GENERAL

• To facilitate international collaboration amongst scientists studying continental shelf related topics.
• To facilitate knowledge and technology transfer related to continental shelf research among disparate disciplines and regions around the world.
• To hold annual and regional meetings around the world, particularly in developing countries, to facilitate the transmission of continental shelf research and applications.
• To provide project-related short courses, particularly in developing countries, which focus on disseminating continental shelf knowledge and application.
• To promote the use of continental shelf research across discipline boundaries, with particular emphasis on their application to global issues that influence human society.
• To provide comprehensive research publications resulting from project contributions.



RISKS: Neotectonics, Tsunami and other high-energy events

Possible proxies for vertical mobility of the shelf will be defined. Seismic techniques (including sources and line spacing for fault detection) will be ascertained that relate to:
• Detecting risk-related tectonic features (e.g., faults and their time of activity).
• Ascertaining the vertical mobility at the shelf edge (20,000 versus 120,000y).
The level of accuracy required for modelling tsunami wave shoaling behaviour will be defined, as well as the effects that shelf features (e.g. canyon heads, shoals and banks) may have on refraction patterns. A case-history collection will be generated of small geographic scale tsunamis likely to have been produced by submarine landslides. Definition of procedures needed to produce geohazard maps of the continental shelf will be generated. These will be a consequence of:
• Detailed mapping of instability-prone features in the continental shelf and upper slope.



RESOURCES

• Minerals and Aggregates
A database will be generated of existing continental shelf exploration. A comparison will be made of different strategies used for similar deposits, and genetic processes for different kinds of mineral deposits will be defined in the process of:
• Identifying and compiling known resources, and mapping placers and phosphorites, nodules.
A strategy of search for relict sand bodies on the continental shelf will be defined and will highlight the environmental aspects needed before exploitation as a result of:
• Identifying and compiling known resources and mapping sand and gravel deposits, both relict and modern on the continental shelf.

• Living resources
Physical habitats for benthic communities/biodiversity will be mapped by remote sensing and ground-truthing. Changes in sediment supply and paths (turbidity and nutrients) will be ascertained and long-term environmental processes, trends, the occurrence of events will be determined as outlined in the following aims:
• Map physical habitats for benthic communities/biodiversity.
• Identify changes in sediment supply and paths (turbidity and nutrients).
• Determine long-term environmental processes, trends, occurrence of events along the continental shelves of the world.



RECORD OF THE PAST

• Carbon Cycle and climate change
A contribution will be made towards understanding the role that the continental shelf plays in the global carbon cycle. This project will facilitate international interdisciplinary research focused on improving our understanding of the relationship between the continental shelf and environmental changes by:
• Facilitating international collaborative research focused on the contribution of the continental shelf to the global carbon cycle.
• Facilitating international collaborative research focusing on the relationship between environmental changes on the shelf and the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
• Improve our understanding of the impacts of climate change on the continental shelf as its effects human society in the past, present and into the future.

• Paleoanthrophology – (humans and their relationship with fauna, flora, and the changing environment of continental shelves) and Palaeoenvironments
This project will facilitate the collaboration of scientists working in the disparate fields of geology, biology, and anthropology/archaeology on the continental shelf. Changes in sedimentation rates and types, paleocurrents, paleoceanography, hydrology – including superficial and underground fluxes, resources, vegetal coverage, geography, climate, and human interaction with the shelf will be researched and compiled. Improved understanding of human interactions in the past will build understanding about our future relationship with this important geological region and in particular with anticipated future climate change. This project will:
• Facilitate international collaborative research that will improve our ability to recognize and interrelate worldwide variations in climate with archaeological evidence on the shelf.
• Generate global interdisciplinary research aimed at ascertaining past changes in the continental shelf environment (in resources, ice covered/free, arid/humid, exposed/inundated, fauna and flora) and their influence on human culture, behaviour, migration and habitation.
• Produce and support the generation of paleogeographic maps and paleoenvironmental research along the continental shelf.