The economy of New Caledonia is in a precarious condition. Economic problems preoccupy the minds of leaders in that territory, in business, in the local legislature, and those in France who are responsible for the development of her territories overseas. The standard of living is based on the production of minerals of which one, nickel, is by far the most important. World competition for markets much nearer the sources of supply than are those of New Caledonia makes the future of mining in that far flung island of France uncertain. Situated 12, 500 miles from the mother country, between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Equator, in the south-west Pacific, New Caledonia is part of a large group of archipelagoes which geographers call Melanesia. The archipelago is made up of three elements, La Grande-Terre (The Big Island), the Loyalty Islands and the Chesterfield Islands. New Caledonia is by far the largest ; it is also the most densely populated and the richest. The island is 230 miles long and averages about 28 miles wide ; its area is 6, 533 square miles. It is surrounded by a great barrier reef from five to ten miles offshore, between which there is a lagoon good for fishing and safe for navigation. The Big Island includes the Isle of Pines on the south and on the north the Belep archipelago and the Entrecasteaux reefs. The Loyalty Islands, parallel to New Caledonia about 60 miles to the east, include Maré, Lifou and Ouvea, the three more important. All together they have an area of about 770 square miles. The Chesterfield Islands about 250 miles west, in the Coral Sea, are coral formations, uninhabited. The dominant feature of the location of New Caledonia (until the development of aviation) is its isolation. It is not only far from France but also 6000 miles from the United States, about 4400 miles from Japan, 1000 miles from New Zealand, and 900 miles from Australia.
Most of those who know about the Senckenberg-am-Meer at Wilhelmshaven in the North Sea, especially about the short history since the establishment in 1928, would be impressed with the success of the unique and pioneering project, by seeing the activities and the scientific contributions having been, and being, done toward the Actuo-Paleontology and the Actuo-Geology. Geologists, especially stratigraphers, and paleontologists, on examining rocks, and fossils therein, often refer to the actual or Recent ecological and sedimentological facts observed sometimes as scheduled, but more often, perhaps, by chance. Their ideas and theories may not seldom be corroborated or reinforced by the knowledge on such Recent phenomena. Why, then, should geologists and paleontologists not devote a reasonable part of their time to the detailed observations on the inter-tidal phenomena, as one of their fundamental disciplines, somewhat like the students of rocks, for instance, study as their basic discipline the volcanic activities ? Just this seems to have been the reason the late Prof. Rud. RICHTER, as early as in 1920, took up the problem of his Actuo-Geology and Acuto-Paleontology as a significant field of research. The scientific contributions of the Senckenberg-am-Meer are now well known to us.RICHTER, HÄNTSCHEL, SCHÄFER, VON STRAATEN, REINECK, BEURLEN, SCHWARZ and many other names of researchers have frequently appeared in the publications. For the earlier part of the history of that institution Prof. BUCHER's remarks introducing the institution to the scientific world is exhaustic and very instructive (See Note 33). As to the experiences and knowledge accumulated in the Senckenberg-am-Meer during the following years through the efforts of many collaborators, Prof. SCHÄFER's recent large volume (Akuto-Palaontologie, 1962) leaves out hardly any important data up to now. The publication of such a volume is no doubt an evidence that the significance of the subject of the intertidal ecology and sedimentology has now become widely comprehended and appreciated by the scientific world. At the same time this volume no doubt plays an important role of an instructive handbook for all the paleontologists and geologists as well as for certain biologists. The study of the inter-tidal phenomena seems to have been materialized in the U. S. A. by the geologists and paleontologists in 1940, when the National Research Council started publishing rather sundry collections of data : it was the function of the Subcommittee on the Ecology of Marine Organisms, under the Division of Geology and Geography. The project, it is told, was first propounded by Prof. T. W. VAUGHAN to the Science Research Council, and the plan seems to have been appreciated also by the oil prospecting geology. The Subcommittee was raised to a Committee in 1943. After having published about a dozen mimeographed Reports in the following years, a large two-volume “Treatise on Marine Ecology and Paleontology”, edited by Drs. WEDGPETH and LADD appeared in 1959. The first volume is especially noteworthy because it contains a number of articles on the ecology of marine organisms. The other volume, Paleoecology, of course, is no less important, but the point of view naturally differs from that of the first volume. In Japan, the first volume was very elaborately reviewed by Prof. HANZAWA in the Journal of the Geological Society of Japan in 1959. Another comprehensive volume is RICKETTS and CALVIN's well known book “Between Pacific Tides” which was recently revised by WEDGPETH in 1962 : different ecological features observed at different tidal seas are explained in detail, and are analysed and synthesized.