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Marine benthic habitats - call for abstracts

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Mon Jul 7 08:49:30 EST 1997


No. 18 of the 1997 Series of E-mail Announcements from the Paris InterRidge

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Marine benthic habitats and their living resources:
   monitoring, management and application to Pacific Island countries and

Noum=E9a 10-16 November 1997

Sponsored by SOPAC (South Pacicific Geoscience Applied Commission) and IOC
(Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission)

Co-sponsored by France,  the Territory and Provinces (Loyalty Islands,
Northern and Southern) of New Caledonia, IFREMER (Institut Fran=E7ais pour
l'Exploitation de la Mer), ORSTOM (Institut Fran=E7ais de Recherche
Scientifique pour le D=E9veloppement en Coop=E9ration), SPC (South Pacific
Commission) and European Union

Organised by Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, IFREMER and ORSTOM

Hosted by New Caledonia, ORSTOM and SPC

A conference on Marine Benthic Habitats and Their Living Resources is
planned for 10 to 16 November 1997.  The primary goals of the conference are
to: 1) bring together geologists and biologists studying the relationship
between marine geology and living marine resources, including marine
biodiversity and fisheries; and 2) provide a synthesis of the in situ
technology available to study and monitor the benthic submarine environment.
The ultimate goal is technology transfer to Pacific Island countries and

At the 1996 SOPAC (South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission) meeting,  it
was strongly recommended by the island nations that a habitat conference be
organized in the region.  The Government of France and the Territory of New
Caledonia, through IFREMER and ORSTOM, have agreed to host the conference in
Noumea, New Caledonia.  The conference is under the joint sponsorship of
SOPAC and the IOC (Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission), specifically
its regional subsidiary body IOC/WESTPAC.  Other sponsors are the Territory
and Provinces (Loyalty, Northern and Southern) of New Caledonia, SPC, the
=46rench Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European Union.

The two main subjects related to marine habitats are fisheries and
biodiversity.  It is well known that many marine fisheries around the world
are declining radically.  Thus, studies aimed at understanding the
importance of fishery habitats are essential for management purposes,
especially if harvest refugia can be established to help replenish certain
living resources.  Pacific Rim countries may need assistance in
investigating their fishery habitats to develop sustainable resource use.
In addition, biodiversity is a subject of international concern, resulting
in the formation of the Commission on Biological Diversity (CBD). Because
human activities have deleteriously affected both terrestrial and marine
habitats, there is concern that the diversity of species occupying these
habitats will decline, perhaps even leading to extinction of some species.

The main objectives of the conference will be to: 1) inform participants of
present-day methodologies for the study of marine habitats, fisheries and
biodiversity;  2) interpret case histories relative to Pacific Islands
interests,  demonstrating how these techniques have been applied to marine
habitats (bays, lagoons, coral reefs, shelf and slope environments,
seamounts and ridges); 3) identify crucial habitats and resources;  4)
propose a training component, especially for Pacific Islands nationals, on
such techniques as ROVs (Remotely Operated Vehicles), submersibles, acoustic
surveys, GIS (Geographic Information Systems), GPS (Global Positioning
Systems), etc., with the idea of developing these further in future
sessions; and 5) establish the parameters for habitat monitoring systems to
assist in management and sustainability of resources, giving consideration
to the implementation of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) in the reg=

We envision a set of speakers from both temperate and tropical areas who
have successfully combined geophysical techniques and biological
investigations.  They will present summaries of their research on marine
habitat characterization and how it relates to biological associations.
Talks should concentrate on habitats and living resources that are similar
to those encountered in the Pacific Islands so that technology transfer and
management are enhanced. To maximize benefits to conference participants,
Pacific  Islands organizations, including SOPAC, IOC/WESTPAC, FFA (Forum
=46isheries Agency), SPC/FP (South Pacific Commission, Fishery Programme) an=
SPREP (South Pacific Regional Environment Programme), should work together
to assemble existing geophysical and living resource data sets for the
region so they can be mutually used by both disciplines.


