• Our Harbour Our Asset
    Overview of economic activities
    & values of Sydney Harbour
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    New Discovery Centre at SIMS
    Opening 2nd Sunday of the Month
    Bookings essential
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    SIMS, achieving excellence in
    marine research, education and
    community engagement.
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    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

  • Be a "scientist for a day"


    One of the most sought after prizes at the SIMS Foundation Emerald dinner is the opportunity to be a "Scientist for a Day", and after listening to the feedback from one of the winner's on water experience you'll understand why. Jen was a guest on the RV Bombora as she accompanied Dr. Tim Ingleton from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage on a fascinating field trip from Port Hacking to the IMOS National reference station where scientists have been monitoring ocean health for 70 years. Jen says...

    "As an offshore sailor who has spent many hours on top of the water, it is fascinating to gain a small insight into 'what lies beneath'  and to know that there are teams of passionate people keeping an eye on the human impact on our oceans.

    I really admire the integrated approach to research and sharing of results amongst the many institutions involved.

    Seeing the results of a collaboration that is working is one of the main reasons that I support SIMS.

    Keep up the great work and thank you once again."





  • Ocean harming microplastics


    Article, Huffington Post, 8/01/16


    The Huffington Post explores a recent announcement by environment minister, Greg Hunt, on the question of micro beads and micro plastics and their impact on our marine life and interviews Professor Emma Johnston from SIMS & UNSW on research in this area.





  • New IMOS Newsletter


    The 22nd issue of the IMOS Newsletter is now available and includes a host of interesting articles.

    Read the full newsletter by clicking on the link below.


    auv people

  • A whale of a migratory tale


    An international team lead by Macquarie researchers has found that the migratory behaviour of endangered southern right whales, learned from a whale's mother in its first year of life, has helped to shape the genetics and population recovery of his species.

    Read the full article here


  • SIMS Foundation Newsletter December 2015


    Read all the news in the SIMS Foundation Newsletter for December 2015

    SIMS Foundation Newsletter Dec 2015

    Chowder Bay Marine Station 1

  • Work Experience Success at SIMS


    Work Experience students participated in a series of field and lab based activities related to research themes and disciplines spanning the marine sciences spectrum, from intertidal ecology to cellular biology, and everything in between. Most importantly, the program provided opportunities for students to connect with scientists and experience real-world marine science research and careers.

    Since thanks to the students for their hard work and commitment during the week – students travelled from across Sydney, regional NSW, and even interstate to participate in this program, and to the scientists at SIMS, USIMS and NSW DPI (Fisheries), for generously sharing their knowledge and expertise with the students.

  • Huffington Post speaks to SIMS


    Views of Sydney Harbour may be priceless but one scientist has sought to quantify the water body's value, and other harbours of the world are watching on.

    Sydney Institute of Marine Science has attempted to evaluate the environmental, economic and social impact of the harbour and chief executive Peter Steinberg said it was not a straightforward equation.

    "It's a complicated thing to do," Steinberg said.

    Our Harbour, Our Asset authored by SIMS Associate Fellow and research economist Caroline Hoisington found the value of the harbour on the private properties fringing it alone was worth billions.

    Read  the full article here http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2015/11/15/sydney-harbour-value_n_8572210.html?utm_hp_ref=au-travel

  • Our Harbour Our Asset


    Sun Herald, 15th November 2015



    Research Economist and Associate Fellow of SIMS, Caroline Hoisington speaks with the Sun Herald about her report, "Our Harbour Our Asset".

    Read the full article published in the Sun Herald below.

    SMH re Hoisington report

  • SIMS Discovery Centre Official Opening & Report Launch


    SIMS was delighted to have The Hon. Anthony Roberts, MP officiate at the Opening Ceremony of the SIMS Discovery Centre on 16th November.

    Minister Roberts also launched a significant report by SIMS Associate Fellow, Caroline Hoisington, entitled "Our Harbour.Our Asset". The report provides an overview of economic activities and values associated with Sydney Harbour.

    Guests were enthralled by the Discovery Centre which they toured as part of the ceremony.

