13 May 2022

Indian Ocean Expedition: two artists in residence.

Indian Ocean Expedition: two artists in residence.

On November 15, 2021, Monaco Explorations launched a call for artist residencies in the context of the next expedition scheduled in the Indian Ocean in October and November 2022. In response to the call, 56 applications from artists from 14 different countries were examined by the Selection Committee convened for this purpose. In February, this committee pre-selected six artists. These six artists were then invited to come and present their project to the Committee on Friday, 6 May, at the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco.

The Committee chose two young creators at the end of these auditions: Elsa Rigot and Rémi Leroy. They will both embark onboard S.A. Agulhas II, alongside the teams of scientists involved in this great adventure.

Deliberation of the Committee on 6 May 2022 at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco. © Michel Dagnino. Oceanographic Institute

The composition of the Selection Committee

The Committee that has participated in the selection process since the launch of the call for residency and led the interviews was composed of the following personalities: Robert CALCAGNO, President of the Committee, Director General of the Oceanographic Institute and Managing Director of Monaco Explorations, Françoise GAMERDINGER, Director of Cultural Affairs, Virginie RAIMBERT, Director of the Heritage Institute, Björn DAHLSTRÖM, Director of the New National Museum of Monaco, Thierry LEVIEZ, Director of the Graduate School of Visual Arts of Monaco, Olivier WENDEN, Vice-President of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, François SIMARD, Secretary of the Advisory Committee of the Indian Ocean Expedition, Bernard REILHAC, Director of Development of the Oceanographic Institute and Gilles BESSERO, Director of Monaco Explorations.

 

Elise Rigot: Telling the Stories of the Saya de Malha Bank

Elise Rigot is a design artist and researcher based in Toulouse, France. Her work questions the links between natural sciences, engineering sciences, and art, as well as the perception we have of the variety of living beings, and how we could make ourselves more sensitive to them. She uses 3D technologies (3D printing, scanning, VR, X-rays, etc.) for their political and aesthetic power, as well as sound and podcasts. Putting oneself in the place of the living beings around us and adopting their point of view is one of her approaches.

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On 6 May, Elise Rigot described her artistic project to the Committee © Michel Dagnino. Oceanographic Institute

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Rémi Leroy shared with the Committee the artistic rendition of his commitment to the environment © Michel Dagnino. Oceanographic Institute.

Rémi Leroy: heading towards an Art-Science dialogue

Is it possible to go beyond words to tell the story of scientific research, too often confined to a hermetic and complex language? How can interdisciplinarity and fieldwork enrich the view of scientists and the public? These reflections constitute the raw material of the projects that Rémi Leroy defends. He tries to unite his different experiences (artist, engineer specialized in renewable energy, teacher) through them. His goal: to contribute to the ecological revolution by creating illustrated stories capable of getting a vast public to conceive other ways of interacting with the environment.

Four other great projects presented on 6 May 2022.

Apart from the two winning candidates, Elise Rigot and Rémi Leroy, four other participating artists were interviewed: Federico Campanale, Elsa Guillaume, Debby Mason, and Toby Wright. All of high quality, the projects were presented with passion and conviction.

Debby Mason lives in Plymouth, England. She specializes in engravings and illustrations of marine life. Her work renders her love of the sea and the amazing life it contains. It is imperative that she shows this beauty and its reality © Michel Dagnino. Oceanographic Institute.

Elsa Guillaume, a visual artist, based in Paris, is also a diver. From drawing to sculpture, through installation and video, she develops plastic research dedicated to the representations of the maritime universe © Michel Dagnino. Oceanographic Institute.

Federico Campanale, the Amsterdam-based photographer and filmmaker, is an artist who explores concepts related to social interactions and natural phenomena. His videos and photo series deal with emotion, temporal dynamics, and memory processes © Michel Dagnino. Oceanographic Institute.

Toby Wright is a painter who lives in Monaco and travels the world with his easel and paintings, searching for exceptional natural sites. He is inspired by the great artists of the past, who pushed the limits of comfort in their quest for beauty. Some in the name of science, others in the name of art, all in the name of humanity © Michel Dagnino. Oceanographic Institute.
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21 January 2022

Six nominations for “Alick and Albert”, the documentary film, in Australia

Six nominations for the award-winning movie "Alick and Albert" at the 2021 Queensland Film Network Awards in Australia.

