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Acoustics for ecosystem research: lessons and perspectives from a scientific programme focusing on tuna-environment relationships

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 July 2003

Arnaud Bertrand*
IRD, c/o Escuela de Ciencias del Mar, ECM-UCV, Av. Altamirano 1480, Casilla 1020, Valparaiso, Chile
Erwan Josse
Institut de recherche pour le développement, IRD, Centre de Bretagne, BP 70, 29280, Plouzané, France
Pascal Bach
IRD, Pôle Halieutique Méditerranéen et Tropical, avenue Jean Monnet, BP 171, 34203, Sète cedex, France
Laurent Dagorn
IRD, c/o Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, P.O. Box 1346, Coconut Island, Kaneohe, HI 96744, USA
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Fisheries management now extends from the stock to the ecosystem. The foundation for fisheries management on an ecosystem basis must lie in appropriate modelling of the ecosystems. A prerequisite for such models requires data on the two interactive components of the ecosystem: the biotope (physical environment), and the community of living species. In this context, acoustics become essential, as this tool can provide qualitative and quantitative data on various communities of species, and furthermore allows the seldom-attainable study of their interactions. In fact, acoustics allow the monitoring of entire communities, from plankton to large predators, as well as certain aspects of the physical environment, such as substratum characteristics. Acoustics have been used during the last two decades mainly to provide fishery-independent estimates of stocks. The intention of this paper is to promote the use of acoustics for studying marine ecosystems and to encourage the emergence of new generations of ecosystem models. As an example of integrative research based on acoustic data, we will present the approach and the results of a scientific programme (ECOTAP) carried out to study the tuna pelagic ecosystem in French Polynesia. We then discuss the use of acoustics as a tool for ecosystem-based studies and management.

Research Article
© Elsevier, IRD, Inra, Ifremer, Cemagref, 2003

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