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Climate change research

Published 26 June 2024 Researching the effects of climate change to fill knowledge gaps and guide future management actions.
content image Conducting research in the NSW marine estate.


Why is this project important?

The NSW marine environment is one of the most rapidly warming regions of the global ocean.

These changes are having major impacts on our marine estate ecosystems, yet the severity of many impacts remain unknown. This makes it difficult to prepare for, and adapt to, any changes.

This project is filling critical knowledge gaps regarding the impact of climate change on the NSW coast to help our marine ecosystems and ocean users adapt to climate change.

We are undertaking strategic research to fill knowledge gaps on the effects of climate change within the NSW marine estate.

This work is providing the evidence-base for developing climate adaptation strategies that minimise threats and capitalise on opportunities presented by climate change.

Our climate impact and adaptation research cover all components of NSW marine ecosystems, from habitat-forming kelp forests to large-bodied fish species.

“Research undertaken in fast-warming regions of the ocean, like those along the NSW coastline, is essential to support science-informed management that will enable future generations to enjoy the immense environmental values of the NSW marine estate.” Dr Melinda Coleman, Principal Research Scientist, Primary Industries and Regional Development

What have we achieved so far?

To date, we have:

  • Shown how quickly many marine fishes are shifting south along the NSW coastline in response to ocean warming.
  • Identified where NSW kelp forests are likely to be vulnerable and resilient to the effects of future climate change.
  • Detected the impacts of flood events on habitat-forming species within NSW estuaries and shown how species recover from these impacts.
  • Shown how climate change is likely to impact the density of long-spined sea urchins along the south-eastern Australian coastline.
  • Predicted the future range extension of coral communities along the NSW coast.



Local government areas - Statewide

Lead agency

    Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development - Fisheries Research


    NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (NSW DCCEEW)

    We are collaborating with the University of Western Australia on kelp research and regularly engage with other university collaborators on research projects.

More information

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