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Noumea, New Caledonia

The University of New Caledonia UNC is a French university which is part of the Academy of New Caledonia located in Nouméa.The university goes back to 1987 when the Université Française du Pacifique was created, with two centres, one in French Polynesia and the other in New Caledonia. In 1997, the decision was made to split the two parts into separate universities and so in 1999 the Université de la Nouvelle Calédonie and the Université de la Polynésie Française were created.UNC hosts around 3,000 local and international students with a staff of about 100 professors and researchers and 100 administrative employees each year. The President of UNC is Gaël Lagadec, who succeeded Jean-Marc Boyer. Wikipedia.

Mallet D.,French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea | Mallet D.,University of New Caledonia | Pelletier D.,French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea
Fisheries Research | Year: 2014

Underwater video techniques are increasingly used in marine ecology studies. Technological progress regarding video cameras, sensors (such as sounders), battery life and information storage make these techniques now accessible to a majority of users. However, diver-based underwater visual censuses, and catch and effort data, remain the most commonly used for observing coastal biodiversity and species. In this paper, we review the underwater video techniques that have been developed since the 1950s to investigate and/or monitor coastal biodiversity. Techniques such as remote underwater video, whether baited or not, diver-operated video and towed video are described, along with corresponding applications in the field. We then analyse the complementary of techniques, first from studies comparing video techniques with other observation techniques, whether video-based or not, and second by documenting their respective cost efficiencies. These findings are discussed with respect to current challenges in monitoring and investigating coastal biodiversity. Video should be more often considered and used, either in addition to or as an alternative to diver-based, fishing and acoustic techniques, as it may be particularly suited for monitoring coastal biodiversity in a variety of areas and on larger scales than hitherto and within an ecosystem-based approach to management and conservation. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. Source

For the past two centuries, scholars from many fields have attempted to prove that Pacific Islanders reached the American continent in pre-Columbian times. Guided by DNA analysis and radiocarbon dating on items like chicken bones and sweet potatoes, recent scholarship has brought to light strong evidence to support this argument. This article contributes to this long-standing debate, focusing on the Hawaiian Song of Kualii. The most compelling feature of this particular narrative is its reference to a pre-contact voyage towards a distant land called Kahiki, which is allegedly located on the American continent. This study revisits the document to determine the plausibility of such a destination and to ascertain the geographic area where the explorers may have landed. After reconstructing the star path followed by the Hawaiian explorers and analysing the descriptions of the unknown land’s environment, the article proves that Hawaiian explorers discovered a country vastly different from their tropical homeland. The cold climate, the unknown forest trees and the strange people inhabiting the land all appeared to them as if they belonged to another world. Comparing the key elements of the explorers’ sea route to the Eastern Pacific and prevailing winds in the Late Holocene, this study concludes that the coast of Southern California was their most plausible destination. © 2016 The White Horse Press. Source

Carassou L.,Institute Of Recherche Pour Le Developpement Ird | Leopold M.,Institute Of Recherche Pour Le Developpement Ird | Guillemot N.,Institute Of Recherche Pour Le Developpement Ird | Wantiez L.,University of New Caledonia | Kulbicki M.,CIRAD - Agricultural Research for Development
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Parts of coral reefs from New Caledonia (South Pacific) were registered at the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2008. Management strategies aiming at preserving the exceptional ecological value of these reefs in the context of climate change are currently being considered. This study evaluates the appropriateness of an exclusive fishing ban of herbivorous fish as a strategy to enhance coral reef resilience to hurricanes and bleaching in the UNESCO-registered areas of New Caledonia. A two-phase approach was developed: 1) coral, macroalgal, and herbivorous fish communities were examined in four biotopes from 14 reefs submitted to different fishing pressures in New Caledonia, and 2) results from these analyses were challenged in the context of a global synthesis of the relationship between herbivorous fish protection, coral recovery and relative macroalgal development after hurricanes and bleaching. Analyses of New Caledonia data indicated that 1) current fishing pressure only slightly affected herbivorous fish communities in the country, and 2) coral and macroalgal covers remained unrelated, and macroalgal cover was not related to the biomass, density or diversity of macroalgae feeders, whatever the biotope or level of fishing pressure considered. At a global scale, we found no relationship between reef protection status, coral recovery and relative macroalgal development after major climatic events. These results suggest that an exclusive protection of herbivorous fish in New Caledonia is unlikely to improve coral reef resilience to large-scale climatic disturbances, especially in the lightly fished UNESCO-registered areas. More efforts towards the survey and regulation of major chronic stress factors such as mining are rather recommended. In the most heavily fished areas of the country, carnivorous fish and large targeted herbivores may however be monitored as part of a precautionary approach. © 2013 Carassou et al. Source

Goiran C.,University of New Caledonia | Dubey S.,University of Lausanne | Shine R.,University of Sydney
Coral Reefs | Year: 2013

In terrestrial snakes, many cases of intraspecific shifts in dietary habits as a function of predator sex and body size are driven by gape limitation and hence are most common in species that feed on relatively large prey and exhibit a wide body-size range. Our data on sea snakes reveal an alternative mechanism for intraspecific niche partitioning, based on sex-specific seasonal anorexia induced by reproductive activities. Turtle-headed sea snakes (Emydocephalus annulatus) on coral reefs in the New Caledonian Lagoon feed entirely on the eggs of demersal-spawning fishes. DNA sequence data (cytochrome b gene) on eggs that we palpated from stomachs of 37 snakes showed that despite this ontogenetic stage specialization, the prey comes from a taxonomically diverse array of species including damselfish (41 % of samples, at least 5 species), blennies (41 %, 4 species) and gobies (19 %, 5 species). The composition of snake diets shifted seasonally (with damselfish dominating in winter but not summer), presumably reflecting seasonality of fish reproduction. That seasonal shift affects male and female snakes differently, because reproduction is incompatible with foraging. Adult female sea snakes ceased feeding when they became heavily distended with developing embryos in late summer, and males ceased feeding while they were mate searching in winter. The sex divergence in foraging habits may be amplified by sexual size dimorphism; females grow larger than males, and larger snakes (of both sexes) feed more on damselfish (which often lay their eggs in exposed sites) than on blennies and gobies (whose eggs are hidden within narrow crevices). Specific features of reproductive biology of coral reef fish (seasonality and nest type) have generated intraspecific niche partitioning in these sea snakes, by mechanisms different from those that apply to terrestrial snakes. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source

Murakami H.,Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency | Dupouy C.,University of New Caledonia
Applied Optics | Year: 2013

Retrievals of inherent optical properties (IOPs) and chlorophyll-a concentration (Chla) were investigated for AVNIR-2 images with 30 m spatial resolution and four bands in the southwest tropical lagoon of New Caledonia. We corrected the atmospheric and sea-surface reflectance iteratively through the retrieval of IOPs. After an additional correction of seafloor reflectance, the estimated IOPs and Chla agreed well with the in situ measurements even in the lagoon areas. This study provides a method to allow a local optimal estimation of IOPs and Chla with a high-resolution sensor by preparing the candidate spectra for the target areas. © 2013 Optical Society of America. Source

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