Fiber-optics: A new Ocean Observation Technology

6 July 2023, Plouzané, France

Submarine telecommunication cables crisscrossing the world’s oceans offer a great opportunity to obtain real-time observations of temperature and ground motion directly from the seafloor. Laser reflectometry and other optics methods can be used to transform the optical fibers into sensors, which can detect earthquakes, ocean waves, currents, and seafloor deformation. Beyond technical challenges, there are also legal and data-sharing issues that need to be addressed between industry, scientists and host countries.



The workshop aims to engage multiple actors from telecom companies, fiber optics technology, scientists and policy makers. The first goal is to facilitate studies using submarine telecom cables in collaboration between scientists and industry. Another long-term goal is to make progress in establishing a legal framework, in concertation with the telecom industry and nation states, to allow and define data acquisition and sharing according to FAIR principles.

 Lien Zoom :

Workshop schedule:

Amphi A (Anita Conti) IUEM

9:00 - 9:15            Welcome and Introduction

9:15 - 9:40            Fernando Carhillo (Instituto Português do Mar e da Atmosfera - IPMA, Lisbon, coordinator of the PT National Seismic Service and the Tsunami Early Warning Service for PT and North-East Atlantic)

  • The new CAM ring project: the right opportunity for a SMART cable

9:40 - 10:00          Jerome Aucan (Institut Français pour la Recherche et le Developpement - IRD) (virtual/video conf call)

  •  The New Caledonia - Vanuatu SMART cable project

 10:00 - 10:30       Diane Rivet (GeoAzur Nice, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - CNRS Researcher, PI of ERC Starting Grant ABYSS working with Chile Telecom GTD)

  • Improving active faults monitoring leveraging submarine telecom fiber optic cables : first results from central Chile

 10:30 - 11:15       Coffee Break and poster session

 11:15 - 11:45       Virginie Tassin Campanella (Attorney-at-Law, Zürich Bar, Dr. in Law Melbourne & Sorbonne, Vice President of the Scientific Council of INDEMER (Monaco) Founder & Director of VTA Tassin Public International Law Firm dedicated to Oceans & Seas)

  • The legal framework applicable to ocean observation activities conducted by telecom cables: existing rules, grey areas and way forward

 11:45 - 12:15       Olivier Segalar (Telecommunications Engineer, Orange, Lannion)

  • Submarine cables over life cycle and their scientific use : challenges and potential benefits

 12:15 - 14:00 Lunch


Amphi D (Jean Francheteau) IUEM

14:00 - 14:30 Philippe Jousset (GFZ Potsdam, Germany, researcher in seismology)

  • Signatures of seismic and volcanic processes from Distributed Fibre Optic Sensing

14:30 - 16:10 shorter oral presentations (15min talk + 5mins questions)

  • 14:30 - 14:50 Marc-Andre Gutscher (Director of Geo-Ocean, CNRS Senior Scientist, PI of ERC Advanced Grant FOCUS)
    •  Detecting strain with a fiber optic cable on the seafloor offshore Mount Etna, Southern Italy
  • 14:50 - 15:10 Lionel Quetel and Giuseppe Cappelli (IDIL Fiber Optics, Lannion, partners ERC project FOCUS)
    •  Monitoring commercially operating submarine telecom cables between the islands of the Guadeloupe archipelago
  • 15:10 - 15:30 Alexis Constantinou, Thurian Le Du, Arthur Hartog, (FOSINA)
    •  The complementarity of Distributed Optical Fibre Sensors for offshore applications
  • 15:30 - 15:50 Jean-Baptiste Gongora (Préfet Maritime, Division Action de l’état en mer)
    • Instruction des dossiers de recherche scientifique marine et la stratégie du ministère des armées sur la maitrise des fonds marins

 15:50 - 16:15 short break / coffee

 16:15 - 17:30 panel discussion with 5 invited speakers and members of industry, public officials, French Navy: Challenges facing future research using submarine telecom cables