Auteur : INB

NEWS ! On Board Technologies – The H-ROV

Ifremer named it Ariane, the H-ROV of ECA Group is a unique robot in the world. ROV-AUV hybrid, autonomous in energy, it can be used by ships without dynamic positioning.

Here is an interesting and complete article in ROV Planet about Ifremer’s H-ROV Ariane built by our partner ECA Group. We will have the privilege of using Ariane during our 2019 and 2020 campaigns for our research on mesopelagic fauna.


Hot From The Press…

Le Courrier Australien is a bilingual (french & english) monthly newspaper in Sydney. Article of August, 2018.

Residence of Australian Excellence in France: the Hamelin house.


The historic Hamelin House in Honfleur, close to Le Havre, is for sale. Given its Franco-Australian ties, the Institute Nicholas Baudin is looking for an Australian organisation, company or individual to continue the Institute’s valuable work.

Jacques Hamelin was Baudin’s Second-in-Command and Captained the renowned ship “Naturaliste”.  Hamelin was also the victor of the battle of Grand Port, Mauritius, which was the only naval battle won by the French against the English during the Napoleonic wars, and remains the only battle inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Hamelin was born and raised in the house and spent time there before the departure of the Baudin expedition from Le Havre to farewell his parents and entrust them with the safety of his wife. The suburb of Honfleur is very close to Le Havre, where the Museum of Natural History is located and holds the Lesueur et Petit collection – works by the artists of the Baudin expedition.


Honfleur is an historic city, and many families have lived there for generations if not centuries. There remains a wealth of historical artefacts held by these families and have never been made public. It isn’t unheard of to unearth unpublished papers from Hamelin’s very hand when making friends with locals and digging up treasures from this town steeped in history.

Whenever locals begin renovations on their properties they find objects, writing on their housing foundations, and even sculptures from centuries ago. The Hamelin House would likely qualify to be registered on the ISMH list of Historical Monuments for protection by the French State, and with the help of an architect or archaeologist the original XVIIIths century features of the home could be uncovered.

The Institut Nicolas Baudin (INB), a French-Australian research institute whose scientific direction is ensured by the CSIRO, immediately formed the project to create in this house a Residence of Australian Excellence in France. It will be able to welcome Australian scientists, researchers, students and artists who have come to complete their research and work in France. For this purpose, the INB launched this week a search for Australian foundations, institutions, private people likely to collect the sum (low enough) to acquire the house and arrange it to accommodate residents. INB members live in Honfleur are therefore ideally positioned to take care of the site on a full-time basis.

The Property:

The entire property comprises of two apartments and has been listed for sale for a short period. The apartments are high-end, seasonal spaces which we believe will make well-suited residences for researchers. There is a restaurant on the ground floor which originally house Hamelin’s father’s apothecary and is currently in perfect condition. A plaque on the building’s façade signifies that the home was the true birthplace of Hamelin.


(BBC) Cultural Appropriation : Exchange Of Ideas Or The Politics Of Power.

Cultural appropriation is defined as ‘the unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, ideas, of one people or society by members of a typically more dominant people or society’. Gucci’s models recently wore turbans on the catwalk. Kim Kardashian’s cornrows have also sparked debate. So what’s okay and what’s not?

BBC Minute’s Sylvie Carlos examines the issues. Click here to read more.

Hot From The Press… is a French daily newspaper in Melbourne, Victoria and their surroundings. Article of June 8, 2018.

The Institut Nicolas Baudin will present  a forgotten antique map in Australia between November 2018 and January 2019.


Since 2015, the founders of the Institute, Alizée Chasse and Patrick Llewellyn, have been working on the writing of their book « Terra Australe » – Terra Australis, a trilogy that tells the expeditions of Nicolas Baudin and the English Matthew Flinders in Australia to 1800. They also have contributed to the Art of Science exhibition currently in Canberra. While conducting theirs researches with the director of maps and plans of the National Library of France (BNF), they discovered a totally new and forgotten map, fundamental in the history of Australia.

