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Region Results: Oceania

Detailed results on the deep-sea capacity of 28 geographical areas in Oceania, including indices for subregional comparisons.

Published onSep 12, 2022
Region Results: Oceania
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1. Region Overview

There are four subregions in Oceania: Micronesia, Melanesia, Polynesia, and Australia & New Zealand (Figure 1). These subregions encompass 33 geographical areas (GeoAreas), 16 of which are sovereign countries (49%), and 17 of which are dependent territories (52%) (Figure 2A; Oceania GeoAreas)[1]. Eight GeoAreas in Oceania are high income (25%), five are upper middle income (16%), six are lower middle income (16%), and fourteen are not economically classified (44%) (Figure 2B; Oceania Income Groups)[2]. Nineteen GeoAreas in Oceania (58% of all GeoAreas in Oceania) are Small Island Developing States (SIDS), including all GeoAreas in Micronesia and Melanesia (Oceania GeoAreas)[1].

Figure 1

Oceania Subregions
Map of Oceania showing the four subregions used in the 2022 Global Deep-Sea Capacity Assessment: Micronesia, Melanesia, Polynesia, and Australia & New Zealand, indicated by shades of red for each subregion’s exclusive economic zones (EEZs). [1][3][4][5]


This assessment includes information about the technical and human capacity of 28 GeoAreas in Oceania. For 10 GeoAreas, we have both survey and research data; for 18 GeoAreas, we have only research data (Figure 2C; Oceania Data Sources). We did not collect research data for the remaining five GeoAreas because they are uninhabited or not permanently inhabited.

Figure 2

GeoArea Information
(A) Number of sovereign countries (blue) and dependent territories (orange) in each subregion of Oceania. (B) Number of high income (blue), upper middle income (orange), lower middle income (yellow), low income (teal), and not classified (grey) GeoAreas in each subregion of Oceania. (C) Number of GeoAreas in Oceania with survey and research data (blue), research data only (yellow), and no data (grey) used in this assessment for each subregion. [1][2]


All GeoAreas in Oceania claim marine Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs), covering a total area of 42,860,000 km2 (Figure 3; Oceania EEZs)[3][4][5]. All Oceanian GeoAreas also have deep ocean in their EEZs (200+ m), encompassing an area of approximately 40,130,000 km2, or 94% of the total EEZ area within the jurisdiction of Oceanian GeoAreas. 

Figure 3

Exclusive Economic Zones
(A) Number of GeoAreas with >1% deep ocean within their EEZ (blue). (B) Area of each depth zone for all EEZs claimed in each subregion of Oceania. (C) Area of EEZs in Oceania by oceanographic depth zone. [3][4][5]


While Australia & New Zealand claim the largest EEZ area, Polynesia holds the largest deep-sea area within its EEZs. Micronesia and Melanesia’s EEZ areas are roughly 60% the size of Australia & New Zealand, and Polynesia. Australia, French Polynesia, New Zealand, Kiribati, and Micronesia have the largest deep-ocean areas within their EEZs in Oceania. 

The largest depth zone in Oceania by area lies 4,000-6,000 meters below sea level (mbsl), covering 50% of all Oceanian EEZs, followed by 2,000 to 4,000 mbsl (30% of all EEZs in Oceania) (Table 3). The largest depth zone in Micronesia, Polynesia, Australia & New Zealand is 4,000-6,000 mbsl. In Melanesia, the largest depth zone is 2,000 to 4,000 mbsl.

RESEARCHER PERSPECTIVE
“In recent years, minerals such as manganese nodules found at 4,000-6,000 m have become of global interest and value. Because of this new interest, there is an invested drive to understand how these resources can be extracted with minimal impact and understand better the environment in which these nodules are formed. Much research and data are now required to provide new information on these nodule-rich areas within the Pacific, particularly for the Cook Islands, Nauru, and Tonga. Using deep-sea mining as an example, the Global Deep-Sea Capacity Assessment provides a platform where governments and NGOs from Oceania can now access information on where current deep-sea capacity resources are.” --Alanna Smith, Te Ipukarea Society, Cook Islands


2. Survey Responses & Demographics

2.1 Geographic & Demographic Representation

Respondents were asked four questions about their geographic and demographic representation: which GeoArea they represent, in what GeoArea they live, their gender identification, and their age group.

Which GeoArea would you like to represent for this survey? (Q1)
Twenty-three complete surveys representing 10 GeoAreas in Oceania were submitted to the Global Deep-Sea Capacity Assessment Survey (Figure 4). Two responses were for Micronesia, 11 for Melanesia, 5 for Polynesia, and 5 for Australia & New Zealand. We received the most surveys from Vanuatu (5), Australia (3), and the Cook Islands (3). We received only three survey responses for each of three GeoAreas. Most respondents lived in the GeoArea they were representing (83%).

Figure 4

Respondent Geographic Representation
GeoAreas in Oceania with one survey response (A), 2-3 survey responses (B), and 4-9 survey responses (C). [3][4][5]

Figure 5

Respondent Demographic Representation
(A)
Gender identity of survey respondents for each subregion of Oceania. (B) Number of survey respondents by age group for each subregion of Oceania.

As what gender do you identify? (Q41)
Equal numbers of respondents for Oceania were female, male (11 respondents; 48% each), and one was agender (4%) (Figure 5A). 

What is your age? (Q39)
Overall, Oceania has the most representation from respondents in the 25-34 year and 35-44 year age groups (35% each), followed by the 45-54 year and 55-64 year age groups (22%, 9%) (Figure 5B). There were no responses from the 18-24 year or 65+ year age groups.

2.2 Professional Representation

Respondents were asked four questions about their professional representation: what is their highest level of education completed, in what organizational sector do they work, what are their primary roles, and in what marine environments do they work.

What is the highest degree or education level you have completed? (Q42)
The majority of respondents for Oceania held advanced degrees: 8 had a doctorate or master's degree (35% each). Five held a bachelor's degree (22%), and two had completed some graduate school, high school, or other education (9%) (Figure 6A).

What is the organizational sector of your affiliation? (Q43)
Most respondents for Oceania work in a government position (30%), followed by other sectors (22%) and non-governmental organizations and academia (17% each) (Figure 6B).

Figure 6

Respondent Professional Representation
(A)
Completed education level of respondents for each subregion of Oceania. (B) Organizational sector of respondents for each subregion: academia (Acad), government (Gov), not-for-profit (NFP), non-governmental organization (NGO), or other. (C) Number of respondents who identified with up to three roles that they represent in their communities: science/research (Sci), education/outreach (Edu), conservation/advocacy (Cons), management/policy/law (Mgt), student/early career researcher (ECR), engineering/technology (Eng), developing nation/community (Dev), aquatics/recreation (Aqua), traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), Government (Gov), or other.


What are the primary roles you represent in your GeoArea? (Q5)
Respondents were asked to select up to three primary roles they represented in their communities from a list of the following options: science/research, education/outreach, policy/law/management/government, developing nation/community, engineering/technology, traditional knowledge, aquatics/recreation, industry/investment, philanthropy, student/early career, conservation/advocacy they were also allowed to enter free-text if a role of theirs was not an option.

Seventeen respondents considered themselves scientists or researchers (74%), 11 worked in conservation (48%), eight in education and outreach (35%), and six in management/policy/law (26%). Three were students or early career researchers (13%). Three respondents represented engineering/technology, developing nations/communities, and traditional ecological knowledge (13% each) (Figure 6C).

If you carry out field research, in what marine environment(s) do you work? (Q6)
Respondents were asked to select all marine environments in which they do field work from a list of the following options: inshore, nearshore, continental shelf, deepwater, or none of the above; they were also allowed to enter free-text if a marine environment in which they work was not an option.

Figure 7

Respondent Field Research Environments
Number of respondents who work in each marine environment, by subregion of Oceania: inshore, nearshore, continental shelf (Shelf), deep ocean (Deep), other areas (Other), or none of the above (None).

The largest fraction of respondents worked in the nearshore environment (48%) (Figure 7). 

Nearly half of the respondents for Oceania worked in the deep-sea environment (44%). All respondents for Australia & New Zealand worked in deep water, followed by Micronesia (50%), Melanesia (27%), and Polynesia (20%). Eight respondents (35%) worked in more than one field environment. Two respondents (9%) worked in other environments or did not conduct fieldwork. 

3. Issues, Challenges, & Opportunities

3.1 Highlights

  • Issues | Conservation & protection, climate change, and seabed mining were the three most important deep-sea issues identified by respondents for Oceania.

  • Challenges | Funding, human capacity, and access to deep submergence vehicles were the three most important challenges identified by respondents for Oceania.