  • Sydney Harbour's mummy mussels


    SMH, 24th October 2015


    They say there is nothing so strong it can come between a mother and child, and even when it comes to mussels that is usually the case. But increasing ocean temperatures and acidification look likely to disadvantage future generations of mussels in Sydney harbour, straining the maternal investment made by adult mussels in their offspring. In a recently completed study by Western Sydney University, researchers looked at the impact of climate change on biodiversity in Sydney harbour, predicting there will be half as many species living in and around the harbour's mussels by the end of the century.

    Read the full article at http://www.smh.com.au/environment/how-sydney-harbours-mussels-will-respond-to-increased-carbon-emissions-20151015-gk9r2d.htmlmummy mussels

  • Australian Research Facility for Marine Microbial Biotoxins


    The Australian Research Facility for Marine Microbial Biotoxins is a specialist laboratory at the SIMS that was formed through a collaborative partnership between scientists from the UNSW, UTS, UTAS, the SIMS Foundation and the Cawthron Institute (New Zealand). The centrepiece of this facility is a liquid chromatography coupled with high resolution Thermo Scientific Q Exactive mass spectrometer (LC-MS), a screening platform used to analyse and quantify marine chemical compounds at ultra-trace quantities against complex sample backgrounds. 

    We provide services for the quantitation of molecules including marine biotoxins, metabolomic profiling, and molecular formula confirmation (HRMS). This facility is run by a specialised chemist. We can conduct all sample processing and analysis, or train research students enrolled at our partner Universities to conduct this work.

    To find out more about this facility,  please contact Dr Chowdhury Sarowar at Chowdhury.Sarowar@sims.org.au

  • Congratulations - Eureka Prize winners


    Congratulations to Professor David Raftos, Macquarie University, and Professor Emma Johnston, UNSW who both won Eureka Prizes at the 2015 ceremony at the Australian Museum.

    Professor David Raftos won the new Rural Research and Development Corporations Eureka Prize for Rural Innovation. Working with oyster farmers along Australia’s east coast, he helped breed stronger, more disease-resistant oysters that promise a 10% to 20% increase in yield.

    Professor Emma Johnston won the Department of Industry and Science Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Australian Science Research. She brings marine research to a broad audience using a variety of methods including appearance in print, radio and television including BBC/Foxtel series Coast Australia.

  • Sydney Reef study of protection zones


    Media Release 23rd August 2015


    A 2015 survey  of marine life on Sydney's rocky reefs has revealed that partially protected aquatic reserves are failing to protect fish.  Fully protected no take zones, like the reserve at Cabbage Tree Bay in Manly, had a greater abundance and diversity of large fish.  The survey found that aquatic reserves with only partial protection were no better than unprotected areas in terms of both the number of fish species and number of large fish (sized 25cm or more).  Divers completed over 40 surveys across 25 sites sponsored by SIMS and managed by Underwater Research Group (URG) of NSW.

    Read the full media release here.Sydney Reef Study

  • Launch National Marine Science Plan


    The National Marine Science Committee launched the National Marine Science Plan on 11 August 2015 at Australian Parliament House.

    The Plan draws together the knowledge and experience of more than 23 marine research organisations, universities and government departments and more than 500 scientists.

    Click on the link to view a pdf of the plan. http://frdc.com.au/environment/NMSC-WHITE/Documents/NMSP%202015-2025%20report.pdf

    NMSP reportNMSP launch 2

  • Better marine science to underpin a doubling of the 'blue economy'


    The Australian, 11th August


    Research into threatened sea life could be used to pinpoint new offshore oil deposits, under a marine science plan to be launched this afternoon at Parliament House.

    Scientists say Australia’s “blue economy” will double in value over the next decade, with gas, tourism, fishing, transport and other marine industries channelling about $100 billion into the economy in 2025 — up from $47bn at present.

    But this will require coordination of Australia’s fragmented marine science efforts and a raft of new programs including a “blue economy innovation fund” and a “national oceanographic modelling system”.

    Read the full article here 


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.