• Fantasea Harbour Hike 30th August
    supporting critical marine research at SIMS
  • Banner 6
    New Discovery Centre at SIMS
    Be Swept Away
  • Banner 3
    SIMS, achieving excellence in
    marine research, education and
    community engagement.
  • Banner 2
    Take a look at our new video
    SIMS at work

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

  • Citizen Science through the Decades


    13th August, 6.45 for 7pm, $10 Adult



    The Underwater Research Group (URG) of NSW, one of the oldest dive clubs in Australia, has been focused on marine citizen science since the early 1950s.   In this presentation, URG research office, John Turnbull, well describe how URG is engaging scores of divers to deliver real outcomes for science and the community. 

    Above water – Assoc. Prof Shanua Murray and Dr Olivier Lacska from UTS are enlisting the aid of recreational fishers to gather data that will help determine if toxins are present in Spanish mackerel. But it’s not all for the ‘grown ups’.  Hear from Dr Inke Falkner how the SIMS Beach Detectives program is engaging primary school students in real-life science by contributing to the first microplastic survey of Sydney Harbour beaches. Full details  here. Maiko Nishio 9435 4600, maiko.nishio@sims.org.au



  • Tour SIMS Discovery Centre


    9th September, 6.45 - 8.30, $ 10 adults


    As part of the Mosman Festival come and discover the underwater secrets and explore the marine environment around and beyond our city in a series of interactive displays including a virtual dive through a kelp forest. Find out what our scientists are doing to help preserve these precious natural resources in this brand new exhibition developed by SIMS.

    DSC_0189 Bookings to maiko.nishio@sims.org.au, or  02 9435 4600. Adults $10, Children under 12 $7

  • SIMS Foundation Newsletter June 2015


    The new SIMS Foundation Newsletter has been released!

    Click here for the latest Foundation Newsletter

    We encourage all of you to sign up for Harbour Hike (details in the newsletter) as it will be a great day out on 30th August.

    To have a look at past archives of the Foundation newsletter, click here.

  • 2015 Tony Roach Prize Results


    SIMS and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) are pleased to announce the winner of the 2015 round of the Tony Roach Prize in Marine Environmental Science -  Shawna Foo is honoured to receive the award this year for her paper "Increased temperature, but not acidification, enhances fertilization and development in a tropical urchin: potential for adaptation to a tropicalized eastern Australia".

    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.



  • Marine Matters Issue 21


    The 21st issue of the IMOS newsletter Marine Matters is now available.


    The June edition includes the following stories:

    - Sea level is rising fast – and it seems to be speeding up
    - A fresh new look for the IMOS OceanCurrent website
    - Surprising results as RV Investigator’s first scientific voyage builds on IMOS long-term monitoring of the Southern Ocean
    - The World Heritage listed Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia will be the focus of a new marine research partnership between CSIRO and BHP Billiton Petroleum
    - Darwin Harbour safer for shipping with improved ability to predict conditions
    - NSW floodwaters seen from space and by an IMOS glider
    and more!

  • Mating Giant Australian Cuttlefish


    Giant Australian cuttlefish, Sepia apama, form the only known mass cuttlefish breeding aggregation from May to August each year in South Australia. Thousands of mature individuals converge on a highly localised area of shallow sub-tidal rocky reef at Point Lowly, northern Spencer Gulf to breed.

    The population has an extreme male biased sex ratio of 5:1 during the breeding season, reaching up to 11:1 at the beginning of the season. The intense competition between males has led to the development of impressive and complex mating strategies and displays, characterised with respect to the size and status of individuals.Whyalla-Cuttlefish-Mating5.jpg

  • "Tweating" seals collecting data


    Diving marine animals are proving to be an essential way of collecting oceanographic and ecological data, especially from hard to reach areas such as the ice-bound Polar Regions. Scientists from the SIMS-operated Animal Tracking and Monitoring System, a facility of IMOS, tag seals in the Southern Ocean with animal CTD profilers which are programmed to collect ocean profiles in parallel to biological information when animals dive for food.