Immediately before the HABITAT Conference, from 3 to 8 November, there will
be another conference organised at ORSTOM-SPC. The title of this conference
is "5th Indo-Pacific Fish Conference". If you plan to attend both
conferences the registration for the HABITAT Conference will be free of
charge. In order to receive additional information on the Indo-Pacific Fish
Conference please contact:

Dr KULBICKI Michel, ORSTOM, BP A5, 98848 Noum=E9a Cedex, New Caledonia; FAX:
687 26 43 26; PHONE: 687 26 08 21; email: kulbicki at noumea.orstom.nc


Dr SERET Bernard, MNHN (Laboratoire d'Ichtyologie, 43 rue Cuvier, 75231
Paris cedex 05; FAX: 33 01 40793771; PHONE: 33 01 40793738;
email:seret at cimrs1.mnhn.fr


1.  Lagoons and Bays
2.  Shallow Reefs
3.  Deep Reefs
4.  Shelves and Slopes
5.  Seamounts and Ridges
6.  Deep-sea Trenches and Canyons


1.  Geophysical Techniques (sub-bottom profiling, bathymetry,
     side-scan sonar, etc.)
2.  Direct Observations (snorkeling, SCUBA (Self-Contained
     Underwater Breathing Apparatus), DOVs (Diver Operated
     Vehicles), manned submersibles, etc.)
3.  Remote Sensing (Remote Operated Vehicles, satellite images such as the
     aerial photography, etc.)
4.  Optical Imaging
5.  Hydro-Acoustics
6.  Destructive Sampling (trawls, cores, dredges, etc.)
7.  Physical Oceanographic and Water Quality Measurement Tools
     (currents, salinity, temperature, oxygen, nutrients,
     chlorophyll, etc.)


1.  Characterization and Quantification of Habitats
2.  Life History Studies of Dominant, Habitat-Specific Organisms
3.  Use of Habitats by Organisms (food, shelter, movements, etc.)
4.  Sustainability of Resources
5.  Effects of Natural and Anthropogenic Impacts (extraction,
     noxious species, harmful algal blooms, sedimentation,
     erosion, predator outbreaks, etc.)
6.  Harvest Refugia
7.  Social, Political, and Economic Considerations


1.  Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
2.  Computer Interfacing and Analysis
3.  Mathematical Modelling
4.  Visualization Techniques
5.  Environmental Impact Analyses
6.  Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS)


1.  Write Report of Conference
2.  Write Proposal to Initiate Work from Conference
3.  Evaluate Funding for Future Work
4.  Submit 1-3 to 100 CFP =3D 5.50 FF or 1 FF =3D 18.18 CFP. Money can be
exchanged in most banks,
at the airport, in many hotels. The best rates are usually found in the
banks. In May 1997, the exchange rates for some currencies were : US $ =3D 1=
CFP ; AUS $ =3D 85  ; NZ $ =3D 75 ; 100 Yen =3D 92. Credit cards (VISA, MAST=
CARD, AMERICAN EXPRESS, DINERS) are widely accepted, however, in most cases
only cards with a PIN number are accepted.

Cost of living:

Here are some examples of price ranges in May 1997
- moderate lunch: 1,200 - 1,600 CFP; breakfast: 600 - 1,200 CFP; coffee:
100-200 CFP, sandwich: 200-500 CFP; bread ("baguette") : 62 CFP; beer (a
can) 90 CFP (in shop); bus: local 120 CFP; to airport (50 km from city):
1,500 - 1,800 CFP; rental car from 25, 000 CFP a week with 700 km free.


There are no major tropical diseases in New Caledonia, in particular no
malaria. However, there is always a risk of dengue fever, so it is wise to
protect oneself from mosquitoes. Medical care is excellent. No vaccines are
required for New Caledonia. Swimming is safe in both salt and fresh water ;
however it is advised to wear shoes in the water, especially on reefs. In
November one should take precautions against sunburn. Divers should bring
their diving certification and proof of insurance. Wet suits of 4 mm are

=46auna and Flora:

 New Caledonia has a very high endemism rate for its flora (about 3,000
plant species with 76% endemism) and land fauna (about 15,000 species with
endemism rate ranging from 60 to 100 %). Therefore, introduction of any
plant or animal materials is highly restricted. In particular, do not bring
food items without  certification as they will be confiscated upon arrival.