Six Nominations for “Alick and Albert” in Australia’s Queensland! The main characters of the film are the artist Alick Tipoti and H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco. The film is one of the three documentaries selected for the Queensland Film Network Awards for 2021. “Alick and Albert” is competing for the following awards:

Best Documentary Film – Best Music – Best Cinematography – Best Direction – Best Production – Best Editing.

All friends of the film can now express their support by voting online on the Australian Screen Industry Network website.

Six nominations for "Alick and Albert", the documentary film, in Australia
Engaged Torres Strait artist Alick Tipoti in conversation with H.S. H. Prince Albert II of Monaco. Badu Island, October 2018 © Ariel Fuchs. Monaco Explorations

Created in 2008, this network brings together film professionals and industry with the objective of promoting Australian cinema. Its goal is to position Queensland as the main center of the Australian film industry. Since 2010, it has been awarding the continent’s best productions every year.

About the film

“Alick and Albert” retraces the relationship and exchanges between HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and the Australian artist Alick Tipoti. They developed an unlikely friendship on the occasion of the exhibition “Taba Naba: Australia, Oceania, arts of the peoples of the sea” at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco in 2016 and the meetings that followed on Badu Island, in the Torres Strait in northern Australia in 2018, as part of a Monaco Explorations expedition, and in Monaco again in 2019.

Directed by Douglas Watkin and produced by Trish Lake and Meredith Garlick, the film was previewed at the Rencontres internationales du cinema des antipodes in Saint-Tropez (France) and had its Australian premiere at the Brisbane International Film Festival (Australia). It will be presented in competition at the upcoming Tahitian International Documentary Film Festival.

16 December 2022

Season’s Greetings!

The Monaco Explorations team wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2022.

Season's Greetings

10 december 2021

The Future of Plastic Waste in Seychelles

TFO Program

Since 2020, the open innovation program “The Future of_ Plastic Waste” has aimed to implement practical solutions for recycling, transformation, and reduction of plastic waste in the Indian Ocean by supporting innovative and multi-stakeholder initiatives in Seychelles. This program is conducted in partnership with the Government of Seychelles, the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD), the company SoScience, and the Société des Explorations de Monaco. It is part of the DiDEM project, coordinated by IRD, which aims to facilitate the dialogue between science and decision-makers for integrated management of coastal and marine environments in the Western Indian Ocean.

 

The Futur of Plastic Waste in Seychelles
Poster of the TFO Program

6 projects selected

In the wake of the call for projects launched in October 2020, 38 participants met during the partnership days organized on May 27 and 28. These days and the exchanges that followed led to the emergence of six collaborative projects selected in August 2021. They targeted the following actions and objectives

 

– Understanding and mapping of plastic pollution sources,

– Physical collection and efficient sorting of plastic waste,

– Transformation of collected plastics,

– Environmental education and upstream awareness.

The Futur of Plastic Waste in Seychelles
Anse Capucin. Southeast of Mahé. Seychelles © Katrin Perchat.
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November 30, 2021 in the Seychelles: the members of the jury deliberate...© Katrin Perchat.

3 award-winning projects. And the winners are...

Among these 6 projects, the selection committee, which met on 30 November 2021, designated the 3 award-winning projects of the program. For their launch, they will benefit from support over the first six months and a start-up budget. The complementarity of the selected projects, as well as their feasibility, have been carefully evaluated according to a grid of criteria established beforehand.

Winning project n°1: Launch of an awareness campaign

This campaign will be led by several local actors and brings together multiple skills, such as the Department of Blue Economy, the Foundation for Sustainable Tourism, the Ministry of Education of Seychelles or IRD. It will aim to improve awareness and education on waste among the population of Seychelles and the various actors of civil society. The objectives of this campaign:

– Reduce waste production and increase recycling efforts,

– Minimize residual waste,

– Prevent and limit illegal dumping through a collaborative effort between the various stakeholders in the public and private sectors and civil society.

