Research at the NMSC

Samoa’s new trochus fishery - Video transcript

Maintaining healthy marine ecosystems and sustainable marine resources in the face of a rapidly changing environment are among the greatest modern challenges facing humanity. Our research at the National Marine Science Centre (NMSC) addresses critical aspects of these challenges through themed programs across four broad topics: Biodiversity, Ecological Interactions, Aquaculture and Sustainable Fisheries.


Uniquely situated where tropical and temperate marine bioregions overlap, the NMSC is the perfect place to research how a changing climate, and a burgeoning human population, will affect ecosystem health and biodiversity. Our biodiversity research investigates tools for measuring and monitoring marine biodiversity, including genetic barcoding. A key goal of this research is to convert good science into good policy, especially as it relates to marine conservation and marine parks, both nationally and internationally.

Ecological Interactions

James P Tucker, PhD candidate with the National Marine Science Centre
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We seek to understand the forces that shape species persistence and ecosystem structure. Manipulative laboratory and field experiments are the main experimental tools we use to do this. A major focus of this research is to identify the tipping points in life histories of seaweeds and invertebrates and understand their potential for acclimatisation and evolutionary adaptation in an ocean that is both warming and acidifying.


Securing long-term food supplies for a growing world population is one of the greatest challenges of this century. The lack of new arable land means that, if we are to feed an increasingly affluent world, we must farm the sea. We are researching new ecologically sustainable aquaculture species and seeking ways to improve the productivity and reduce the environmental impact of established aquaculture industries. Our aquaculture research spans all trophic levels from seaweeds, through herbivores such as sea urchins, up to top fish predators such as mulloway.

Sustainable Fisheries

If fisheries are to survive and flourish into the future, a concerted effort will be required by industry, regulators and scientists. We seek to partner with government and industry to provide innovative research solutions to maintaining sustainable harvests of marine fisheries. A particular focus of this research is the sustainable use of marine resources in the Pacific and South East Asia and maintaining recreational fishing opportunities for future generations.