Indian Ocean Expedition: Log book

The boat's journey during the mission

Planning of operations

Posts written during the mission

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.


Tell me about your expedition


Discovery of the Saya de Malha seagrass beds with the ROV

These underwater meadows, composed of flowering plants and not algae, play an important role in the oceans but they are threatened by pollution, trawling and ocean acidification. Hence the interest in establishing a database during this expedition so that we Seychellois and Mauritians can better understand this environment in order to better manage and protect it.

Sundy Ramah, écophysicien spécialiste de la faune benthiques à l’île Maurice.
Hervé Claustre answers questions from journalist Stéphane Dugast. 03_11_2022©Nicolas Mathys_Zeppelin_MonacoExplorations

Argo floats

“Our floats are precious allies in understanding this area of the Indian Ocean. They are certainly expensive equipment, but our approach is now oriented towards a virtuous cycle of recovery, reconditioning and re-commissioning of this expensive equipment with a reduced environmental impact.”

Hervé Claustre, directeur de recherche, Cnrs, laboratoire d’océanographie de Villefranche-sur-Mer. Co-responsable du programme BGC Argo International
Sandy bottom. Saya de Malha. 04_11_2022©Sven Bender_Autentic_MonacoExplorations

The ROV transects

“We are eager to discover these “sea grass meadows”. At the moment we are at a depth of about 30 metres but we can’t see anything. The sea grass is not very far away anyway, it’s just a matter of time”.

Sheena Talma, chercheuse seychelloise, biologiste spécialisée dans l’analyse d’images vidéos.
Mariette Dine. Saya de Malha. 08_11_2022©Didier Théron_MonacoExplorations

The future of bio plastics.

The idea is to demonstrate how to diversify the economy based on science and innovation, to encourage local entrepreneurs to pursue their ideas. This expedition allows me to look beyond the Seychelles by developing new collaborations. I want to broaden the debate around plastic pollution, show the impact of microfibres on the marine environment and try to change habits. This is the first time I have taken part in an expedition and I am learning a lot.

Mariette Dine, entrepreneur. Diplômée de l’Université des Sciences mer et durabilité des Seychelles. Développe un projet sur l’utilisation des algues pour la fabrication de bio plastiques
In the foreground, Frédéric Menard, IRD, sorting after a trawl. 13_11_2022©Didier Théron_MonacoExplorations

Photophores and the deep sea

Most organisms that live in lightless environments have photophores. This is a way of either avoiding and escaping predation from other organisms or attracting prey. It acts as a lure. Beyond prey-predator interactions, it is also a means of recognition within the same species in a dark environment. Making light is important and 90% of these organisms are capable of producing light and bioluminescence in these areas of great darkness. This is an essential functional trait that we are studying more and more with special sensors.

Frédéric Ménard, Chercheur à l’IRD. Spécialiste des écosystèmes marins.
Portrait of Florence Galletti 2

The ocean has rights

I am interested in the interaction between the Law of the Sea and marine science, and in the evolution of the Law of the Sea. Being a lawyer among scientists is a challenge, but it is very interesting. Scientific expeditions such as the Saya de Malha expedition can help to find innovative legal solutions to manage regional space.

Dr Florence Galletti, IRD. Spécialiste du Droit de la mer.
Screen view of an ROV transect. 08_11_2022. Saya de Malha©Didier Théron_MonacoExplorations

The vagaries of field research

We were planning four transects today. But there is always a gap between what we plan on paper and what we experience in the field, and I had to arbitrate. However, all the scientists, 80 in total, are currently on deck day and night to multiply the collections, sorting and classification of specimens.

Francis Marsac, océanographe et halieute, coordinateur des opérations scientifiques sur le projet Saya de Malha
Six nominations pour "Alick and Albert", le film documentaire, en Australie

1st dive on Saya de Malha.

With my partner, we dived to 42 meters, with 40 minutes of actual diving on the bottom and 40 minutes of decompression. The bottom was very white and made up of sand with small coral debris. The ground was soft which allowed us to lift and collect elements quite easily. All this was covered with a very rich fauna and flora.

Line Le Gall

The partners of the expedition