Located on Moorea (17o 30' S 149o 50' W), one of the Society Islands, 15 km northwest of the main island of Tahiti, French Polynesia, the Gump Station occupies 14 hectares (35 acres) of land from the shore to 149m (489ft). The Station stands at the entrance to Cook’s Bay, providing excellent access to the ocean, lagoon, and island interior. From Cook’s Bay, the main island of Tahiti and its capital Papeete is just 20Km away (25 minutes by car-ferry; 7 minutes by plane). As the commercial heart of French Polynesia, Papeete provides for most logistical needs and is the hub for international air travel.
Researchers and classes find the Gump Station an excellent base for field studies. Marine scientists can work in a variety of habitats - mud and sand flats, sea grass beds, inner and outer coral reefs, algal ridges and deep oceanic waters - all easily accessible from the Station. Terrestrial and freshwater scientists study island biogeography, geomorphology, the biology of invasive species, and the ecology of insular plant and animal communities. Human scientists (ethnobiology, public health, sustainable development, sociology, environmental design, policy, anthropology and archeology) find a fascinating balance between traditional Polynesian society and the culture of more recent immigrants (particularly from Europe and China) as well as a wealth of archeological sites.
Surrounded by a well developed coral reef and lagoon system (12 reef passes), Moorea (132 sq Km) is a high (1207m), 1.2 million year old volcanic island with freshwater streams that flow year-round. A range of terrestrial, freshwater, and marine habitats are located close to the station. Interdisciplinary studies are especially welcome. The six volumes of the Proceedings of the Fifth International Coral Reef Congress (1985), held on Tahiti, contain detailed information about the biology and geology of Moorea and other French Polynesian islands.