The goals of the BIOPAPUA cruise were to explore the deep-sea benthic fauna with three nested objectives:
- Deep-sea benthic biodiversity and new species; Description of fauna and barcode species identifiers, with discovery of new species,
- Sunken wood ecosystem; Focus on sunken wood-associated fauna and selected species through research on the functioning of this deep-sea ecosystem in an evolutionary perspective.
- Endemism and isolation by the exploration of seamounts; Endemism and seamounts by correlations between age and isolation of seamounts and composition of the benthic fauna including the understanding of dispersal strategies of the species.
The choice of the areas to explore (Bismarck sea and west of Salomon sea) is justifying according to the research thematic
Scientific context :
To date, Papua New Guinea area remains unexplored for biologists and more precisely about its deep sea benthic biodiversity. Located in the middle of the IndoPacific coral triangle, this area constitute therefore one of the most important issue for the Tropical Deep Sea Benthos explorations. By its diversified marine environments and its geological and geodynamic history, PNG oceans (Bismarck Sea and West Salomon Sea) have to be investigated. That’s why, the main objectives of the deep-sea cruise BIOPAPUA is to establish a reference state of the benthic biodiversity. Three main investigations will be deployed during this cruise (Deep-sea benthic biodiversity, functioning and evolutionary perspective of the sunken woods ecosystems and Seamount endemism).
The planned results will bring unique data for the scientific community which will be exploited in our research projects “Seamounts” and “Sunken wood ecosystems”.
57 dredging with a Warén dredge and 99 trawling with a beam trawl were down during this cruise. The marine fauna have been explored between 100 and 1 300 meters of depth.