Winning Project n°2: Connected Collection in Seychelles

This project brings together two local NGOs focused on sustainable tourism development, the Sustainable Tourism Foundation (SSTF) and the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association (SHTA), a local plastic waste solutions consultancy, Yes Consulting, and a social enterprise based in India: Sanshodhan. Sanshodhan has developed a digital application that links manufacturers, consumers, and recycling companies in a single virtuous cycle. This networking promotes a more transparent, efficient, and sustainable recyclable waste management system. The idea is to adapt this concept to the Seychelles context.

 

Winning Project n°3: A Recycling Machine for Everyone

While reducing the amount of waste going to landfills, this project aims to promote simple, inexpensive, and easy-to-use technologies to treat and transform waste. It is based on a global community project: the Precious Plastic Project. The idea is to involve local actors and individuals in designing useful and low-impact products to eventually develop a micro-circular economy by creating new products.

 

Global and large-scale fight against plastic

As in many regions of the world, plastic pollution increases in the Indian Ocean and even affects very isolated areas or islands such as Aldabra. On a regional scale, the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), the French Development Agency (AFD), and the French Facility for Global Environment (FFEM) signed on 9 July 2021 a financing agreement for the ExPLOI project Indian Ocean Plastic Expedition. This regional project aims to coordinate the fight against plastic pollution and to promote the circular economy. It is complementary to the approach taken through the DiDEM project and the TFO initiative in Seychelles.

 

Stop plastic pollution

Accumulation of plastic waste on a beach in Comoros © IRD - Nourrdine Mirhani

Underwater coral reefs ecosystems in the Indian Ocean are directly impacted by plastic pollution. Eparses Islands © IRD - Pascale Chabanet

Pollution by macro-waste. Glorieuses Islands © IRD - Pascale Chabanet

Accumulation of plastic waste on a beach in Comoros © IRD - Nourrdine Mirhani

Plastic waste in the forest. Mahé. Seychelles © Katrin Perchat

Polluted Mangrove. Mahé. Seychelles © Katrin Perchat

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15 november 2021

Call for an artist’s residence on board. Indian Ocean Expedition 2022

Call for artist residency: come aboard the S.A. Agulhas II

As part of its forthcoming expedition to the Indian Ocean in October and November 2022, the Monaco Explorations is launching a call for expressions of interest for an artist residency on board. The S.A. Agulhas II will take on board in Mauritius an international team of around one hundred people: scientists, young researchers and students, filmmakers and photographers, divers, communicators, and civil society actors for a multidisciplinary expedition combining scientific research, public outreach and government cooperation. This new expedition is the first element of the “Monaco Explorations” project. This project has been approved as a contribution to the United Nations Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development 2021-2030. In the great tradition of the scientific explorations of the 19th and 20th centuries, Monaco Explorations wishes to enrich the composition of this multi-skilled team by inviting an artist to join  the expedition. Are you interested?

The Indian Ocean 2022 Expedition

Since their launch in April 2017, Monaco Explorations has conducted a dozen expeditions around the world. These expeditions have been rich in experiences in contact with nature and the Ocean and in human encounters. The “Indian Ocean” Expedition is in turn part of this quest for humanism and scientific truth. The main study area is between Reunion, Mauritius and Seychelles. The Saya de Malha plateau will be the main focus of the mission. The planned itinerary is as follows: embarkation in Mauritius around 10 October 2022, followed by Mauritius => Reunion => Aldabra => Mahe => Saya de Malha => Saint-Brandon => Mauritius. The mission will end in Mauritius around 20 November 2022.

Mission océan Indien. Appel à résidence d'artiste
Trajet prévisionnel de la mission océan Indien 2022 des Explorations de Monaco

Are you a candidate?

This call for expressions of interest is open to working artists of all nationalities.

How to express your interest and submit your application?

Please send your registration form and the documents in the application file by e-mail to the following address

residence.artiste@monacoexplorations.org

Timetable and selection process

Deadline for applications: 7 January 2022 midnight CET. A selection committee composed of several personalities from the world of the sea and exploration, art and scientific culture will draw up a list of shortlisted candidates for an audition during which they will be invited to present their project orally. The shortlist will be announced to the selected candidates from 25 February 2022 and they should be called for their presentation during the week of 25 April 2022.

