Gala at Monaco Oceanographic Museum raised funds to save sea turtles from extinction and protect our ecosystem

Russian White Night Gala

Friday, June 19, 2015, was the perfect summer evening for the White Night Gala organized by Ekaterina Semenikhina, Honorary Consul of Russia in Monaco, with the support of the Association of Friends of the Oceanographic Museum, and generous sponsors. HSH Prince Albert II, HE Alexandre Orlov, Ambassador of the Russian Federation in France, and the distinguished guests were welcomed with a cocktail in the foyer of the museum, followed by a visit of the Jewellery exhibition by Russian artists Aliona Gorchakova and Vasily Konovalenko, and a photo exposition by Sergey Khvorostov of his Russian expeditions to the South and North poles.

The lavish dinner was served under the stars on the beautifully decorated terrace of the museum, with an exquisite five-course menu concocted by the duo of Philippe Joannes, Executive Chef of the Fairmont Hotel in Monte-Carlo in collaboration with Russian Chef Vladimir Tikhomirov, specially invited to the Principality for this event. Champagne and wines were kindly supplied by Moet Hennessy, who also provided its brands ice creams by Pierre Geronimi from Corsica, in creative flavors like Dom Perignon Vintage, Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame & Watermelon and many more. The Alexandrov Troup delighted the guests with genuine Russian dancing, while The White Cats group kept everybody dancing all night long!

The organisers extend their heartfelt thanks to sponsors, donors and partners that contributed to the success of the evening: Julius Baer, Kaufman Charitable Foundation, CMB Compagnie Monegasque de Banque, Moet Hennessy, Fleurisia, Regie des Tabacs, Crème de la Mer, Chocolaterie de Monaco and Russian artists Vasily Konovalenko, Aliona Gorchakova and Erik Boulatov.

When luxury meets responsibility

This glamorous event was part of the festivities of the Russian Year in the Principality, and its main objective was to raise funds through a live auction of attractive items donated by altruistic sponsors conducted by Auctioneer Pierre Mothes, Vice-President of Sotheby’s France. The funds will enable the museum to finance two important projects: 1) Their work towards the protection of the Mediterranean sea turtles, and 2) The new Russian-Monegasque partnership with the Geophysical Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences (GC RAS).

Why save endangered sea turtles?

You will surely wonder why, in a world that is plenty of problems and full of species, is it justified to make the effort of saving sea turtles from extinction?

Sea turtles are a cornerstone species as its behavior helps determine what species, in what numbers, make up a community. Removal of keystone species can provoke serious changes that can cause a stream of effects through an ecosystem (all the plants and animals in a particular area, considered as a system with parts that depend on one another). Sea turtles corroborate the ultimate lesson of ecology – that everything is connected.

Green sea turtle ecosystem

Green sea turtle ecosystem

These millenary members of the animal kingdom are part of two vital ecosystems, beaches and marine systems. If sea turtles become extinct, both the marine and beach ecosystems will weaken. As humans use the ocean as an important source for food and use beaches for many kinds of activities, fragility in these ecosystems would have detrimental effects on humans. It makes a lot of sense, don’t you think?

Sea turtles have been living and thriving in the world’s oceans for 150 million years, and they are now in danger of extinction mostly due to changes brought about by us humans. So it is easy to come to the conclusion that if turtles are struggling to survive because of what we are doing to the planet’s oceans and beaches, our world will become a place in which humans will also scramble to survive. The time has come to learn from our mistakes, change our behavior, and save the sea turtles from extinction while saving humankind in the process. 

Two sea turtle species nest in the Mediterranean, the green turtle and the loggerhead turtle. Leatherbacks are widely distributed in the Mediterranean, although they do not have any permanent nesting area. Two other species, the hawksbill and the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle only occur occasionally. Available information on sea turtle populations in the Mediterranean Sea, including distribution, population abundance estimates and population dynamics is presented. Main sources of sea turtle mortality are reviewed, with special emphasis on threats due to fishing activities, with the aim at assessing, where possible, the relative importance of these on overall sea turtle mortality.

Loggerhead turtle (Tortue caouanne Caretta) @ M. Dagnino

Loggerhead turtle (Tortue caouanne Caretta) @ M. Dagnino

The Oceanographic Museum is a member of the French Network for Mediterranean Marine Turtles, thus participating in gathering data on local sightings and finding a way to protect them. Much can be learned about the condition of the planet’s environment by observing sea turtles that have existed for millions of years, and travel through the oceans. The ongoing project consists of creating a habitat with a specially designed outdoor tank to observe the Mediterranean loggerhead turtles as well as other Mediterranean species, to raise awareness on how to protect them. The project will be supplemented with exhibitions, lectures and books all throughout 2016.

New Russian-Monegasque partnership

The Oceanographic Institute (OI), under the direction of Robert Calcagno, and the Geophysical Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences (GC RAS), have launched a new strategic partnership to develop geographic information systems, and new state of the art technologies, to reach out to the public and inspire the visitors of the Monaco Oceanographic Museum (MOM). Their precept is “Know, love and protect the oceans.”

Magic Planet GC RAS' 61cm Tabletop EVO model

Magic Planet GC RAS’ 61cm Tabletop EVO model

The GC RAS, chaired by Professor Alexey Gvishiani, academician and doctor in sciences, was established in 1992 as a research institute with the main goal of conducting basic and applied research in the field of geophysics and geo-informatics. The GC RAS has become the first Russian owner of a Magic Planet.  GC RAS’s 24″ (61cm) Tabletop EVO model serves unique purposes, both as an educational device and a data visualization tool. Scientists in Russia use Magic Planet to display custom geoscience visualisations.

One of the first functions of the Magic Planet was to interpret changes in the Earth’s magnetic field from 1500 to 2010. The Magic Planet will also help illustrate GC RAS’s long-term goal of an intellectual Geographic Information System for the entire territory of Russia. GC RAS plans on using the Magic Planet to present achievements and educate the general public at exhibitions, conferences, and workshops. The powerful data visualisation capabilities of the Magic Planet have helped the Geophysical Center communicate complex concepts.

“The Magic Planet is a brilliant instrument which brings the technology of geoscience data visualization up to a new level,” said GC RAC’s Roman Krasnoperov. “Presentations made using this digital device become vivid and interesting for both prominent academicians and schoolchildren.”

The Oceanographic Institute strongly believes that this avant-garde technology is a powerful addition to their outreach tools and activities, allowing a vibrant view of global oceans issues.

Today’s quote

“Our challenge for the future is that we realize we are very much a part of the earth’s ecosystem, and we must learn to respect and live according to the basic biological laws of nature.” Jim Fowler

Keep calm and save a turtle







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