CARIM (Coastal Acidification: Rate, Impacts & Management) is a four-year project funded by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE). CARIM will provide new knowledge on ocean acidification, to enhance protection and management of New Zealand coastal ecosystems.

a collaborative project

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) is the lead on this project. NIWA has partnered with the Cawthron Institute and the Universities of Otago and Auckland, iwi, national stakeholders (including the shellfish aquaculture industry, MPI, regional councils, DOC and the Hauraki Gulf Forum), as well as international scientists (US and Australia).

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what we are doing

Establishing pH at critical locations

The rate and variability of pH and the marine carbonate system are being monitored at three sentinel sites. These are in the Firth of Thames, Nelson Bays and the East Otago Taiapure at Karitane with the data generated from this aspect available on the NZOA-ON website. This data is an important element in determining experimental conditions for CARIM impact studies and to contribute towards model and algorithm development of the main drivers of acidification in the Firth of Thames. The aim of this work is to help provide tools for coastal management.

Ecosystem impacts of acidification

CARIM is also examining the ecosystem effects of acidification on primary production, food quality and habitat availability. Our focus is on investigating the sensitivity of the different life stages of iconic and economically important NZ species including pāua, greenshell mussel and snapper larvae. Selective breeding programmes will be used to examine the sensitivity of different shellfish families to low pH, so that we can identify those families with potential resilience to acidification. We will make use of this information in population forecast models to project the future success of these species.

Community outreach

CARIM also has a significant outreach component, including this website, monitoring data access, and an Oceans Guardian project for schools & local communities.


Our partners and co-funding support


Co-funding support comes from MPI (Biodiversity Research Action Group), Waikato Regional Council, Marlborough Shellfish Quality Programme, OceaNZ Blue, SPATnz, Sanford and Kono.

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Our international collaborators include Maria Byrne (University of Sydney), Catriona Hurd (University of Tasmania), Gretchen Hofmann (University of California Santa Barbara), Phil Munday (James Cook University), and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI).

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