The final results will be announced by 13 May 2022.

The winning artist will then be notified of all the details of the assignment and the organizers’ expectations.

Composition of the intention file

The application file requested is composed of the following elements:

– The application form.

– A curriculum vitae (1 page maximum).

– A description/argument expressing your motivations for this project (1 page maximum).

– A concept note explaining what you wish to create and achieve from the two-month expedition and residence on board, your vision of the project. Indicate the creations or productions that you imagine during the whole project (2 pages maximum).

– An artistic dossier (book) presenting your past, present and future work and projects (20 pages maximum). If you wish, the portfolio may include letters of recommendation, external reviews and opinions on your creations.

– A description of the technical and financial arrangements for the preparation and production of the work and its distribution. Specify the partners and support you intend to mobilize and the nature of the contributions expected from them.

– Your availability during the three months preceding the embarkation period and the six months following the expedition.

13 October 2021

Alick and Albert : the film in preview in St-Tropez

On Wednesday 13 October 2021, the documentary film “Alick and Albert”, directed by Douglas Watkin, opened the 23rd edition of the Rencontres Internationales du Cinéma des Antipodes de Saint-Tropez in the presence of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco and several personalities.

The event in pictures

H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, with Bernard Bories, President of Cinema des Antipodes, talks about his meeting with Alick Tipoti just before the screening of the film ©Philippe Fitte. Monaco Explorations

Ms Siri, Mayor of St-Tropez, presents H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco with the book "St-Tropez: rêve éternel" by Jean-Louis Chaix ©Philippe Fitte - Monaco Explorations

H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco surrounded by the following personalities. On his right; Mr Bernard Bories, President of Cinema des Antipodes, Ms Greta Morgon Elangué, President of the Jury, Ms Sonia Rolland, actress and member of the Jury. On his left; Ms Sylvie Siri, Mayor of St-Tropez, Mr Samuel Le Bihan, actor, Ms Lilly-Fleur Pointeaux, actress and member of the Jury, Mr Robert Calcagno, CEO of the Oceanographic Institute and Managing Director of Monaco Explorations ©Philippe Fitte - Monaco Explorations

H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco in front of the poster of the film "Alick & Albert" at the Renaissance theater, Place des Lices, St-Tropez, on October 13th 2021, evening of the preview. On his right, Mr Robert Calcagno, CEO of the Oceanographic Institute, Foundation Albert I, Prince of Monaco and on his left, Mr Bernard Bories, President of Cinema des Antipodes ©Philippe Fitte - Monaco Explorations

H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco surrounded by the members of the Festival jury, from left to right: Mr Bernard Bories, President of Cinema des Antipodes, Ms Greta Morgon Elangué, President of the jury, Ms Sonia Rolland, actress and member of the jury, H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, Ms Sylvie Siri, Mayor of St-Tropez and the other members of the jury: Ms Lilly-Fleur Pointeaux, actress, Mr Gérard Krawczyk, film director, Mr Hughes Peysson, distributor ©Philippe Fitte - Monaco Explorations

Preview of Alick and Albert, Saint Tropez, 23rd Festival of Cinéma des Antipodes. From left to right: H.E. Mr Laurent Stefanini, Ambassador of France to Monaco, H.E. Ms Gillian Bird, Australian Ambassador to France and Monaco, Mr Bernard Bories, President of Cinema des Antipodes, H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, Ms Sylvie Siri, Mayor of St-Tropez, Mr. Jack Hawke, representing Ms Trish Lake of Freshwater Pictures, Mr Robert Calcagno, CEO of the Oceanographic Institute, Albert I Prince of Monaco Foundation and Managing Director of Monaco Explorations ©Philippe Fitte - Monaco Explorations.

Façade of the Renaissance theater, Place des Lices, St-Tropez, 13 October 2021 © Didier Théron - Monaco Explorations.