  • Opportunities | More precise data collection technology, training opportunities, and better data tools were identified as the most exciting opportunities by respondents for Oceania.

3.2 Deep-Sea Issues

What are the three most important deep-sea issues in your GeoArea? (Q3)
Respondents were asked to select up to three deep-sea issues that they considered most important for their GeoArea from a list of the following options: basic science & exploration, fisheries & aquaculture, seabed mining, conservation & protection, maritime archaeology & history, offshore oil & gas, renewable energy, safety & security, telecommunications, and climate change; they were also allowed to enter free-text if an issue was not an option.

Conservation & protection (23% of all selections), climate change (20%), and seabed mining (14%) were the three most important issues across Oceania (Table 1).

Table 1

Subregion of Oceania

Most important deep-sea issues identified by respondents for Oceania

Micronesia

Conservation & protection (33%)
Climate change (33%)
Basic science & exploration (17%)
Safety & security (17%)

Melanesia

Conservation & protection (23%)
Climate change (23%) 
Fisheries & aquaculture (13%)
Seabed mining (13%)

Polynesia

Seabed mining (33%)
Conservation & protection (20%)
Fisheries & aquaculture (20%)

Australia & New Zealand

Basic science & exploration (23%)
Conservation & protection (23%)
Climate change (23%) 

In Micronesia, conservation & protection and climate change were considered the most important deep-sea issues, followed by basic science & exploration and safety & security. In Melanesia, conservation & protection and climate change were considered the most important deep-sea issues, followed by fisheries & aquaculture and seabed mining. In Polynesia, seabed mining was the most important, followed by conservation & protection and fisheries & aquaculture. In Australia & New Zealand, basic science & exploration, conservation & protection, and climate change were ranked equally as the most important deep-sea issues.

3.3 Deep-Sea Challenges

What are the top three challenges to deep-sea exploration and research in your GeoArea? (Q33)
Respondents were asked to select up to three deep-sea exploration and research challenges that they consider most important for their GeoArea from a list of the following options: funding, access to vessels, access to deep submergence vehicles, access to deep-sea sensors, access to data tools, scalability of technologies, human capacity/knowledge to do deep-sea research, lack of connections with other deep-sea researchers; they were also allowed to enter free-text if a challenge was not an option.

Funding (32%), human capacity (26%), and access to deep submergence vehicles (14%) were the three most important challenges in Oceania (Table 2). 

Table 2

Subregion of Oceania

Most important deep-sea challenges identified by respondents for Oceania

Micronesia

Capacity/knowledge to do deep sea research (33%)
Funding (17%)
Access to vessels (17%)
Lack of connections (17%)
Access to data tools (17%)

Melanesia

Funding (33%)
Capacity/knowledge to do deep sea research (27%)
Access to deep submergence vehicles (12%)

Polynesia

Funding (33%)
Capacity/knowledge to do deep sea research (33%)
Access to deep submergence vehicles (13%)

Australia & New Zealand

Funding (31%)
Access to deep submergence vehicles (25%) 
Capacity/knowledge to do deep sea research (13%)
Scalability of technology (13%)

In Micronesia, human capacity was considered the most important challenge to deep-sea exploration and research, followed by funding, access to vessels, lack of connections, and access to data tools. In Melanesia, funding was considered the most important challenge to deep-sea exploration and research, followed by human capacity and access to deep submergence vehicles. In Polynesia, funding and human capacity were considered the most important challenges to deep-sea exploration and research, followed by access to deep submergence vehicles. In Australia & New Zealand, funding was considered the most important challenge to deep-sea exploration and research, followed by access to deep submergence vehicles (25%) and human capacity and scalability of technology.

3.4 Deep-Sea Opportunities

What are you most excited about in the next 5-10 years for deep-sea exploration and research in your GeoArea? (Q34)
Respondents were asked to select up to three opportunities in the next 5-10 years that they were most excited about for their GeoArea from a list of the following options: technology that can go deeper, less expensive data collection technologies, better/more precise data collection technologies, scalable platforms & sensors, better data access and analysis tools, training opportunities, and networking/connecting with others; they were also allowed to enter free-text if an opportunity was not an option.

The three most exciting opportunities identified by respondents for Oceania were: more precise data collection technology (18%), training opportunities (17%), and better data tools (15%) (Table 3).

Table 3

Subregion of Oceania

Most exciting opportunities identified by respondents for Oceania

Micronesia

Less expensive data collection technology (20%)
More precise data collection technology (20%)
Better data tools (20%)

Melanesia

Training opportunities (23%)
More precise data collection technology (16%)
Less expensive data collection technology (14%)

Polynesia

Training opportunities (17%)
Connecting with others (17%)
More precise data collection technology (17%)
Technology that can go deeper (17%)

Australia & New Zealand

Better data tools (29%)
More precise data collection technology (21%)
Less expensive data collection technology (14%)
Technology that can go deeper (14%)
Scalable platforms & sensors (14%)

In Micronesia, the most exciting opportunities were: less expensive data collection technology, more precise data collection technology, and better data tools. In Melanesia, respondents were most excited about training opportunities, more precise data collection technology, and less expensive data collection technology. In Polynesia, the most exciting opportunities were: training opportunities, connecting with others, more precise data collection technology, and deeper technology. In Australia & New Zealand, respondents were most excited about better data tools, more precise data collection technology, and less expensive data collection technology, deeper technology, and scalable platforms & sensors.

"Tonga is one of those countries that gives license for exploration in its EEZ. So for all we know from the contracting company, they can give any erroneous data and we have no way of validating them. Tonga would benefit from an ROV." Respondent for Tonga, Polynesia


4. Status of Deep-Sea Exploration & Research

4.1 Highlights

  • Global Context | Respondents for Oceania had the second-highest agreement that deep-sea exploration and research were considered important in their GeoAreas, the third-lowest agreement that they have in-country deep-sea technology, and the lowest agreement that they have in-country deep-sea expertise. 

  • Regional Comparisons | 

    • Melanesia and Micronesia had a high agreement that deep-sea exploration and research were considered important in respondents’ GeoAreas, and low agreement that they had both in-country deep-sea technology and expertise. 

    • Polynesia had a low to moderate agreement that deep-sea exploration and research were considered important in respondents’ GeoAreas, and a low agreement that they had both in-country deep-sea technology and expertise. 

    • Australia & New Zealand had a low to moderate agreement that deep-sea exploration and research were considered important in respondents’ GeoAreas, and high agreement that they had both in-country deep-sea technology and expertise. 

4.2 Importance, Tools, & Expertise

How would you assess the status of deep-sea (>200 m) exploration and research in your GeoArea? (Q4)
Survey respondents were asked to assess the status of deep-sea exploration and research in their GeoArea by stating to what extent they agreed with the following statements on a five-point scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree:

  1. Deep-sea exploration and research are considered important in my GeoArea.

  2. We have in-country technology to conduct deep-sea exploration and research.

  3. We have in-country expertise to conduct deep-sea exploration and research.

Overall, 65% of respondents for Oceania agreed that exploration and research were considered important in their GeoArea (Figure 8A). Almost three-quarters of respondents (74%) disagreed that they had the in-country technology to conduct deep-sea exploration and research (Figure 8B). More than half of respondents (61%) disagreed that they had the in-country expertise to conduct deep-sea exploration and research (Figure 8C).

Figure 8

Deep-Sea Importance, Technology, & Expertise
(A)
Number of respondents who agreed (green) or disagreed (blue) that deep-sea exploration and research is considered important in their GeoArea, by subregion of Oceania. (B) Number of respondents who agreed (green) or disagreed (blue) that their GeoArea has in-country deep-sea tools and technology, by subregion. (C) Number of respondents who agreed (green) or disagreed (blue) that their GeoArea has in-country deep-sea expertise, by subregion.


Both respondents for Micronesia agreed that deep-sea exploration and research were considered important in their GeoArea; 50% disagreed that they had the in-country deep-sea tools, technology, and human expertise. In Melanesia, 73% agreed that deep-sea exploration and research were considered important in their GeoArea, 91% disagreed that their GeoArea has the technology, and 72% disagreed that they had in-country expertise. 

In Polynesia, 60% agreed that deep-sea exploration and research were considered important in their GeoArea, but 100% disagreed that they had in-country tools and expertise. In Australia & New Zealand, there was no consensus on the statement regarding the consideration of the importance of deep-ocean exploration and research by their GeoAreas, with an equal number of respondents agreeing and disagreeing. On the other hand, 80% of Australia & New Zealand respondents agreed that they had in-country tools and technology, and 100% agreed that they had in-country expertise.