The legacy of explorer Nicolas Baudin.
explorateur france australie carte héritage livre roman histoire institut nicolas baudin BNF bibliothèque nationale de France cartographie

Today, about 450 French names punctuate the map of the coast of Australia. On his return from the Baudin expedition, one of the officers, Louis de Freycinet, drew and published in France the very first complete map of the Australian coast in 1811, under Napoleon. A few years later a controversy replaced many names of French places by English names. In 1910, on the occasion of the creation of the Australian federal capital, Canberra, the descendant of one of the expedition’s officers, Alphonse de Fleurieu came to Australia to ask for – and obtain – the restoration of many French names. He drew a map with his own hand, indicating in red the names he claimed. This map was transferred to the BNF archives in 1912 and has never been published since.


For the first time, the Nicolas Baudin Institute will digitize this map to show it as part of a series of free public lectures in Paris, Perth / Fremantle, Albany, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Hobart. This will be the first essential step before an exhibition with the original map in 2019 in Australia. In order to finance this introductory tour, the Institut Nicolas Baudin uses a crowdfunding campaign, hoping that many Australians and French will support this project deeply rooted in the common history of France and Australia. The crowdfunding campaign has just been launched on an Australian platform, Ready Fund Go.

5 things you didn’t know about sea pigs.

credit:  mother nature network (mnn)

1. Yes, sea pigs actually exist.

It’s an alien, it’s a cucumber, no — it’s the sea pig! It’s hard to imagine something small and pink that snarfles its way across the ocean floor like a pig in a pen, but here it is. Sea pigs are sea cucumbers, a class of animals called echinoderms that also includes sea urchins and starfish.

Maybe next time you see a sea star, you’ll look out to the ocean’s horizon and think of Scotoplanes, this strange cousin of your familiar tide pool creatures.

2. Sea pigs are found in all of the oceans of the world.

While you might not have heard of them before, they’re actually all over the place — well, as long as it’s very cold and very deep. They’ve been found as far as 3.7 miles under the ocean surface.

Encyclopedia of Life notes that they « are restricted to deep and cold parts of the world ocean, where they are the dominant large animals in most areas, often comprising more than 95 percent of the total weight of animals on the deep-sea floor. »

While they’re abundant, you’re probably never going to see one since they are truly creatures of the abyss.

3. Sea pigs are scavengers.

These small creatures prefer an easy meal, mostly one that they don’t have to catch. While it sounds lazy, this scavenging is actually a great service for the ocean ecosystem, as sea pigs act like vacuum cleaners tidying up the ocean floor. If there’s a carcass that sinks to the floor, there’s likely a little herd of piggies zeroing in on it for lunch.

Australian Geographic notes, « Sea pigs can congregate in enormous numbers when there’s a meal to be had — biologists have spotted herds of 300-600 individuals, and weirdly enough, they all face in the same direction, presumably to take advantage of the detritus floating in the current. »

4. They’re also like earthworms.

The comparison of Scotoplanes to land-dwelling creatures doesn’t stop at barnyard animals. Marine biologist David Pawson of the National Museum of Natural History compares them to another weird but helpful animal. WIRED explains:

When they’re not gobbling marine snow or the occasional whale juice, sea pigs are going after all kinds of microbes on the seafloor. Which is just as well, because such microbes are consuming a whole lot of oxygen down there. When the sea pigs pass this microbial mud through their digestive system, they of course absorb all the good nutrients, but also themselves end up adding oxygen back into the muck and pooping it out on the seafloor. « They’re like earthworms, » says Pawson. « They sort of process the deep-sea mud and make it livable for other animals because they’ve increased the amount of available oxygen in it. »

5. They’ve got crabs (in a good way). 

Sea pigs aren’t the only ones making a life at the bottom of the ocean. Baby king crabs make a go of growing up there as well. And those baby crabs, an easy meal for predators, need protectors. They find just such a protector in the unlikely shape of a sea pig.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute reports that in 2011, researchers noticed baby king crabs clinging to quite a few sea pigs. In reviewing footage of other deep sea creatures, they witnessed this savvy survival strategy:

All in all, the researchers examined about 2,600 sea cucumbers and found that almost one quarter of them carried crabs. Virtually all of the crabs were juveniles of a species of king crab called Neolithodes diomedeae. The researchers were surprised to discover that virtually all (96 percent) of the juvenile Neolithodes crabs they saw in deep muddy-bottom areas were clinging to sea pigs.