From left to right: Ms Leila Elling, President of the Association of Friends of the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, Mr Robert Calcagno, Managing Director of Monaco Explorations, Ms Sylvie Siri, Mayor of St-Tropez ©Philippe Fitte - Monaco Explorations

Reception of the first guests at the Jean Despas Hall, where the photographic exhibition "Badu Island", evoking Monaco Explorations mission and the visit of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco in November 2018 to the Torres Strait, at the invitation of Alick Tipoti ©Philippe Fitte - Monaco Explorations

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The film retraces the relationship and exchanges between H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco and the Australian artist Alick Tipoti. An unlikely friendship was born after the exhibition “Taba Naba: Australia, Oceania, arts of the peoples of the sea” at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco in 2016 and those that followed on Badu Island, in the Torres Strait in northern Australia in 2018, as part of a mission by Explorations de Monaco, then in Monaco in 2019.

EDM-Mission-Badu-Island_Nov-2018 ©Ariel Fuchs - Monaco Explorations
November 2018, Badu Island. Artist Alick Tipoti and H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco exchange thoughts on the state of the world © Ariel Fuchs. Monaco Explorations.

The film explores the intersection of art, science and nature through a constructive and respectful exchange between two men, two worlds, two models of society. It questions the diversity of Man’s relationship with Nature in today’s world and transmits a universal message in favour of peace, tolerance and harmony between Humanity and the Ocean.

 

Badu Island, Torres Straight, Australia ©Ariel Fuchs - Monaco Explorations
Badu Island, Torres Strait, Australia. Aerial view ©Ariel Fuchs - Monaco Explorations

Private screenings

The world premiere of the film will occur at the Brisbane International Film Festival in Australia prior to its release in Australian cinemas. Pending the possibility to organize the international premiere on the occasion of a European or North American festival and schedule the theatrical release outside Australia accordingly, the film is being shown in private screenings by invitation, in particular at the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco and at the Maison des Océans in Paris.

23 July 2021

Gombessa 6 Cap Corse. Back to the surface in Monaco

Return to the surface in Monaco on 20 July 2021

After a 20-day expedition to try and unravel the mystery of the corallogenic rings off Cap Corse, the Gombessa 6 expedition flotilla, composed of the support and assistance vessel Pionnier, the catamaran Victoria IV and the barge from the French National Institute of Professional Diving (INPP), arrived in the port of Monaco late on Monday 19 July. The expedition ending in Monaco acknowledged a long-standing collaboration with the Principality. The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and Monaco Explorations were indeed among the main partners of the last two Gombessa 5 and 6 expeditions.

The four aquanauts: Laurent Ballesta, Antonin Guilbert, Thibaut Rauby and Roberto Rinaldi exited the “bathyal station” the next day, Tuesday 20 July at 6 pm, after completing their decompression cycle.

The INPP barge in the port of Monaco for the return of the Gombessa 6 expedition from Cap Corse. 20 July 2021©Didier Théron. Monaco Explorations

The Gombessa 6 flotilla in view of the Principality of Monaco. 19 July 2021©Didier Théron. Explorations of Monaco

© Didier Théron. Monaco Explorations

The Pioneer in the port of Monaco. 20 July 2021 © Didier Théron. Monaco Explorations

Gombessa 6 expedition. View of the bathyal station on the INPP barge. In the background, the Pioneer. 20 July 2021© Frédéric Pacorel. Oceanographic Institute

©Didier Théron. Monaco Explorations

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The four deep-sea explorers were welcomed on their way out by official representatives of the Principality of Monaco © Frédéric Pacorel. Oceanographic Institute

The four deep-sea explorers were welcomed on their way out by official representatives of the Principality of Monaco © Frédéric Pacorel. Oceanographic Institute

Laurent Ballesta leaves the bathyal station. Monaco, 20 July 2021, 6 pm © Jordi Chias. Gombessa Expeditions

The four aquanauts of Gombessa 6 at the top of the bathyal station just after their exit. In the background: Mount Agel. Monaco, 20 July 2021© Jordi Chias. Gombessa Expeditions

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The aquanauts' exit

The four deep-sea explorers were welcomed on their exit by H.E. Mr. Pierre Dartout, Minister of State of the Principality, H.E. Mr. Bernard Fautrier, Special Advisor to H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince in charge of environmental issues, Mr. Olivier Wenden, Vice-President of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, Mr. Robert Calcagno, Chief Executive Officer of Monaco Explorations and Mr. Gilles Bessero, Chief Operation Officer of Monaco Explorations.