4.3 Deep-Sea Capacity Status Parameters

Based on the survey results of Question 4 above, we aggregated the responses for which respondents agreed or strongly agreed that (1) deep-sea exploration and research are considered important in their GeoArea, (2) they have in-country deep-sea technology, and (3) they have in-country deep-sea expertise. These data were used to calculate three Deep-Sea Capacity Status Parameters (SPs) to compare respondents’ perceptions of the relative importance of deep-sea exploration and research in their GeoArea, and the existence of deep-sea technology and expertise in their GeoArea. The SPs were calculated for each subregion of the world.

Figure 9

Deep-Sea Capacity Status Parameters
(A)
Number of subregions in Oceania with each Importance Status Parameter (reds), compared to all other regions (grey). (B) Number of subregions in Oceania with each Technology Status Parameter (reds), compared to all other regions (grey). (C) Number of subregions in Oceania with each Expertise Status Parameter (reds), compared to all other regions (grey).


The Importance Status Parameter (Importance SP) assessed the respondent-reported importance of deep-sea exploration and research in their GeoArea (Figure 9A). Oceania had the second highest average Importance SP after Asia, indicating that respondents for Oceania thought that deep-sea exploration and research were considered important in their GeoArea, more than most other regions. Micronesia and Melanesia had high Importance SPs of 4 or 5, while Polynesia and Australia & New Zealand had low to moderate Importance SPs of 2 or 3. 

The Technology Status Parameter (Technology SP) assessed the respondent-reported existence of deep-sea tools and technology in their GeoArea (Figure 9B). Oceania had the third lowest average Technology SP, after Latin America & the Caribbean and Africa, indicating that respondents for Oceania thought that deep-sea tools and technology generally did not exist in their GeoArea. All subregions in Africa had low (2) or very low (1) Technology SPs, similar to most subregions worldwide.

The Expertise Status Parameter (Expertise SP) assessed the respondent-reported existence of deep-sea expertise in their GeoArea (Figure 9C). Oceania had the lowest average Expertise SP, along with Latin America & the Caribbean, indicating that respondents thought that in-country expertise required to carry out deep-sea exploration and research generally did not exist in their GeoArea. All but one subregion of Oceania had low (2) or very low (1) Expertise SPs; Australia & New Zealand had a very high Expertise SP of 5.

4.4 Status Parameter Groups

The Deep-Sea Capacity Status Parameters (SPs) are based on respondents’ opinions of their GeoArea and are calculated on a scale of 1 for low agreement to 5 for high agreement with each statement (Data Collection & Analysis). SPs vary by subregion, which are classified into six SP Groups based on the level of agreement with each of the status parameters (Table 4). Using the SP Groups, we can evaluate respondents’ perceptions of the importance of and existence of in-country resources for deep-sea exploration and research at the subregional level.

Table 4

SP Group

Importance

Tech

Expertise

Subregions

A

High

High

High

Northern Europe, Western Europe, Eastern Asia

B

Low

High

High

Australia & New Zealand, Northern America

C

Low

Low

Mid

Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, Western Asia, Northern Africa, South America

D

High

Low

Mid

Southeastern Asia, Western Africa

E

High

Low

Low

Melanesia, Micronesia, Southern Asia, Eastern Africa

F

Low

Low

Low

Polynesia, Middle Africa, Southern Africa, Central America, Caribbean

Oceania’s subregions were divided between SP Groups B, E, and F, demonstrating very high variation in the in-country importance of deep-sea exploration and research and the perceived existence of in-country tools and expertise in this region.

Australia & New Zealand were in SP Group B, indicating low agreement that deep-sea exploration and research were considered important in respondents’ GeoAreas, and high agreement that they had both in-country deep-sea technology and expertise. Northern America was also in this group.

Melanesia and Micronesia were in SP Group E, indicating high agreement that deep-sea exploration and research were considered important in respondents’ GeoAreas, a low agreement that they had both in-country deep-sea technology and expertise. Other subregions in this group included Southern Asia and Eastern Africa.

Polynesia was in SP Group F, indicating low agreement that deep-sea exploration and research were considered important in respondents’ GeoAreas, and low agreement that they had both in-country deep-sea technology and expertise. Other subregions in this group include Middle Africa and Central America.

"About time to commence work in this area as we have the Government submarine cable for telecommunications in the country. No deep sea marine scientists to monitor the impacts of this." --Respondent for Vanuatu, Melanesia


5. Deep-Sea Capacity Presence, Accessibility, & Satisfaction

5.1 Highlights

  • Global Context | Oceania had the lowest average presence of marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology, and respondents had the lowest average access to technology and the third lowest average satisfaction with the technology to which they had access compared to other regions worldwide.

  • Regional Presence, Accessibility, & Satisfaction | Australia & New Zealand had a mid to high presence of marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology, access to technology, and satisfaction with them. Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia had a low presence of marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology, low access to technology, and low to mid satisfaction with the technology to which they had access. 

5.2 Presence, Accessibility, & Satisfaction Indices

We assessed organizations, industries, vessels, DSVs, sensors, and data tools using research to identify the presence of capacity in each GeoArea and survey responses to identify accessibility to and satisfaction of vessels, DSVs, sensors, and data tools in each subregion. We used this data to calculate three Deep-Sea Capacity Indices (DSC Indices) to enable comparisons between locations in terms of presence of, access to, and satisfaction with the various types of capacities.

In contrast to the Status Parameters, which are focused on the overall respondent perception of their GeoArea, the DSC Indices represent extensive research on marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology presence, survey respondents’ access to specific types of deep-sea technology, and respondents’ satisfaction with the technology to which they have access. The DSC Indices, therefore, are an initial attempt to assess the relative ability of researchers to conduct deep-sea exploration and research.

Figure 10

Deep-Sea Capacity Indices
(A)
Number of GeoAreas in Oceania with each DSC Presence Index (reds), compared to all other regions (grey). High DSCPIs indicate higher diversity of capacity types present in each GeoArea. (B) Number of subregions in Oceania with each DSC Accessibility Index (reds), compared to all other regions (grey). High DSCAIs indicate higher access to more types of deep-sea capacities. (C) Number of subregions in Oceania with each DSC Satisfaction Index (reds), compared to all other regions (grey). High DSCSIs indicate more overall satisfaction with the deep-sea capacities to which respondents had access.


The Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (DSCPI) assessed the research-based presence of organizations and diversity of marine industries, vessels, DSVs, sensor systems, and data tools in each GeoArea; higher values indicate higher diversity of capacity types present in each GeoArea (Figure 10A). Oceania had the lowest average DSCPIs compared to other regions of the world. Melanesia and Australia & New Zealand had the highest DSCPIs, indicating that GeoAreas in these two subregions had the most types of marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology in Oceania. Polynesia had the lowest average DSCPI in Oceania and the highest variation, indicating a generally low and heterogeneous distribution of resources in this subregion. Australia was the only GeoArea in Oceania with the maximum DSCPI of 5, while Nauru, Pitcairn Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, and Tuvalu had the minimum DSCPI of 1. 

The Deep Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (DSCAI) assessed the respondent-reported access to different types of vessels, DSVs, sensor systems, and data tools in each subregion; higher values indicate higher access to more types of these deep-sea capacities in each subregion (Figure 10B). Oceania had the lowest average DSCAIs compared to other regions of the world. Australia & New Zealand had a high DSCAI of 4, the highest in Oceania, indicating that respondents for Australia & New Zealand had the highest access to the most types of deep-sea tools, but less than Northern America and Northern Europe having a DSCAI of 5. Micronesia had a DSCAI of 1, the only subregion in the world with the minimum accessibility index.

The Deep Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (DSCSI) assessed the respondent-reported satisfaction with vessels, DSVs, sensor systems, and data tools in each subregion, based on several factors, including cost, availability, and capabilities; higher values indicate more overall satisfaction with the deep-sea capacities to which respondents had access in each subregion (Figure 10C). Oceania had the third lowest average DSCSIs in the world, after Latin America & the Caribbean and Africa. Australia & New Zealand and Polynesia had a DSCSI of 3–the highest in Oceania, indicating moderate satisfaction with deep-sea technology compared to other subregions. In contrast, Melanesia and Micronesia had DSCSIs of 1, the only subregions in the world with the minimum satisfaction index.

5.3 Deep-Sea Capacity Index Groups

Using the Deep-Sea Capacity Indices, we identified four Deep-Sea Capacity Index Groups (DSC Groups) of subregions based on similarities concerning the presence of marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology, access to technology, and satisfaction with the technology available (Table 5).

