Underwater Survey of Sydney Harbour

Testing the waters: impacts of contaminants on ecosystem structure and function in urban waterways of the Sydney Harbour.

In the Catlin Seaview Survey, research globally has collected photos of the ecological environments around the world.

The Catlin Seaview Survey 360 degree underwater camera system in action off the Sydney Coastline.

The Catlin Seaview Survey 360 degree underwater camera system in action off the Sydney Coastline.


There was a survey of Sydney Harbour in March 2014, the waters around the entrance to the harbour (North and South Heads) are favourite sites with local scuba divers (and local marine life). In these panoramas you can notice perfectly round holes in the rock where the black sea urchins have burrowed in and made their homes. The photos have been stitched together to allow one to view the underwater ecology in a google view.

The underwater survey would provide a scientific baseline to monitor change across the harbour and also highlights hotspots for debris and other forms of pollution to galvanise government and public action.

More than just providing a view of the beauty and diversity of the harbour, it provides another dimension to the world-famous sight. The harbour is more than a monolithic and flat surface, there is an life underneath; amazing kelp forests, underwater gardens of sea tulips and sponges and fish. The diversity of sea life is greater than any harbour in the world.

These photos provide a means for the view to establish a connection with the natural environment

There is a reciprocal relationship between health waterways and human wellbeing. Currently, there are plenty of ecological preservation and awareness on land but the same is not happening for the sea. Ecoenginering of the sea needs more progress. When the built environment is occurring above land, there are considerations for underwater that can help to increase health waters.


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