Marine Newsletter #15 – February 2011

Highlights from the Marine Programme at GRID-Arendal for February 2011

1. Featured Project

University of the Sea (UOS)
The University of the Sea / Université de la Mer is a partnership between GRID-Arendal, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, and several universities in the Asia-Pacific region. The UOS is dedicated to building marine science capacity. It aims to bring together senior researchers and young local scholars to address marine science issues of direct interest to their region. 

In 2010 the UOS participated in 3 research cruises. The last of these brought together UOS Shelf partners from SOPAC (Pacific Islands Applied GeoScience Commission) and the small island state of Tuvalu to participate in a French research cruise in the Pacific. The cruise was focused on obtaining data for the French extended continental shelf submission related to the Territoire des îles Wallis et Futuna, which are adjacent to the islands of Tuvalu. The cruise leader, Dr Walter Roest from Ifremer, has been a long time supporter of the UOS and was instrumental in helping to organise the participation of the UOS sponsored personnel. The research programme was expanded to allow collection of geophysical data relevant to the submission of Tuvalu. This data is essential in proving natural prolongation from the Tuvalu landmass to the area of extended continental shelf on the Robbie Ridge.

Apart from Papua New Guinea, the other 9 Pacific States making submissions for extended continental shelf have used existing data, as the cost of collecting new data is prohibitive. However, in order to make final  submissions related to the preliminary information documents submitted by the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau and the Solomon Islands and the final submission for Kiribati, some additional data is required. It is therefore hoped that the UOS can find other partners to support these countries in the collection of essential data.

For more information, please contact Elaine Baker.

2. Events

Recent events
Seminars/meetings/conferences related to the marine environment where representatives from GRID-Arendal have participated:

  • 13th meeting of the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna Working Group (CAFF XIII), Akureyri, Iceland, 1-3 February.
  • Meeting with Norwegian Ambassador Hans Wilhelm Longva and representatives from  the National Petroleum Directorate, the Norwegian Agency for Decelopment Cooperation (NORAD) and the Norwegian Mapping Authority, Oslo, Norway, 11 February – reviewing the status of the Norwegian contribution to the West Africa initiative.
  • Meeting with Arte TV, a European documentary production company, Paris, France, 17 February – discussing the content of a 90-minute documentary on methane and methane gas hydrates.
  • Meeting with UNEP DTIE, Paris, France, 18 February – discussing new concept developments including Carbon Capture and Storage, a rapid response assessment on rare earth elements and renewable energy outreach.
  • Meeting with the new Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, Paris, France, 18 February – discussing increased formal collaboration between GA and IOC in the fields of outreach, communications, capacity development and University of the Sea.
  • 26th UNEP Governing Council / Global Ministerial Environment Forum, Nairobi, Kenya, 19-28 February  – including bilateral meetings with colleagues at UNEP to discuss projects.
  • 10th Anniversary Students on Ice (SOI) Antarctic University Expedition, Antarctica, 21-28 February.

Upcoming events

28 March – 1 April
Accra, Ghana: Ninth Meeting of Contracting Parties (COP9) to the Convention for Co-operation in the Protection and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the West and Central African Region (Abidjan Convention). Participants from the 22 countries which have in common the Atlantic Coast of Africa will meet for one week to debate and make decisions on issues which are relevant to the wise use of marine and coastal resources from Mauritania to South Africa.

For more information, please contact Yannick Beaudoin.

3. Other

Did you know that…
…a shipment of bath toys missing for 19 years has led to greater knowledge of the world's oceans? The small, yellow ducks were in a crate that fell off the deck of a container ship during a journey across the Pacific from Hong Kong in January 1992. Since then, some have washed up on the shores of Hawaii and Alaska; others have been stuck in Arctic ice; and at least one is believed to have been found on a beach in Scotland.
Source: The Independent
…Semporna, Malaysia may have the world's highest marine biodiversity? The Semporna Marine Ecological Expedition (December 2010) yielded a record number of species including some new to science.
Source: Eurekalert

Picture of the month:
Mr Faatasi Malologa and Mr Vakafa Lupe from the Tuvalu extended continental shelf task force onboard the French research vessel L'Atalante.
Photo credit: Emily Artack (SOPAC/SPC).

Our favorite website of the month

Save Our Seas

If you would like your website to be featured here, please contact Rannveig Nilsen.

EarthWire Marine
EarthWire Marine is a free online news service provided by GRID-Arendal. You can get marine environment news e-mailed to you every day or sign up to an RSS feed. Registering is simple. We pledge to protect your privacy, and users can at any time unsubscribe from the service. To subscribe visit the EarthWire Marine website.

For previous editions of this Marine Newsletter, please visit our Marine Programme website.


Monday 28 Feb 2011