Wallis 2018

Oceanographic survey: Inventory of sponges, molluscs and gorgonians from the island of Wallis


Sylvain Petek

Project type



Flotte océanographique française


Labex Mer


Service de l’environnement de Wallis & Futuna

Project duration

Start Date

July 18, 2018

End Date

August 3, 2018

This campaign in Wallis, which took place from 17/07 to 03/08/2018 on board the IRD oceanographic vessel ALIS, is part of the programme undertaken by IRD researchers in natural substances of marine origin and their partners on the biodiversity and chemodiversity of Pacific sponges. This archipelago is the missing link between French Polynesia and the western Pacific, which have already been prospected during the team’s previous campaigns to study the dispersion of sponges in this ocean using several characteristics: taxonomy, metabolomics, molecular phylogeny. This campaign will also be an opportunity to inventory gorgonians, as well as micro-molluscs that have not yet been surveyed in this archipelago.

The main operations carried out on board are sampling by scuba diving, description of organisms, habitats and fixation for museography.

In addition to the above-mentioned dispersal studies conducted on the zoological collections, the extracts obtained during this campaign will constitute a study base for answering several questions on the defence and adaptation mechanisms of these organisms.

The durability of the data and their accessibility are at the heart of the programme carried out on these samples in accordance with the Nagoya protocol. Knowledge of the natural heritage also enables local authorities to better preserve their environment and to contribute to the preparation of biodiversity conservation dossiers.

The team


Eric Folcher (IRD Nouméa, SEOH)

Mahé Dumas (IRD Nouméa, SEOH)

John Butscher (IRD Nouméa, LOCEAN)

Marco Oliverio (Univ. de Rome, Italie)

Merrick Ekins (Queensland Museum, Brisbane, Australie)