16 December 2022

Post of 16 December, 2022

Dass Bissessur expresses in this post the feelings of the Mauritian scientific team at the end of the Monaco Indian Ocean Explorations mission; an exceptional opportunity to build capacity in the various disciplines of oceanography and to further explore the little known area of Saya de Malha.

The Mauritian perspective

As Mauritian scientists, this expedition provided an amazing opportunity to enhance our capacity in the different disciplines of oceanography and further explore this remote region. Being on a research vessel such as the SA Agulhas II, we, as young scientists, gained hands-on training in manipulating and operating oceanographic instrument, collecting quality data and samples as well as processing and analysing these data. 

We also worked in close collaboration with international scientists in research work involving:  physio-chemical profiling, bathymetry, sub-bottom profiling, currents, fauna and flora samplings and marine mammals’ and birds’ observations. Additionally, two experiments, the first involving  the photosynthetic activities of seaplants (phytoplankton, seaweeds and seagrasses) and marine symbiotic invertebrates (hard corals, gorgonians, giant clams) and the second, the thermal tolerance of these organisms to climate change-driven global warming were conducted for the first time onboard a vessel by Mauritian scientists.

On a general note, even though we were working on 12-hour shifts and some of us were sleep-deprived, the Monaco Explorations Indian Ocean Expedition will be remembered for the synergy and cooperation fostered by all participants whilst working towards achieving their goals. The sense of camaraderie between participants and crew alike helped in making the shift hours shorter and more enjoyable. Moreover, a helping hand was always available to divide and conquer the various science tasks. The sunsets aboard the SA Agulhas II were only matched by the millions of stars observed at night and the artists onboard were able to give an extra dimension to the work carried out by the scientists. It is with sadness that participants bid farewell to their friends as well as the place they called home for three weeks, and more for others.
However, much work still needs to be done and the analysis of the data and specimens collected is eagerly awaited. Overall, this expedition will live long in the memories of the Mauritian participants and bodes well for the scientific community working on the Indian Ocean.
Dass Bissessur. Scientifique mauricien. Membre de la mission océan Indien 2022©Didier Théron_MonacoExplorations

Dass Bissessur

PhD in Marine Geophysics.

Director Hydrocarbon / Mineral Exploration Unit.

Department of Continental Shelf, Administration and Exploration of Maritime Areas. 
Office of the Prime Minister, Mauritius Island

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