Table 5

DSC Group

Presence

Access

Satisfaction

Subregions

A

Mid-high

High

High

Northern Europe, Northern America

B

Mid

Mid

Mid

Australia & New Zealand, Western Europe, Southern Europe, Eastern Asia, Southeastern Asia

C

Mid

Low-mid

Low-mid

Eastern Europe, Western Asia, Southern Asia, Northern Africa, Southern Africa, South America

D

Low

Low

Low-mid

Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia, Western Africa, Middle Africa, Eastern Africa, Central America, Caribbean

Oceania’s subregions were split between DSC Groups B and D, demonstrating wide variation and mostly low presence of, access to, and satisfaction with marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology across the region. 

Australia & New Zealand was in DSC Group B, indicating mid to high presence of marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology, access to technology, and satisfaction with them. Other subregions in this group included Western Europe and Eastern Asia.

Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia were in DSC Group D, indicating a low presence of marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology, low access to technology, and low to mid satisfaction with the technology to which they have access. Other subregions in this group included Middle Africa and the Caribbean.

6. Organizations & Industries

6.1 Highlights

  • Organizations | We identified 170 deep-sea and marine organizations in Oceania: 60 universities and research laboratories, 69 government agencies and ministries, and 41 other organizations. Australia & New Zealand had the highest normalized number of organizations per GeoArea; Micronesia had the lowest. 

  • Industries | The most common types of industries found in Oceania were fisheries & aquaculture and marine transportation, followed by tourism. The least present industry was deep-sea mining, although this industry is in development.

6.2 Organizations

Which universities and/or research labs, government agencies/ministries, and other organizations in your GeoArea study the deep sea or deal with deep-sea issues? (Q7-9, Q7-9R)
We surveyed respondents and conducted manual research to identify deep-sea and marine organizations, including universities and research laboratories, government agencies and ministries, and other organizations. Each research and survey data source had a limit of 5 organizations per type (lab, government, or other) per GeoArea. Overall, 119 deep-sea and marine organizations in Oceania were found through manual research alone (70%), 27 were recorded from the survey alone (16%), and 24 were identified by both research and the survey (14%).

We identified 170 deep-sea and marine organizations in Oceania; 60 were universities and research laboratories (35% of the total), 69 were government agencies and ministries (41%), and 41 were other organizations (24%) (Figure 11A).The greatest total number of organizations were found in Polynesia and the fewest in Melanesia. When normalized by the number of organizations per GeoArea, however, Australia & New Zealand had the highest average number of organizations per GeoArea; Micronesia had the lowest. 

Figure 11

Organizations
(A)
Number of academic institutions (blue), government agencies (orange), and other organizations (grey) based in each subregion of Oceania that do marine and/or deep-sea work. Number of survey and research data sources for each subregion (yellow line). (B) Number of GeoAreas in Oceania with each Organizational Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (reds), compared to all other regions (grey). Higher Org DSCPIs indicate a higher abundance of organizations present in each GeoArea.


The Organizational Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (Org DSCPI) assessed the research-based presence of government, research, and other marine organizations in each GeoArea; higher values indicated a higher abundance of organizations present in each GeoArea. Most Org DSCPIs in Oceania were very low (1) or low (2) (Figure 11B). One GeoArea, Australia, had the maximum Org DSCPI of 5, and 14 GeoAreas in Oceania (50%) had the minimum Org DSCPI of 1. Australia & New Zealand was the only subregion in Oceania with an Org DSCPI of 5, while 27 GeoAreas (86%) had an Org DSCPI of 1 or 2, mainly in Micronesia and Polynesia. 

6.3 Marine Industries

What marine industries exist in each GeoArea? (Q10R)
We researched whether or not ten different marine industries were present in each GeoArea from a list of the following options: fisheries & aquaculture, marine transportation, tourism, conservation & protection, offshore oil & gas, safety & surveillance, marine construction, marine research & development, ocean renewable energy, and deep-sea mining.

Marine transportation and fishing & aquaculture were the most common industries found, present in 27 GeoAreas (96%), followed by tourism, present in 24 GeoAreas (86%) (Figure 12A). The least present industry was offshore oil & gas, present in seven GeoAreas (25%). Active deep-sea mining industries were absent. However, 16 GeoAreas across Oceania were currently prospecting for deep-sea mining, with capabilities being led by foreign countries (e.g., Belgium, Germany, Canada, Russia).

Figure 12

Marine Industries: Research
(A)
Percent of GeoAreas in each region of Oceania in which each type of marine industry was found: fisheries & aquaculture (Fish Aqua), marine transportation (Trans), tourism (Tour), conservation & protection (Cons Prot), offshore oil & gas (Oil Gas), safety & surveillance (Safety Surv), research & development (R&D), renewable energy (Renew Energy), and deep-sea mining (Deep Mining). (B) Number of GeoAreas in Oceania with each Industry Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (reds), compared to all other regions (grey). High Industry DSCPIs indicate high diversity of industry types present in each GeoArea.


Only one GeoArea of Oceania, New Zealand, had all types of industries if we include the prospecting for deep-sea mining, while thirteen GeoAreas found across Oceania had five or fewer types of industries, including Nauru, where only two industry types were found. 

The Industry Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (Industry DSCPI) assessed the research-based presence of types of marine industries in each GeoArea; higher values indicated higher diversity of industry types present in each GeoArea. Industry DSCPIs in Oceania ranged from very low (1) to very high (5), similar to Asia (Figure 12B). One GeoArea, New Zealand, had the maximum Industry DSCPI of 5, and one, Nauru, had the minimum Industry DSCPI of 1. Melanesia had the most GeoAreas with high Industry DSCPIs of 4 or 5 (80%). In comparison, Micronesia and Polynesia had the only GeoAreas in Oceania with DSCPIs of 1 or 2 (29-30%), Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Tokelau, and Tuvalu.

What marine industries exist in your GeoArea? (Q10)
Survey respondents were asked to select all the marine industries in their GeoArea from a list of the following options: fisheries & aquaculture, marine transportation, tourism, conservation & protection, offshore oil & gas, safety & surveillance, marine construction, marine research & development, ocean renewable energy, deep-sea mining, or none of the above; they were also allowed to enter free-text if a marine industry in their GeoArea was not an option.

Figure 13

Marine Industries: Survey
Percent of survey respondents for each subregion of Oceania who indicated that each marine industry was present in their GeoArea. Industries included: fisheries & aquaculture (Fish Aqua), marine transportation (Trans), tourism (Tour), conservation & protection (Cons Prot), offshore oil & gas (Oil Gas), safety & surveillance (Safety Surv), research & development (R&D), renewable energy (Renew Energy), deep-sea mining (Deep Mining), or Other.

The majority of respondents for Oceania selected fisheries & aquaculture and marine transportation industries (96% for both), which were also the two most common industries found in our research (Figure 13). We also found that 86% of GeoAreas had tourism, and 87% of survey respondents identified that tourism existed in their GeoArea. On the contrary, we found few GeoAreas with renewable energy (32%), an industry similarly rarely listed by respondents (30%).

We found the biggest differences in research and survey results for marine R&D and safety & surveillance; significantly more of these industries were found in research than identified by survey respondents. Conversely, respondents selected conservation & protection and deep-sea mining significantly more than the number of such active industries found through research for Oceania. Deep-sea mining was still the least often mentioned industry by respondents (22%).

Other types of industries listed by respondents included steelworks and small boat building. Several respondents noted that while deep-sea mining isn’t effective yet, the industry is being considered for their GeoArea.

7. Vessels

7.1 Highlights

  • Importance | 78% of respondents for Oceania considered ships and vessels important for their work.

  • Presence | Recreational vessels were the most present, followed by fishing vessels. Navy vessels were the least present type of vessel found in Oceania.

  • Access | The most accessible vessels in Oceania were fishing vessels, followed by traditional vessels. More than a third of respondents for Oceania reported having no access to vessels.

  • Satisfaction | Respondents for Oceania were generally dissatisfied with vessels in their GeoArea, including all aspects of vessel operation: availability, capabilities, cost, duration, and size. Respondents for Australia & New Zealand had the highest vessel satisfaction rating, while respondents for Melanesia and Polynesia were the least satisfied.

  • Potential Impact | 65% of respondents for Oceania reported that increased access to vessels would have a high impact or would be transformative for their work. 

7.2 Vessel Importance

How important are ships/vessels for your work? (Q11)
Respondents were asked how important ships and vessels were for their work on a five-point scale from not important to very important.

Figure 14

Vessels: Importance
Number of survey respondents for each subregion of Oceania who considered vessels very important or important (green) to little or not important (blue) for their work.

