• Discovery
    New Discovery Centre at SIMS
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  • Excellence
    SIMS, achieving excellence in
    marine research, education and
    community engagement.
  • SIMS video
    SIMS at work.
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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

  • Our Harbour, Our Asset


    Public Lecture, 29th September, 6.30pm


    Don't miss this fascinating lecture which will explore how you place a dollar value on something as iconic as Sydney Harbour. Click on the link for all the detail of the lecture, including booking instructions.

    Our Harbour, Our Asset Lecture

  • 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

  • CMB Summer Course at SIMS


    The CMB Summer Course on Microbial Biology will be held at SIMS from November 20 -25, 2016.

    For more information please visit cmb.unsw.edu.au or contact cmb@unsw.edu.au

    cmb summer course 2016
  • 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.

  • Sharks and their personalities


    ABC Radio, May 2016


    According to a study by Macquarie University there are shy sharks, risk-taking sharks…even highly strung ones that don't handle stress particularly well.  Professor Culum Brown speaks to ABC NewsRadio's Fiona Ellis-Jones.

    Listen in here

  • Time to tackle urban coastlines


    SIMS Media Release, 25 May 2016


    A collaboration between the Sydney Institute of Marine Sciences (SIMS) and a Melbourne-based think tank is aiming to transform harbour shorelines around the world. In many harbours, including Sydney Harbour, more than 50% of the shoreline has been converted to seawall. These sandstone / concrete coastlines reduce biodiversity, and are commonly dominated by pest species.

    To find ways of addressing this problem, SIMS is conducting a 12-month project using concrete seawall tiles by Reef Design Lab, a not-for-profit design studio and think tank based in Melbourne. The tiles are being retrofitted to seawalls at two sites in Sydney Harbour (Balmain and Waverton).

    SIMS WHP and oyster project media release


  • Urban Coastal Waterways: Can Blue be Green?


    SIMS CEO, Professor Peter Steinberg delivers a presentation for SCI21 on urban coastal waterways. Take a look.


  • Sydney corals now bleaching


    Sydney Morning Herald, April 19 2016


    The giant coral bleaching event that is devastating wide swaths of the Great Barrier Reef has extended all the way south to Sydney Harbour, researchers say.

    The harbour's surface temperature reached 26 degrees at times during a prolonged marine heatwave in recent months that had also set records for parts of the Australian coast. The unusual warmth - several degrees above the peak of 23 to 24 degrees typically seen in summer - was enough to trigger coral bleaching in the harbour for the first time on record, according to marine biologists from the University of Technology Sydney and Macquarie University.

    Read the full article featuring Assoc Professor Joshua Madin form Macquarie University and SIMS, and phd student Samantha Goyen from UTS.

  • Aggressive bacteria species found in the harbour


    SMH, 13th April 2016


    According to a new study by University of Technology Sydney scientists, two species of potentially dangerous Vibrio bacteria were detectable in particularly high concentrations when the water was warmest and in areas of mid-salinity, around Parramatta Park, Olympic Park and Rozelle. Co-author and associate professor at UTS' Climate Change Cluster, Justin Seymour, said the findings have serious implications for Sydney Harbour users and authorities.

    Peter Steinberg, director of Sydney Institute of Marine Sciences, welcomed the report which is part of a wider program attempting to understand the ecosystems and diversity of the harbour in collaboration with SIMS.

    Read the full article here

  • Women in Science roles


    Professor Emma Johnston from SIMS and UNSW is interviewed by the Sydney Morning Herald in respect to women in science.


    Read the full article here.

  • SIMS' Emma Johnston at the National Press Club


    The National Press Club hosted a critical "Women in Science" session yesterday and Director of the SIMS Sydney Harbour Research Program, Professor Emma Johnston was among the panel.

    Take a look through ABC iView.


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.