The attached letter provides information for Redhead residents in respect to the installation Redhead Neighbourhood Letter

  • Art- Science Outreach - Operation Crayweed


    Sculpture by the Sea, 20 October - 6 November


    An art installation celebrating a scientific project to replant forests of seaweed that disappeared from the Sydney coastline in the 1980s is a feature of this year’s Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi. Operation Crayweed Art-Work-Site is an exciting collaboration between artists Jennifer Turpin and Michaelie Crawford, of Turpin + Crawford Studio, and marine scientists from the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS) and UNSW who are carrying out the crayweed reforestation project. As part of the project, students from nearby schools participated in a series of science and art workshops to learn about crayweed and to make wearable sculptures based on the rich diversity of marine animals that will inhabit the transplanted seaweed forests.

    Crayweed Sculpture by the Sea

  • PHD Projects: Green Engineering of Urbanised Harbours


    The World Harbour Project team are looking for two PhD students to contribute to the Green Engineering Working Group.Our purpose is to develop ecologically sustainable solutions for urbanised coastlines, using the concepts of green design. For all the details see http://www.worldharbourproject.org/phd-ge-urbanised-harbours/

  • Operation Crayweed Sculpture by the Sea


    Operation Crayweed recently visited students at Clovelly, Coogee and Rainbow Street schools to spread the word about their crayweed restoration project. The students will get the chance to display their wearable marine life artworks as part of the upcoming Sculpture by the Sea at Tamarama on , be sure to head down and check it out!

    Read full article here http://newslocal.newspaperdirect.com/epaper/viewer.aspx?noredirect=true

  • Shark-pups - mini mysteries


    Mosman Daily, October 2016


    Port Jackson research project at SIMS was recently featured in a Mosman Daily article. Read all about it below

    baby port jackson at SIMSSharks PDF Mosman Daily October 2016

  • SIMS Foundation Newsletter August 2016


    Read all the news from SIMS in the August 2016 Foundation Newsletter

    SIMS Foundation Newsletter 2016-08 high res
  • IMOS Bulletin


    Catch up on all the news from IMOS at IMOS Bulletin

  • Marine Matters Newsletter


    Great reading in the current Marine Matters issue.  Don't miss the article on the tracking of wobbegongs through the SIMS managed IMOS  animal tracking system.





  • Why some corals are better at avoiding bleaching than others


    Business Insider, June 2016


    The study is published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution.  “For the first time, we have uncovered the mechanism that explains why some algae can withstand higher temperatures and avoid bleaching,” says study first author and University of NSW PhD student Rachel Levin.  The research team includes professor Peter Steinberg, director of the Sydney Institute of Marine Science, and Professor Madeleine van Oppen of the Australian Institute of Marine Science and the University of Melbourne.

    Read the fascinating article herehttp://www.businessinsider.com.au/science-has-found-out-why-some-corals-are-better-at-avoiding-bleaching-2016-6

  • Seeking Shell-ter from storm


    Mosman Daily, June 2016


    Oysters are taking part in a science project in the waters of Sydney Harbour.

    Specifically designed tiles have been fitted to the seawall at Waverton to provide homes for the shelled creatures.

    Read the full article hereOysters Mosman Daily June 2016

  • 2016 Tony Roach Winner


    SIMS and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) are pleased to announce the winner of the 2016 round of the Tony Roach Prize in Marine Environmental Science -  Dr James Hitchock is honoured to receive the award this year for his paper " After the flood: changing dissolved organic carbon bioavailability and bacterial growth following inflows to estuaries".

    The prize is in memory of Dr. Tony Roach and his long career and contributions to marine science in New South Wales, and is awarded to the best paper by a young scientist on any aspect of marine or estuarine environmental science.

Long Term Projects

World Harbour Project

Initiated by SIMS, the aim of the World Harbour Project is to link, facilitate and enhance programs of research and management across major urban harbours and ports of the world.


SIMS operates the NSW node of the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS). IMOS is a nation-wide collaborative program which uses the latest advances in technology to observe the oceans. The program has strong links with similar international programs and agencies.

Sydney Harbour Research Program

SIMS is conducting a multidisciplinary research project. The objectives are to identify, preserve and enhance the resilience of those species and habitats in Sydney Harbour that have high ecosystem and conservation value, and to enhance the capacity of relevant government departments to make key management decisions regarding the Harbour.

OEH Coastal Processes and Responses Node

The NSW Office Of Environment and Heritage (OEH) has established the NSW Adaptation Hub to generate the key information necessary to manage the consequences of environmental change in NSW. There are three research Nodes within the Hub, and SIMS manages the Coastal Processes and Responses Node.