The majority of respondents for Oceania (78%) considered ships and vessels very important for their work (Figure 14).

In Micronesia and Australia & New Zealand, all respondents considered vessels important to very important, while 64% of respondents for Melanesia and 80% of respondents for Polynesia agreed.

7.3 Vessel Presence: Research Results

What types of vessels are present in each GeoArea? (Q12R)
We researched the types of vessels present in each GeoArea, specifically if the GeoArea had research, fishing, cruise ships, recreational, traditional, or navy vessels. We recorded the presence or absence of each type of vessel, with presence meaning that at least one vessel of a given type was present in the GeoArea.

In Oceania, recreational vessels were the most present, found in 25 GeoAreas (89%), followed by fishing vessels, present in 20 GeoAreas (68%). Navy vessels were the least present, found in 13 GeoAreas (46%) (Figure 15A). 

Figure 15

Vessels: Presence
(A)
Percent of GeoAreas in each subregion of Oceania in which each type of vessel was found through research: research vessels, fishing vessels, recreational vessels (Rec), traditional vessels (Trad), cruise ships (Cruise), or navy vessels (Navy). (B) Number of GeoAreas in Oceania with each Vessel Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (reds), compared to all other regions (grey). High Vessel DSCPIs indicate higher diversity of vessel types present in each GeoArea.


Three GeoAreas (11%), New Zealand, Marshall Islands, and Tonga, had all types of vessels. Thirteen GeoAreas (46%), distributed across Oceania, had two or three types of vessels present.

Recreational vessels were found in all GeoAreas of Micronesia, while fishing vessels were present in all GeoAreas of Melanesia. In Polynesia, recreational vessels were the most present, found in nine GeoAreas (90%). In Australia & New Zealand, research and recreational vessels were present in all GeoAreas.

The Vessel Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (Vessel DSCPI) assessed the research-based presence of types of vessels in each GeoArea; higher values indicated higher diversity of vessel types present in each GeoArea. Using the Vessel DSCPI, we found that vessels were the technical capacity with the highest presence in Oceania (Figure 15B). Twelve GeoAreas (43%) across Africa had the maximum Vessel DSCPI of 5 (i.e., many types of vessels were present), and three had a Vessel DSCPI of 4 (11%). There were no GeoAreas with a very low Vessel DSCPI of 1. GeoAreas in Oceania had higher Vessel DSCPIs compared to the global average.

Other types of vessels found through research included tug and cargo vessels, oil tankers, and trawlers.

7.4 Vessel Access: Survey Results

What kinds of vessels do you have access to for deep-sea work? (Q12/13)
Respondents were asked to select all types of vessels to which they had access for deep-sea work from a list of the following options: research vessels, fishing vessels, cruise ships, recreational vessels, traditional vessels, or none of the above; they were also allowed to enter free-text if a type of vessel to which they had access was not an option.

The most accessible vessels in Oceania were fishing vessels (available to 48% of respondents), followed by traditional vessels (available to 39%). Cruise ships were the least accessible. Nine respondents for Oceania (39%) reported having no access to vessels (Figure 16A).

Figure 16

Vessels: Access
(A)
Percent of respondents for each subregion of Oceania with access to each type of vessel: research vessels, fishing vessels, recreational vessels (Rec), traditional vessels (Trad), cruise ships (Cruise), other, or none of the above. (B) Number of subregions of Oceania with each Vessel Deep-Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (reds), compared to all other regions (grey). High Vessel DSCAIs indicate higher respondent-reported access to vessels in their GeoArea.


In Micronesia, respondents had the most access to traditional and research vessels. Fishing vessels were the most accessible to respondents for Melanesia and Polynesia. In Australia & New Zealand, research vessels were the most accessible. 

The Vessel Deep Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (Vessel DSCAI) assessed the respondent-reported access to different types of vessels in each subregion; higher values indicated higher access to more types of vessels. In Oceania, Vessel DSCAI values ranged from very low (1) to high (4) (Figure 16B). With a Vessel DSCAI of 4, respondents for Polynesia had the most access to vessels in the region and globally. The other subregions of Oceania were comparable in vessel access to most other subregions worldwide. 

Other types of vessels that respondents for Oceania noted included government patrol vessels and liveaboards. Several respondents also noted their reliance on foreign research and exploration vessels, which must be acquired from overseas and rarely visited their locations. 

7.5 Vessel Satisfaction

How well do the vessels meet your needs? (Q14)
Respondents were asked how satisfied they were with vessels in their GeoArea in terms of cost, availability, capabilities, size, and duration, each on a five-point scale from very dissatisfied to very satisfied. Of 23 total respondents for Oceania, 21-22 answered these questions (91-97% response rate). 

Overall, 41-55% of respondents for Oceania were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with all aspects of vessel operation: availability, capabilities, cost, duration, and size (Figure 17).

Figure 17

Vessels: Satisfaction
Number of respondents for each subregion of Oceania who are satisfied (green) or dissatisfied (blue) with all aspects of vessels available to them in their GeoArea (A). Number of respondents for each subregion who are satisfied (green) to dissatisfied (blue) with each of the aspects of vessel operation: Cost (B), Availability (C), Capabilities (D), Size (E), and Duration (F).

Figure 18

Vessels: Satisfaction
Number of subregions of Oceania with each Vessel Deep-Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (reds), compared to all other regions (grey). High Vessel DSCSIs indicate high respondent-reported satisfaction with the vessels to which they have access.

The Vessel Deep Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (Vessel DSCSI) assessed the respondent-reported satisfaction with vessels based on several factors, including cost, availability, and capabilities in each subregion; higher values indicated more overall satisfaction with vessels to which the respondents had access. Vessel DSCSIs in Oceania ranged from very low (1) to moderate (3) and were lower than all regions except Africa and Latin America & the Caribbean (Figure 18). With a Vessel Deep-Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (Vessel DSCSI) of 3, respondents for Micronesia were the most satisfied in the region, but only moderately so compared to other regions around the world. 

Factors respondents noted that impacted how well vessels in their GeoArea met their needs included high labor costs, low maintenance, number of vessels available, safety, aging vessels, and suitability for various weather conditions, including icebreaking capabilities.

7.6 Potential Impact of Increased Vessel Access

What is the potential impact of increased access to vessels? (Q15)
Respondents were asked what impact increased access to vessels would have on their work on a five-point scale from no impact to transformative.

Figure 19

Vessels: Potential Impact
Number of respondents for each subregion of Oceania who said that increased access to vessels would have a high or transformative impact (green) or little to no impact (blue) on their work.

Overall, 65% of respondents for Oceania reported that increased access to vessels would have a high impact or would be transformative for their work (Figure 19).

Responses were consistently high across all subregions, with 50% of respondents for Micronesia, 55% for Melanesia, 80% for Polynesia, and Australia & New Zealand reporting that increased access to vessels would have a high impact or would be transformative for their work. Three respondents (13%) replied that there would be little impact on their work with increased vessel access.

"For us to effectively develop and conduct research and monitoring in the Palau National Marine Sanctuary, we need access to readily available vessels that are able to travel offshore for multiple days. In addition, we need support to be able to cover fuel and crew costs."  --Respondent for Palau, Micronesia

8. Deep Submergence Vehicles

8.1 Highlights

  • Importance | 43% of respondents for Oceania considered DSVs important for their work.

  • Presence | ROVs were the most present DSVs in Oceania, followed by benthic landers. HOVs and drifters were the least present types of DSVs found in Oceania.

  • Access | The most accessible DSVs in Oceania were benthic landers, followed by ROVs and AUVs. Nearly two-thirds of respondents for Oceania reported having no access to any DSVs.

  • Depth Rating | 52% of DSVs to which respondents had access could operate deeper than 200 mbsl. Only respondents in Australia & New Zealand reported access to DSVs that could operate deeper than 1,000 mbsl.

  • Satisfaction | Respondents for Oceania were generally dissatisfied with available DSVs, including all aspects of their operation. 

  • Potential Impact | 70% of respondents for Oceania reported that increased access to DSVs would have a high impact or would be transformative for their work. 

8.2 DSV Importance

How important are deep submergence vehicles (DSVs) for your work? (Q17)
Respondents were asked how important DSVs were for their work on a five-point scale from not important to very important.

Figure 20

DSVs: Importance
Number of survey respondents for each subregion of Oceania who considered DSVs very important or important (green) to little or not important (blue) for their work.

Overall, 43% of respondents for Oceania considered DSVs important or very important for their work (Figure 20), the lowest of all regions.