There are, at the moment, over 2,500 known species of fish in New Caledonia.
=46reshwater areas are usually very poor, with less than 80 species, some
quite unique (e.g. freshwater Ophichthyidae). The lagoon hosts at least 1,
650 species. This fauna is closely related to the fish fauna in the Great
Barrier Reef. A vigorous survey programme of the deep-water fauna is
currently underway and the number of known species is sharply increasing.


The number of international flights to New Caledonia is limited, therefore
we strongly advise that bookings be made in advance. At the moment there are
direct flights from Paris, Tokyo, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Auckland,
Port Vila, Papeete, Los Angeles, Nandi, Colombo, Bangkok.

The Noumea airport (La Tontouta) is 50 km from the ORSTOM Center. It takes
approximately 45 minutes by bus to get from the airport to town. Bus
shuttles and taxis are available at the airport for all flights. Bus fare is
approximately 2,000 CFP. There is a 150 CFP toll at the entrance of Noumea
for all vehicles.

Local transportation is provided by bus or taxi. Car rentals are also
available at the airport or downtown. The road system is good and most roads
are paved, except in remote areas. Driving is on the right side of the road
; maximum speed downtown is 50 km/h and 110 km/h out of town. Right of way
is on the right. An international driving licence is recommended for car


A number of half-day excursions will be available during the conference. In
particular, you may wish visit the Noumea Aquarium (famous for its
fluorescent corals), a shrimp research station and a shrimp farm. A visit to
the botanical gardens and to the Rivi=E8re Bleue park (500 CFP/ticket) will
also be possible. The small municipal fish market can also be visited early
in the morning.

=93 L=92=EElot Canard =94 is a small fish reserve located half a mile=
 offshore of
ORSTOM. If you wish to enjoy the sight of =93 tamed =94 fish, do not forget =
snorkeling gear. Boat shuttles to this small island cost around 1, 000 CFP.

If you are interested in diving, please let us know (see Registration Form).
Depending on the number of participants, we will organize special diving
trips. The price will depend on the number of participants. Otherwise, there
are a number of diving clubs in Noumea. You should bring your diving suit,
fins, mask and snorkel. You may rent tanks, regulators and weight belts
locally. Do not forget your certification and proof of insurance!

If the R.V. "Alis=94 is available during the conference, we will try to
arrange day trips (trawling, longlining). We need to know if you would be
interested (see Registration form). A minimal fee will be charged for meals
on the ship and for bus transport.

Tourist information
A number of tourist excursions are available from most travel agents in Noum=


There will be an exhibition in the hall of the ORSTOM Center with various
stands : e.g. scientific and general-interest publications, conference
souvenirs. Publishers, computer program editors, scientific instrument
manufacturers interested in this exhibition should contact the Conference


Scientific Committee

Jean-Marie Auzende: IFREMER
Gregor Cailliet: Moss Landing Laboratories, Monterey, USA
Ren=E9 Grandperrin: ORSTOM
Gary Greene: Moss Landing Laboratories, Monterey, USA

Local Organisation Committee

Jean-Marie Auzende: IFREMER
G=E9rard Bauchon: Coop=E9ration R=E9gionale du Haut Commissariat
Richard Farman: Province Sud
Michel Gargon: Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie (CCI)
Ren=E9 Grandperrin: ORSTOM
Christian Habault: MESR
=46ran=E7ois Jarrige: Directeur du Centre ORSTOM de Noum=E9a
Yves Lafoy: SME, Repr=E9sentant de la Nouvelle-Cal=E9donie aupr=E9s de la SO=
Doriane Sanchez: Directeur du GEST (Groupement pour l'exportation des
services et techniques de Nouvelle-Cal=E9donie)
Pierre Siapo: Province Iles
Dominique Cluzel:  repr=E9sentant UFP
Jean-Paul Gaudechoux: repr=E9sentant CPS
Karell Henriot: Province Nord

All  requests concerning the conference must be sent to:

     Dr. Jean-Marie Auzende
          IFREMER c/o ORSTOM
          BPA5, 98848, Noumea Cedex
          Nouvelle Caledonie
       FAX (687) 26 43 26; PHONE (687) 26 07 59

     -with copy to:

     Drs. Gregor M. Cailliet and H. Gary Greene
          Moss Landing Marine Laboratories
          P.O. Box 450, Moss Landing, CA 95039, USA
       FAX (408) 753-2826; PHONE (408) 755-8650 or -8670 (GMC)

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