It doesn’t happen everywhere. Rather, juvenile crabs hitch a hiding place on sea pigs only in places where sea pigs are « the largest benthic structure available as shelter. »

Undersea housing for marine life to create Singapore’s largest artificial reef.

« Terrace houses » for coral and marine life will soon have pride of place in the waters off the Southern Islands, in an ambitious effort to create the nation’s largest artificial reef.

The National Parks Board (NParks) and JTC Corporation are working on the project at the Sisters’ Islands Marine Park, which will see 10m high structures placed in the waters by the end of the year. They will be made from concrete and recycled rocks from JTC’s other projects.

The idea is to transform what is now bare seabed into a thriving marine ecosystem by giving corals a place to take root, which will in turn attract fish and other sea life.

Singapore is home to more than 250 species of hard corals, about one-third of the worldwide diversity. Singapore reefs have also responded more resiliently against recent bleaching events, compared to other parts of the world.

NParks Director for Coastal and Marine at the National Biodiversity Centre, Dr Karenne Tun, said the location of the artificial reef is ideal for a « source reef » due to the geography and current flow.

“When mature, its coral larvae will reach other areas and feed the other reefs in Singapore.”

Noted JTC’s deputy director for Engineering and Operations John Kiong: « It’s akin to a three-storey terrace house lowered into the sea. » To avoid environmental impact, the structures, which will be off Pulau Subar Darat (Small Sisters island), will have anchor pins to hold them in place without the need for piling. The structures also require no maintenance.

While previous research projects used artificial structures to renew parts of existing reefs, this is the first time an entire reef will be created. It will have a total surface area of 500sqm, and pave the way for future projects.

Coral reef scientist Professor Chou Loke Ming, who is the project consultant, said he expects to see « coral recruits » – or tiny coral colonies, forming just six months after the structures are installed. This could be even faster if coral fragments are transplanted from other reefs.

NParks also has a nursery where corals are bred, which can then be introduced to the artificial reef. It hopes to introduce rarer species and increase the variety of corals at the reef.

JTC said the project is part of its commitment to responsible development. Its engineering expertise also comes in handy with the building of the reef structures.

The project was also designed with input from the public, such as Friends of the Marine Park Community.

Prof Chou said that he was excited by the size and scaleability of the project.

Stressing the the importance of sustaining marine biodiversity in the face of rapid urbanisation and climate change pointing out that 60 per cent of Singapore’s natural reef area has already been lost due to development.

He added that sedimentation has also compressed the coral growth zone. Corals previously grew at water depths in excess of 12m, but are now restricted to around depths of 8m because sunlight, which the corals need to survive, does not penetrate deeper.

Dr Tun added that active intervention is needed to sustain marine biodiversity. Giving one example, she said that that researchers found a specimen from the rare coral species, Stylophora pistillata, in 2006, and monitored its growth in the wild.
Unfortunately, the coral died during the 2010 mass bleaching event.

“It highlighted the need for continuous monitoring and active intervention to safeguard the locally rare and uncommon species”, Dr Tun said.

As part of NParks species recovery program, it has collected several species of locally rare corals like Gardineroseris planulata, and broke off pieces to create more individuals.

The announcement coincides with the start of NPark’s Biodiversity week. Members of the public are invited to the Festival Of Biodiversity on 2 and 3 June, at the open space between Tampines MRT and Tampines mall. A prototype of the artificial reef will be on display.


credit: The Straits Times

On board the Valdivia, Fritz Winter – expedition photographer at the age of 20.

In 1898, 20-year-old Fritz Winter was supposed to finish high school, instead he boarded the first German deep-sea expedition. He recorded on impressive photos, what the deep-sea researchers on the Valdivia experienced during their expedition. His pictures also show everyday life aboard the ship.

« Before passing the Abitur examination, I received the request to participate in the voyage of the 1st German Deep Sea Expedition, which was carried out on behalf of the Reichsamt of the Interior on S. M. S. Valdivia. »

With these sober words Friedrich Wilhem Winter, called Fritz, describes the beginning of probably the greatest adventure of his still young life. He spent an entire year aboard the Valdivia. With the research vessel, which started on 1 August 1898 in Hamburg, he once traveled all over Africa, to the Antarctic pack ice border and to the Indonesian island of Sumatra. What they brought with them from the journey should keep science busy for many years to come. They discovered a large number of new species, including the alien-looking frogfish. Fritz Winter’s pictures were not just scientific. In impressive shots, he also recorded the events on deck and the environment.