Respondents for Micronesia were split in opinion, with 50% of respondents considering DSVs very important, while the other 50% consider them not important for their work. In Melanesia, 46% of respondents reported that DSVs were a little or not important for their work. In Polynesia, 80% of respondents reported that DSVs were important or very important, and 40% of respondents for Australia & New Zealand agreed. 

8.3 DSV Presence: Research Results

What types of DSVs are present in each GeoArea? (Q18R)
We researched the types of DSVs present in each GeoArea, specifically if the GeoArea had remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), human-occupied vehicles (HOVs), benthic landers, drifters, or towsleds. We recorded the presence or absence of each type of DSV, with presence meaning that at least one vehicle of a given type was present in the GeoArea.

ROVs were the most common DSVs found in Oceania, present in 12 GeoAreas (43%), followed by benthic landers in 9 GeoAreas (32%). HOVs and drifters were the least commonly found, present in only four GeoAreas (14%) (Figure 21A). According to our research, nine GeoAreas (32%) had zero types of DSV.

Figure 21

DSVs: Presence
(A)
Percent of GeoAreas in each subregion of Oceania in which each type of DSV was found through research: remotely operated vehicles (ROV), autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV), benthic landers (Lander), drifters, towsleds, and human-occupied vehicles (HOV). (B) Number of GeoAreas in Oceania with each DSV Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (reds), compared to all other regions (grey). High DSV DSCPIs indicate higher diversity of DSV types present in each GeoArea.


Australia had all types of DSVs and was the only GeoArea, together with French Polynesia, to have more than three types of DSVs. Some of the present DSVs also depend on foreign capacity. 

ROVs were the most commonly found type of DSV in Micronesia and Melanesia. In Polynesia, ROVs were found in 30% of GeoAreas, along with benthic landers. In the Australia & New Zealand subregion, towsleds were the most common DSV type found.

The DSV Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (DSV DSCPI) assessed the research-based presence of types of DSVs in each GeoArea; higher values indicated higher diversity of DSV types present in each GeoArea. Using the DSV DSCPI, we found that DSVs were the technical capacity with the lowest presence in Oceania (Figure 21B). Only one GeoArea, Australia, had the maximum DSV DSCPI of 5 (i.e., many types of DSVs were present), while fifteen had a minimum DSV DSCPI of 1 (54%). While DSV Presence was generally low in Oceania, it was comparable to Africa and Latin America & the Caribbean. 

8.4 DSV Access: Survey Results

What kinds of DSVs do you have access to for deep-sea work? (Q18)
Respondents were asked to select all types of DSVs to which they had access for deep-sea work from a list of the following options: remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), human-occupied vehicles (HOVs), benthic landers, drifters, towsled, or none of the above; they were also allowed to enter free-text if a type of DSV to which they had access was not an option.

The most accessible DSVs in Oceania were benthic landers (available to 22% of respondents), followed by ROVs and AUVs (available to 17% each). Fifteen respondents for Oceania (65%) reported having no access to any DSVs (Figure 22A).

Figure 22

DSVs: Access
(A)
Percent of respondents for each subregion of Oceania with access to each type of DSV: remotely operated vehicles (ROV), autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV), benthic landers (Lander), drifters, towsleds, and human-occupied vehicles (HOV), other, and none of the above. (B) Number of subregions with each DSV Deep-Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (reds), compared to all other regions (grey). High DSV DSCAIs indicate higher respondent-reported access to DSVs in their GeoArea.


In Micronesia, neither of the two respondents had access to any DSVs. In Melanesia, 82% of respondents reported having no access to DSVs; one respondent each had access to benthic landers, ROVs, and other vehicles. In Polynesia, one respondent (20%) had access to benthic landers, while the remaining 80% reported having no access to DSVs. In Australia & New Zealand, AUVs were the most accessible to respondents. 

The DSV Deep Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (DSV DSCAI) assessed the respondent-reported access to different types of DSVs in each subregion; higher values indicated higher access to more types of DSVs. In Oceania, access to DSVs ranged from very low to moderate (Figure 22B). With a DSV DSCAI of 3, respondents for Australia & New Zealand had the most access to DSVs in the region and more access than most subregions globally. The other subregions of Oceania had very low access to DSVs, comparable to most other subregions worldwide. 

What is the approximate depth range of DSVs in your GeoArea? (Q19)
Respondents were asked to select the approximate depth range of the DSVs to which they had access from a list of the following options: 0-200 m, 0-1,000 m, 0-2,000 m, 0-4,000 m, >4,000 m, or not applicable.

Ten respondents reported the depth capabilities of 27 vehicles, 52% of which could operate in waters deeper than 200 m (Figure 23). 

Figure 23

DSVs: Depth Rating
Number of deep submergence vehicles to which respondents for Oceania reported access, shown by subregion (A) and depth zone (B). Selection counts include all types of DSVs to which respondents reported access: ROVS, AUVs, landers, drifters, towsleds, and HOVs.


Most respondents for Melanesia reported access to vehicles that could operate shallower than 200 m; one reported access to a towsled that could operate to a maximum depth of 1,000 mbsl. In Polynesia, one respondent reported access to a benthic lander that could operate in depths shallower than 200 m. In Australia & New Zealand, respondents had access to all types of vehicles at all water depth ranges. There were no responses for Micronesia. 

8.5 DSV Satisfaction

How well do the DSVs meet your needs? (Q20)
Respondents were asked how satisfied they were with DSVs in their GeoArea in terms of cost, availability, capabilities, depth rating, and duration, each on a five-point scale from very dissatisfied to very satisfied. Out of 23 total respondents for Oceania, 8-10 answered these questions (35-43% response rate). None of the respondents for Micronesia answered this series of questions.

In Oceania, 60-70% of respondents said they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with all aspects of DSV operation (Figure 24). 

Figure 24

DSVs: Satisfaction
Number of respondents for each subregion of Oceania who are satisfied (green) or dissatisfied (blue) with all aspects of DSVs available to them in their GeoArea (A). Number of respondents for each subregion who are satisfied (green) to dissatisfied (blue) with each of the aspects of DSV operation: Cost (B), Availability (C), Capabilities (D), Depth rating (E), and Duration (F).

Figure 25

DSVs: Satisfaction
Number of subregions of Oceania with each DSV Deep-Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (reds), compared to all other regions (grey). High DSV DSCSIs indicate high respondent-reported satisfaction with the DSVs to which they have access.

The DSV Deep Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (DSV DSCSI) assessed the respondent-reported satisfaction with DSVs based on several factors, including cost, DSV, and capabilities in each subregion; higher values indicated more overall satisfaction with DSVs to which the respondents had access. Respondent satisfaction with DSVs in Oceania ranged from very low (1) to moderate (3) (Figure 25), similar to Asia, Africa, and Latin America & the Caribbean. Polynesia and Australia & New Zealand had a DSV DSCSI of 3, indicating moderate satisfaction with the tools available to respondents. With a DSV DSCSI of 1, respondents for Melanesia were the least satisfied in the region.

The biggest gap noted by respondents for Oceania was the low availability of DSVs in their GeoArea and, as a result, very little deep-sea research had been conducted in this region. 

8.6 Potential Impact of Increased Access to DSVs

What is the potential impact of increased access to DSVs in your GeoArea? (Q21)
Respondents were asked what impact increased access to DSVs would have on their work on a five-point scale from no impact to transformative.

Figure 26

DSVs: Potential Impact
Number of respondents for each subregion of Oceania who said that increased access to DSVs would have a high or transformative impact (green) or little to no impact (blue) on their work.

Overall, 70% of respondents for Oceania reported that increased access to DSVs would have a high impact or would be transformative for their work (Figure 26).

Respondents for Micronesia were split in opinion, with half reporting that increased access to DSVs would be transformative, while the other half said that it would have no impact on their work. In Melanesia, 46% of respondents reported that increased access would have a high/transformative impact. In Polynesia and Australia & New Zealand, all respondents said that increased access to DSVs would have a high/transformative impact on their work. Four respondents across Oceania (17%) responded that there would be little to no impact with increased DSV access.

"The sensors are not the problem - the platform (eg ROV) is the problem." --Respondent for Australia, Oceania


9. Sensor Systems

9.1 Highlights

  • Importance | 57% of respondents for Oceania consider deep-sea sensing systems important for their work.

  • Presence | Navigation systems were the most common type of sensors, followed by water sampling systems. The least common type of sensor in Oceania was eDNA.

  • Access | The most accessible sensor systems in Oceania were water sampling systems, followed by chemical sensors, and CTDs. Nearly one-third of respondents reported having no access to deep-sea sensors.

