• Art-Science Outreach
    Operation Crayweed
    2016 Sculpture by the Sea
  • Discovery
    New Discovery Centre at SIMS
    You'll love it!
    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

  • Newsletter December 2016


    Here is our latest newsletter. We hope you enjoy the read. Very best wishes for the festive season.

    crayweed_2016_launchTC_ 184

    SIMS Foundation Newsletter December 2016

  • ARC Success




    Associate Professor Thomas Wernberg; Dr Adriana Verges; Professor Peter Steinberg

    This project aims to understand the mechanisms behind climate-mediated declines in kelp. Ocean warming causes the collapse of valuable temperate kelp forests globally and on both sides of Australia, but it is unknown if this is because of direct physiological effects from temperature or the indirect effects of changes in species interactions. This project will compare the direct effects of marine heatwaves to the indirect effects of range-shifting tropical herbivores and pathogens for the kelp forests of the Great Southern Reef, one of Australia’s largest coastal ecosystems. This project will generate knowledge underpinning adaptation strategies for these critical ecosystems, and could enhance the capacity to respond

  • ARC Success - UNSW




    Dr Mark Brown; Dr Justin Seymour; Dr Martin Ostrowski; Professor Jed Fuhrman; Assistant Professor Naomi Levine; Professor Robert Edwards; Dr Levente Bodrossy

    This project aims to unveil the ocean’s hidden sentinels, “keystone microbes” that underpin precious ecosystem services, and which can be used to monitor and model changes in ocean function. Marine microbes account for 90 per cent of oceanic biomass and every litre of seawater contains ~20,000 different species, but it is not known which species control ocean health and productivity. This project intends to provide definitive evidence of these keystones’ cellular level biogeochemical and metabolic capacity. Ultimately, this knowledge is expected to predict the resilience of ocean ecosystems and their response to change. The capacity to predict their dynamics will help provide investment clarity and increase healthy outcomes from activities involving human-ocean interactions such as recreation, food production and tourism.

  • ARC Success - Macquarie University




    Dr Leanne Armand; Professor Simon George; Professor Simon Belt; Dr Philip Heraud; Professor Chris Bowler; Professor John Beardall

    This project aims to understand seasonal Antarctic sea-ice extent using molecular, geochemical, elemental and genomic characteristics of specific marine phytoplankton (diatoms). Little is known of the seasonal sea-ice variation and the position of the summer sea-ice extent a million years before satellite records, but this information is critical to determining air-sea gas exchange and ecosystem food web regulation. This project will unite geochemical and biological approaches to provide the data to improve past Antarctic ecosystem and climate models where sea-ice data is missing. Studying diatom biomarkers in deep sea cores from Australia’s Southern Ocean will redefine knowledge of Antarctic climate and provide data necessary to improve global ecosystem and climate models.

  • 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


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.