THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY HONG KONG
"The Deep Oceans"
Wednesday, 2 July 2008
2/F Olympic House, So Kong Po, Causeway Bay
Drinks Reception 6.30 pm; Lecture 7.30 pm
We are delighted to welcome to Hong Kong Claire Nouvian, to lecture on her extraordinary feats of undersea exploration, the least known of the earth's biospheres. Ms Nouvian is a writer, filmmaker and environmentalist who is a world leader in the study of, and building awareness of, the distant and vulnerable deep seas. This unusual lecture takes the audience into a largely unvisited world, which is richly illustrated by superb slides of extraordinary sights from numerous seas. Ms Nouvian is an explorer of the biological limits of our planet, down to the darkest abyssal realms.
Deep below the surface of the sea lies an unknown and unexplored world, comprising 99% of the living habitat on Earth, inhabited by vampire squids, lanternfish and millenary coral reefs. Our last frontier, the vast ocean depths harbour millions of species still unknown to science. Yet this world is threatened by deepsea fishing and global warming, and species go extinct unnoticed. Ms Nouvian is an ambassador for the deep sea, who seeks to preserve this treasure trove.
In 2001, Ms Nouvian visited Monterey Bay, where she saw a film with spectacular images of unusual creatures that lived to 4,000 metres depth. Fascinated by that new world, she searched for documents and books that would answer her innumerable questions about the deep sea; to her dismay, there was none. In technical publications, however, she found that the ocean's depths had been exploited for almost 30 years, with no regulation at all. Deep coral reefs 10,000 years old had disappeared within minutes under the crushing waves of fishing trawlers, destroying a unique global natural heritage at unprecedented speed.
This prompted Ms Nouvian to start detailed research and a crusade to ensure deep sea biodiversity would step out of the shade, using as many media channels as possible. She explored to 1,000 metres depth in the Atlantic Ocean on the JohnsonSeaLink submersible during a scientific cruise of the Harbour Branch Oceanographic Institute. Then, between 2002 and 2005, she wrote two awardwinning documentaries for "Arte", the FrancoGerman educational channel. She also founded the nonprofit association BLOOM, which aims at protecting the deep sea through public awareness campaigns. She also developed European school curricula to introduce school children with notions of vulnerable oceanic ecosystems.
In November 2007, Claire opened an exhibit "Into the Deep" that she curated at the Natural History Museum in Paris which was open until May 2008. This was the first public exhibit to show a large variety of deepsea species as well as numerous unpublished photos and videos. The exhibition is planned to travel to Asia, America, Europe and Africa in the coming years. To complete her message to the public, she is now developing a script for a feature film on the deep sea as well as a guidebook of recommendations for a global governance of marine resources.
Ms Nouvian is French but she was educated in several countries and speaks six languages. She engages in research, scientific seminars and public talks worldwide on the deep oceans. She collaborates with international nongovernmental organisations, and has recently been named the Ocean Ambassador of the World Conservation Union, which brings together 83 states, 111 government agencies, 800 NGOs plus some 10,000 scientists. In 2006, she published the seminal book "The Deep", the first visual encyclopedia of the deep sea, which also features accessible chapters to introduce readers to the vast diversity of deepsea ecosystems and phenomena. The book was widely praised by the international press and has won several awards, was published in seven languages, including reprinted five reprints in the United States. Sylvia Earle, ExplorerinResidence of The National Geographic Society, wrote " "The Deep" is the most stunningly beautiful book about the sea ever produced".
Members and their guests are most welcome to attend this lecture, which is HK$50 for Members, HK$100 for guests and $150 for others.