  • Satisfaction | Respondents for Oceania were generally dissatisfied with sensor systems in their GeoArea. Respondents for Oceania were most satisfied with sensor system accuracy, capabilities, depth rating, and ease of use, and less satisfied with availability and cost.

  • Potential Impact | 74% of respondents for Oceania reported that increased access to deep-sea sensor systems would have a high impact or would be transformative for their work.

9.2 Sensor System Importance

How important are deep-sea sensors for your work? (Q23)
Respondents were asked how important deep-sea sensors were for their work on a five-point scale from not important to very important.

Figure 27

Sensors: Importance
Number of survey respondents for each subregion of Oceania who considered sensors very important or important (green) to little or not important (blue) for their work.

On average, 57% of respondents for Oceania consider deep-sea sensing systems important to very important for their work (Figure 27), the lowest of all regions.

In Micronesia, all respondents reported that sensor systems were very important for their work. In Melanesia, respondents were evenly split, with 36% reporting that sensors were of little importance or not important, and 36% considered them very important for their work. In Polynesia, 60% of respondents considered sensors important to very important, along with 80% of respondents for Australia & New Zealand. Six respondents for Oceania (26%) considered deep-sea sensors of little importance or not important for their work.

9.3 Sensor System Presence: Research Results

What types of deep-sea sensor systems are present in each GeoArea? (Q24R)
We researched the types of sensor systems present in each GeoArea, specifically if the GeoArea had CTDs, chemical sensors (e.g. O2, pH, eH), water sampling systems, navigation systems, seafloor mapping systems, or imaging systems. We recorded the presence or absence of each type of sensor system, with presence meaning that at least one sensor system of a given type was present in the GeoArea.

Navigation systems were the most common type of sensor system found in Oceania, present in 19 GeoAreas (68%), followed by water sampling systems in 17 GeoAreas (61%). eDNA systems were the least present type of sensor system, found in only eight GeoAreas (29%) (Figure 28A).

Figure 28

Sensors: Presence
(A)
Percent of GeoAreas in each subregion of Oceania in which each type of sensor system was found through research: CTDs, water sampling systems (Water), chemical sensors (Chem), seafloor mapping systems (Map), imaging systems (Image), navigation systems (Nav), and environmental DNA sensors (eDNA). (B) Number of GeoAreas in Oceania with each Sensor Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (reds), compared to all other regions (grey). High Sensor DSCPIs indicate higher diversity of sensor types present in each GeoArea.


Four GeoAreas (14%) had all types of sensors, including Australia, New Zealand, Guam in Micronesia, and French Polynesia in Polynesia. Ten GeoAreas (36%) had fewer than three types of sensors, including three GeoAreas, Fiji, Tonga, and Tuvalu, where research found none of the sensor types. 

Water sampling was the most commonly found sensor system in Micronesia. Mapping, navigation, and water sampling systems were the most present types in Melanesia. In Polynesia, navigation systems were the most common. In the Australia & New Zealand subregion, chemical sensors, imaging, and mapping systems were found in all GeoAreas. 

The Sensor Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (Sensor DSCPI) assessed the research-based presence of types of sensors in each GeoArea; higher values indicated higher diversity of sensor types present in each GeoArea. Sensor DSCPIs in Oceania varied from very low (1) to very high (5) (Figure 28B), similar to most regions worldwide. Six GeoAreas (21%) had the maximum Sensor DSCPI of 5 (i.e., many types of sensor systems were present), and nine GeoAreas in Oceania (32%) had the minimum Sensor DSCPI of 1. 

Our research showed that GeoAreas like Palau and Tonga depended heavily on foreign capacities for sensors.

9.4 Sensor System Access: Survey Results

What kinds of deep-sea sensors do you have access to for deep-sea work? (Q24)
Respondents were asked to select all types of sensor systems to which they had access for deep-sea work from a list of the following options: CTDs, chemical sensors (e.g., O2, pH, eH), imaging systems, water sampling, navigation, seafloor mapping, or none of the above; they were also allowed to enter free-text if a type of sensor system to which they had access was not an option.

The most accessible sensor systems in Oceania were water sampling systems (available to 44% of respondents), followed by chemical sensors (35%), and CTDs (30%). Seven respondents (30%) reported having no access to deep-sea sensors (Figure 29A). 

Figure 29

Sensors: Access
(A)
Percent of respondents for each subregion of Oceania with access to each type of sensor system: CTDs, water sampling systems (Water), chemical sensors (Chem), seafloor mapping systems (Map), imaging systems (Image), navigation systems (Nav), and environmental DNA sensors (eDNA), other, and none of the above. (B) Number of subregions in Oceania with each Sensor Deep-Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (reds), compared to all other regions (grey). High Sensor DSCAIs indicate higher respondent-reported access to sensor systems in their GeoArea.


Both respondents for Micronesia reported having no access to deep-sea sensor systems. In Melanesia, water sampling systems and chemical sensors were the most accessible. In Polynesia, one respondent from each GeoArea had access to water sampling and navigation systems, while the remaining 60% reported having no access to sensor systems. CTDs were the most accessible sensor system in Australia & New Zealand. 

The Sensor Deep Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (Sensor DSCAI) assessed the respondent-reported access to different types of sensors in each subregion; higher values indicated higher access to more types of sensors. In Oceania, Sensor DSCAIs ranged from very low (1) to high (4) (Figure 29B). With a Sensor DSCAI of 4, respondents for Australia & New Zealand had the most access to sensor systems in the region and more access than most subregions globally. The other subregions of Oceania had very low access and were comparable to Latin America & the Caribbean, and much of Africa.

One respondent from the Solomon Islands noted that they had access to some sensors through regional partners. 

9.5 Sensor System Satisfaction

How well do deep-sea sensors meet your needs? (Q25)
Respondents were asked how satisfied they were with deep-sea sensor systems in their GeoArea in terms of cost, availability, capabilities, depth rating, ease of use, and accuracy, each on a five-point scale from very dissatisfied to very satisfied. Out of 23 total respondents for Oceania, 12-13 answered these questions (52-57% response rate). None of the respondents for Micronesia answered this series of questions.

Respondents for Oceania were generally satisfied with sensor systems (Figure 30A). Overall, 42-50% of respondents for Oceania were satisfied to very satisfied with sensor system accuracy, capabilities, depth rating, and ease of use (Figure 30D-G). Less satisfaction was indicated for sensor system availability and cost (Figure 30A, B). 

Figure 30

Sensors: Satisfaction
Number of respondents for each subregion of Oceania who are satisfied (green) or dissatisfied (blue) with all aspects of sensors available to them in their GeoArea (A). Number of respondents for each subregion of Oceania who are satisfied (green) to dissatisfied (blue) with each of the aspects of sensor operation: Cost (B), Availability (C), Capabilities (D), Depth rating (E), Ease of Use (F), and Accuracy (G).

Figure 31

Sensors: Satisfaction
Number of subregions in Oceania with each Sensor Deep-Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (reds), compared to all other regions (grey). High Sensor DSCSIs indicate high respondent-reported satisfaction with the sensor systems to which they have access.

The Sensor Deep Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (Sensor DSCSI) assessed the respondent-reported satisfaction with sensors based on several factors, including cost, availability, and capabilities in each subregion; higher values indicated more overall satisfaction with sensors to which the respondents had access. Respondent satisfaction with sensor systems in Oceania ranged from low (2) in Melanesia to high (4) in Polynesia (Figure 31). Compared to other regions globally, Oceania’s Sensor DSCSIs were in the mid-range but comparable to or more satisfied with sensor systems than respondents for Africa and Latin America & the Caribbean.

Respondents noted factors that impacted how well deep-sea sensors in their GeoArea met their needs, including lack of access, lack of technical expertise, and availability of platforms from which to deploy sensors.

9.6 Potential Impact of Increased Access to Sensors

What is the potential impact of increased access to deep-sea sensors? (Q26)
Respondents were asked what impact increased access to deep-sea sensors would have on their work on a five-point scale from no impact to transformative.

Figure 32

Sensors: Potential Impact
Number of respondents for each subregion of Oceania who said that increased access to sensor systems would have a high or transformative impact (green) or little to no impact (blue) on their work.

Overall, 74% of respondents for Oceania reported that increased access to deep-sea sensor systems would have a high impact or would be transformative for their work (Figure 32). 

In Micronesia, respondents were split in opinion, with half reporting low/no impact and half reporting high/transformative impact with increased access to sensor systems. In Melanesia, 55% reported high/transformative potential impact from increased access to sensor systems. In Polynesia and Australia & New Zealand, all respondents reported that increased access to deep-sea sensor systems would have a high or transformative impact on their work. Three respondents for Oceania (13%) reported that increased access to deep-sea sensors would have little or no impact on their work.

