SA, France launch joint marine lab

2011-01-11 21:15

Cape Town - South African and French scientists on Tuesday launched a joint international laboratory that will develop models to assess how marine ecosystems respond to issues like climate change.

The International Centre for Education, Marine and Atmospheric Science over Africa (ICEMASA) is a four-year project focusing on climate variability, ocean circulation and impacts of global change on ecosystems and fisheries.

"One of the keys is to be able to forecast - to set up scenarios for the rest of the current century," said Francis Marsac, co-director of the project which has been running since 2009.

The centre will form a common database, also using information from other projects and from big industry such as French oil giant Total, which is providing marine and atmospheric data from its rigs in the region.

The French IRD institute provided an annual cash budget of €50 000 - of which €30 000 is for post-graduate students - and €1.2m for equipment and salaries.

Partners include the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa's departments of environment and agriculture, forestry and fisheries, and France's University de Bretagne Occidentale.