Oceans cover 71% of the earth’s surface.

They are a fundamental life sustaining feature of our planet, absorbing heat and circulating it around the globe to regulate our climate. The heat capacity of the top three metres of the ocean is equivalent to that of the whole of the atmosphere.

Our research is solution focused and results in novel approaches and technologies for enhancing our use and enjoyment of the marine environment. Marine and coastal environments are facing an unprecedented range of pressures, including climate change, invasive species, and urbanisation. Forecasts of the impacts of these pressures rely critically on our understanding of ocean processes. The scale and diversity of marine research urgently needs to increase to match the scale and diversity of the threats.


One of the central challenges facing our oceans and coasts is the degradation of natural habitats and their replacement by coastal infrastructure. SIMS is responding proactively to this challenge.

Climate Change

The oceanography of the east coast of Australia is dominated by the East Australian Current which sweeps down the NSW coast from the Coral Sea. This warm water current is increasing in strength and influencing our coastline as far south as Tasmania.

Marine Management

From exploitation of key fisheries to conservation of endangered species, marine management relies critically on science and research to inform policy decisions. Many SIMS’ scientists study commercial or threatened species or habitats.

Ocean Resources

The ocean provides a wealth of resources for our use. From novel biotechnologies to energy supply from wind and waves. SIMS’ scientists  research on the sustainable use of ocean resources is similarly broad.


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.