"We have basic bathymetry estimates for Palau's EEZ - but require multibeam sonar and backscatter data to provide info on habitats within the EEZ, provide a baseline of current habitats and enable us to identify important conservation areas and areas to focus future exploration on." --Respondent for Palau, Micronesia


10. Data Tools

10.1 Highlights

  • Importance | 78% of respondents for Oceania reported data tools important to very important for their work.

  • Presence | Geographic information systems (GIS) was the most common data tool, followed by cloud computing and data management. The least common type of data tool in Oceania was machine learning/artificial intelligence. 

  • Access | The most accessible data tool in Oceania was GIS, followed by data management tools and data storage capacity. Nearly one-quarter of respondents for Oceania reported having no access to any of the listed data tools. 

  • Satisfaction | Respondents for Oceania were generally satisfied with data tools in their GeoArea, including all aspects of data tool operation. 

  • Potential Impact | 70% of respondents for Oceania reported that increased access to data tools would have a high impact or would be transformative for their work. 

10.2 Data Tools Importance

How important are data analysis & access tools for your work? (Q28)
Respondents were asked how important data tools were for their work on a five-point scale from not important to very important.

Figure 33

Data Tools: Importance
Number of survey respondents for each subregion of Oceania who considered data tools very important or important (green) to little or not important (blue) for their work.

On average, 78% of respondents for Oceania reported data tools important to very important for their work (Figure 33), the lowest of all regions.

The majority of respondents for all subregions considered data tools important to very important for their work: 50% of respondents for Micronesia, 73% for Melanesia, 80% for Polynesia, and 100% for Australia & New Zealand. Only one respondent for all of Oceania (4%) considered data tools a little or not important for their work.

10.3 Data Tools Presence: Research Results

What type of data analysis & access tools are present in each GeoArea? (Q29R)
We researched the types of data tools present in each GeoArea, specifically if the GeoArea had geographic information systems (GIS), data management tools, data storage capacity, data visualization tools, machine learning/artificial intelligence (ML/AI), cloud computing, and/or genomic sequencing tools. We recorded the presence or absence of each type of data tool, with presence meaning that at least one data tool of a given type was present in the GeoArea.

GIS systems were the most common type of data tools in Oceania, present in 23 GeoAreas (82%), followed by cloud computing and data management systems in 18 GeoAreas (64%). ML/AI was the least present, found in six GeoAreas (21%) (Figure 34A). 

Figure 34

Data Tools: Presence
(A)
Percent of GeoAreas in each subregion of Oceania in which each type of data tool was found through research: GIS, data management tools (Mgt), data storage tools (Storage), data visualization tools (Viz), cloud computing (Cloud), genomic sequencing (Genome), and machine learning/artificial intelligence (ML/AI). (B) Number of GeoAreas in Oceania with each Data Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (reds), compared to all other regions (grey). High Data DSCPIs indicate higher diversity of data tool types present in each GeoArea.


Australia is the only GeoArea with all types of data tools. Eight GeoAreas (32%) had less than three types of tools, including Nauru, where none of the data tools were found. 

In Micronesia, GIS, cloud computing, and data storage tools were the most commonly found data tools. In Melanesia, GIS, data storage, and data management systems were present in 80% of the GeoAreas. GIS was the most common data tool found across Polynesia and the Australia & New Zealand subregions. 

The Data Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (Data DSCPI) assessed the research-based presence of types of data tools in each GeoArea; higher values indicated higher diversity of data tool types present in each GeoArea. Data tool presence in Oceania ranged from very low (1) to very high (5) (Figure 34B), similar to most regions worldwide, particularly Africa and Latin America & the Caribbean. Five GeoAreas (18%) had the maximum Data DSCPI of 5 (i.e., many types of data tools were present), and four GeoAreas in Oceania (14%) had the minimum Data DSCPI of 1.

10.4 Data Tools Access: Survey Results

What kinds of data analysis & access tools do you have access to? (Q29)
Respondents were asked to select all types of data tools to which they had access for deep-sea work from a list of the following options: cloud computing, data management tools, data storage capacity, data visualization tools, genomic sequencing, geographic information systems (GIS), machine learning/artificial intelligence (ML/AI), or none of the above; they were also allowed to enter free-text if a type of data tool to which they had access was not an option.

The most accessible data tool in Oceania was GIS (available to 74% of respondents), followed by data management tools and data storage capacity (57% each) (Figure 35A). Five respondents for Oceania (22%) reported having no access to any of the listed data tools or did not know what data tools were available to them, including both respondents for Micronesia.

Figure 35

Data Tools: Access
(A)
Percent of respondents for each subregion of Oceania with access to each type of data tool: GIS, data management tools (Mgt), data storage tools (Storage), data visualization tools (Viz), cloud computing (Cloud), genomic sequencing (Genome), machine learning/artificial intelligence (ML/AI), other, and none of the above. (B) Number of subregions in Oceania with each Data Deep-Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (reds), compared to all other regions (grey). High Data DSCAIs indicate higher respondent-reported access to data tools in their GeoArea.


In Melanesia and Polynesia, GIS was the most accessible data tool. In Australia & New Zealand, all respondents had access to data management tools, data storage capacity, and data visualization tools. 

The Data Deep Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (Data DSCAI) assessed the respondent-reported access to different types of data tools in each subregion; higher values indicated higher access to more types of data tools. Australia & New Zealand had a Data DSCAI of 5, indicating high access to most data tool types in the subregion (Figure 35B). In contrast, Melanesia and Polynesia had Data DSCAIs of 2 or 3, representing low to moderate access to data tools, comparable to all subregions of Africa and Latin America & the Caribbean.

One respondent also noted access to specific software, such as the open-source statistical software package R, SPSS, and MatLab. 

10.5 Data Tools Satisfaction

How well do data analysis & access tools meet your needs? (Q30)
Respondents were asked how satisfied they were with data tools in their GeoArea in terms of cost, availability, capabilities, ease of use, and bandwidth, each on a five-point scale from very dissatisfied to very satisfied. Out of 23 respondents for Oceania, 17-18 answered these questions (74-78% response rate). None of the respondents for Micronesia answered this series of questions.

Overall, 44-56% of respondents for Oceania were satisfied or very satisfied with all aspects of data tools (Figure 36). 

Figure 36

Data Tools: Satisfaction
Number of respondents for each subregion of Oceania who are satisfied (green) or dissatisfied (blue) with all aspects of data tools available to them in their GeoArea (A). Number of respondents for each subregion of Oceania who are satisfied (green) to dissatisfied (blue) with each of the aspects of data tool operation: Cost (B), Availability (C), Capabilities (D), Ease of Use (E), and Bandwidth (F).

Figure 37

Data Tools: Satisfaction
Number of subregions in Oceania with each Data Deep-Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (reds), compared to all other regions (grey). High Data DSCSIs indicate high respondent-reported satisfaction with the data tools to which they have access.

The Data Deep Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (Data DSCSI) assessed the respondent-reported satisfaction with data tools based on several factors, Data cost, availability, and capabilities in each subregion; higher values indicated more overall satisfaction with data tools to which respondents had access. Data DSCSIs in Oceania ranged from very low (1) in Polynesia to moderate (3) in Melanesia (Data DSCSI of 1) and Australia & New Zealand (Data DSCSI of 3) (Figure 37). Satisfaction with data tools was globally low, and Oceania was similar to all regions except Europe, which was most satisfied with data tools. 

Respondents noted lack of data sharing, internet reliability, and cost as important factors in their assessment of satisfaction with data tools.

10.6 Potential Impact of Increased Access to Data Tools

What is the potential impact of increased access to data analysis & access tools in your GeoArea? (Q31)
Respondents were asked what impact increased access to data tools would have on their work on a five-point scale from no impact to transformative.

Figure 38

Data Tools: Potential Impact
Number of respondents for each subregion of Oceania who said that increased access to data tools would have a high or transformative impact (green) or little to no impact (blue) on their work.

Overall, 70% of respondents for Oceania reported that increased access to data tools would have a high impact or would be transformative for their work (Figure 38). 

In Micronesia, respondents were split in opinion on potential impact, with half reporting that increased access to data tools would have no impact and half reporting that it would have a transformative impact on their work. The majority of respondents for Melanesia and Polynesia (55%, 80%) reported that increased access would result in a high to transformative impact. In Australia & New Zealand, all respondents reported that increased access to data tools would result in a high to transformative impact on their work. Four respondents for Oceania (17%) reported that there would be little to no impact with increased access to data tools.

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