Fritz Winter was born in Frankfurt am Main on June 21, 1878. His father was a partner of the Graphic Arts Institutions and printers Wener and Winter. In addition to the preparations for the Abitur Fritz Winter attended lectures in the Senckenberg Institutes in Frankfurt and lectures on plastic anatomy in the Städel Art Institute. Qualified enough to hire as a photographer and sketch artist in one of the world’s most important deep-sea expeditions. Ten expedition members went aboard with him. Led by the head of the research trip, Carl Chun from Leipzig. There were also 46 crew members, most notably Captain Adalbert Krech.

After his return Fritz Winter studied natural sciences and systematic anatomy at the University of Leipzig. Due to the death of his father, he had to give up studying and took over the management of the father’s company. He later continued his studies in Fankfurt at the Senckenberg Institutes. In 1901 he was appointed as a scientific reproduction technician member of the Senckenberg Society. The scientist and photographer died on 8 June 1917 from a war injury. On the occasion of its centenary on November 22, 1917, the Senckenberg Society welcomed Friedrich Wilhelm Winter as an « Eternal Member ».

Healthy Tasmanian Devils found in major breakthrough for mission to save species from extinction.

A Tasmanian Devil named Conrad looking out from inside his enclosure at the San Diego Zoo (Getty)


Isolated population scavenging whales and seals along island’s south-western shore show no sign of disease that had killed four out of five of the species.


Scientists have discovered a small population of Tasmanian devils living apparently untouched by a cancer-causing disease that has forced the iconic marsupial to the brink of extinction.

The discovery, on Tasmania’s south-western shoreline, of at least 14 devils with no signs of Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) is a major breakthrough in the effort to preserve the iconic species.

Populations of wild devils have fallen 80 per cent since the disease was first discovered, and bids to bolster numbers by reintroducing vaccinated members of the species have been hampered as many are killed on the road.

The isolation of the new population has helped them survive, as they forage along the coastline and are less likely to encounter infected individuals or passing cars.

Researchers said it was particularly encouraging that they trapped devils ranging from 18 months to five years old.

“[This] is a good sign to show disease is not present as we just don’t trap devils as old as these in areas of the State where DFTD is found,” said Dr Sam Fox, team leader of the Save the Tasmanian Devil Programme, and a biologist with Toledo Zoo.

“All [14 devils] were in good condition and importantly, there were no signs of disease. »

Monitoring the population in the future will give a better indication its size – if they catch new individuals on subsequent trips – and will allow them to act fast if any signs of DFTD are observed.

The major problem for conservationists is preserving the genetic diversity in the remaining population to ensure future generations can stay healthy and re-establish themselves.

STDP manager Dr David Pemberton said the devils were scavenging for carrion along the coast.

“The preferred areas had food sources for the devils such as pademelons and they also provided the right habitat for denning. The devils spend their time moving between these small pockets of appropriate habitat,” he said.

“They also scavenge along the coastline, looking for other protein such as washed-up fish, or even something bigger like a whale or seal.”

These scavenging instincts have been part of the devils’ undoing. In 2015, four vaccinated animals were released into captivity at a cost of $25,000 (AUD) each, and all four were killed by cars within weeks as they crossed or dined on road-kill.

The first strain of DFTD was identified in 1996 and has spread to take over the whole island, while a second strain was identified in 2014 but is so far confined to the south-east of the island.

It is thought the disease spreads by cancer cells passed on from the bites of an infected individual, and tumours often destroy the bones of the jaw and cover the eyes making hunting difficult. Death usually takes six months.

Scientists recently said there were hopes that human cancer drugs could be used to assist the conservation effort.



A new species of jellyfish at the alien look has just been discovered at 3700 meters depth.


Sunday, April 24, 2016 during a diving expedition to 3.7 km deep and near a location called Enigma Seamount in the Mariana Trench, American scientists have filmed a sublime jellyfish with an alien look. Researchers from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric observation (NOAA) who were aboard the ship Okeanos Explorer, believe that this is a new species belonging to the genus hydromedusa Crossota. For information, the Mariana Trench is the deepest ocean trench currently known and is also the deepest point of the Earth’s crust known to man.

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