    The growing time series of Southern Ocean observations collected by IMOS is already available via the IMOS data portalhttps://imos.aodn.org.au/imos123/.

    IMOS media release_2June2015

    IMG_2558_elephant seal_credit Clive McMahon_SIMS.jpg

  • Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry


    24th June, 12.00pm at SIMS, Dr. Rong Liu


    The Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry is one of the most powerful characterization techniques for materials, chemistry, physics, and biology because of its unique capabilities to provide trace sensitivity and excellent depth and lateral resolution. In particular, it has become an indispensable characterization technique in the fields of material, marine and biological science which require analytical techniques capable of probing small areas and detecting impurities at low concentrations. A succinct review on the basic principles will be given.

    For full abstract see below link.  Please RSVP to sims@sims.org.au

    Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry



  • Pearls in Peril - Climate Change


    Rising acidity of our oceans may affect the process of pearl formation.  We know already that environmental stress can supresses the immune system of oysters, but potentially it might also reduce the amount of crystalline calcium carbonate which the pearl oyster can secrete.  As the acidity of oceans increases as a result of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, pearl oysters may be unable to create pearls.  Fewer layers of crystalline calcium carbonate mean less pearl lustre, vital for production of pearls of high quality.

    Click on the link to read the fascinating research from the University of Western Sydney. Current Research.pearl

  • RV Investigator arrives


    Sydney welcomes the RV Investigator research vessel. 

    Investigator is a 93.9 metre purpose-built research vessel, capable of travelling 60,000 nautical miles in a single voyage, carrying up to 40 scientists and support staff, from the equator to the Antarctic ice-edge. The $120 million ship  will support atmospheric, oceanographic, biological and geoscience research.

    RV investigator P1010138.jpg

  • Sydney Reef Life Survey


    There are more types of fish living in Sydney Harbour than the entire United Kingdom coastline.

    In fact, there are twice as many, so the job of recording every shark, octopus, abalone and penguin in this year’s Reef Life Survey has been a monumental task.

    Sydney Reef Life Survey Co-ordinator John Turnbull said there was a lot more below the surface than abandoned trolleys.

    Read the full article from The Daily Telegraph here


  • IMOS Marine Matters



    Click on the link to read the latest news from IMOS Marine Matters 

    Marine Matters


  • Boat moorings & marine life


    Sydney Harbour boat moorings are impacting seafloor marine life, ABC News Article

    Video survey within a seagrass bed

    Sydney Harbour is home to about 17,000 recreational boat users, amounting to 8 per cent of registered vessels across the state.

    The NSW Government is looking at how to improve boat storage without hurting the environment.

    Researchers from UNSW Researchers from the UNSW and the SIMS have begun intensive surveys of the sea floor at six sites from Manly in Sydney's north, to Watson's Bay in the east. The project is expected to last three years.

    Read the full article 



  • Concrete Coastlines: Time to tackle marine urban spawn


     Urban sprawl has spread to the sea, as more and more man-made structures are being built along the world's coastlines. Just as we do on land, we need to think about how to build sustainably at sea.

    the conversation marine urban sprawl

    Read the full Conversation article, authored by SIMS/UNSW scientists Dr. Kathryn Dafforn, Professor Emma Johnston, Dr. Mariana Mayer-Pinto, and Dr. Joanne Banks from SIMS  here.


  • Great reading in December newsletter


    Take a look at what's happening at SIMS in the latest Foundation Newsletter.

    It's a great way to stay in touch with your Institute.

    SIMS Foundation Newsletter December 2014

    baby seahorses 

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. Project Partners : Abu Dhabi, Australia, Brazil, Greece, Grenada, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, New Zealand, Qingdao, Shanghai, Singapore, Spain, USA


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.