First impressions

During the press conference held shortly before exiting the ‘bathyal station’, the four aquanauts gave their first impressions. The Gombessa 6 expedition was successfully completed in terms of scientific operations and image recording, despite the capricious weather.

 

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Press conference live from the bathyal station. 20 July 2021, 5 pm, Monaco© Didier Théron. Monaco Explorations

A windy weather

Twelve deep dives at depths between 115 and 140 metres in 16 days: an intense rhythm for the four aquanauts, despite the often-violent winds to the north-east of Cap Corse, which the Gombessa 6 flotilla had to face. These difficult sea conditions made the handling of the diving turret particularly delicate, as it was lowered and raised on the barge for each dive. A remarkable technical achievement.

The aftermath of the mission

All the scientific protocols planned during the mission, set up with 35 French and foreign scientists, have been carried out: coring of two central corallogenic ring cores, installation and recovery of an acoustic Doppler current meter and hydrophones, 3D reconstruction (by photogrammetry) of 4 rings, collection of water and sediment samples, detection of unknown species, recording of images, etc. A first series of results will be presented in September. DNA samples and 3D modelling will soon shed light on the origin of the corallogenic rings, their functioning, and their age.

7 July 2021

Gombessa 6: Cap Corse

The new Gombessa expedition began on 1 July.

After Gombessa 5: Mediterranean Planet in July 2019, the “Gombessa 6: Cap Corse ” expedition, led by Laurent Ballesta and the Andromeda Oceanology team, is once again dedicated to the Big Blue. This new adventure to discover the deep sea, which began in May, is supported by the Principality of Monaco, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and Monaco Explorations. The final phase began on 1st July and is being conducted from the bathyal station installed on the INPP barge, from which the four Aquanauts of Gombessa 6 will explore the deep sea for 18 days in saturation. It will end on Tuesday 20 July 2021 in the port of Monaco, where the Gombessa 6 flotilla will dock after a two-day crossing from Cap Corse. During these two days of sailing, the divers will decompress inside the bathyal station.

In the meantime, new and exciting pages of scuba diving and exploration of the Mediterranean will have been written.

Unlocking the secrets of Cap Corse...

The Gombessa expeditions aim to bear witness, through innovative diving methods, to the inaccessible mysteries of the underwater world. The secret waters of Cap Corse and the eastern coast are full of them… The essential motivations of this new expedition, Laurent Ballesta and his companions draw them from the two major objectives they have set for themselves in this new adventure:

– The first is to better understand, and then better preserve, the last population of angel sharks in the French Mediterranean, the now endangered sharks that gave their name to the Baie des Anges in Nice,

– The second is to solve the scientific enigma of the origin and diversity of deep coralligenous “atolls”.

Station bathyale©Laurent Ballesta_Andromede Oceanologie_GOMBESSA 5_2
The bathyal station©Laurent Ballesta_Andromède Océanologie_GOMBESSA 5

The deep-sea atolls...

A series of preliminary scientific campaigns carried out from 2011 to 2014: Cap Coral, Coral Corse and MedAtolls, to the north-east of Cap Corse, have revealed new circular formation structures called “coralligenous atolls”, unique bio constructed structures, generally made up of a coralligenous central core and surrounded by a crown of rodholites, blocky formations of organic concretions, mainly calcareous algae. More than a thousand atolls were identified between 110 and 130 m depth during these surveys. These deep coral rings had never been described before and are genuine natural monuments.
In July 2020, during a twenty-eight-minute dive at a depth of 120 metres, Laurent Ballesta observed exceptional biodiversity in these deep atolls, in a remarkable state of conservation.

The interest of deep diving

The interest of deep saturation dives from the bathyal station, tested in the summer of 2019 during the Gombessa 5 expedition, makes it possible in July 2021 to exploit the possibilities offered by extended dive times to make progress in solving the scientific enigma of the origin, formation, and diversity of these deep coralligenous atolls off Cap Corse. What do these deep circular formations hide? The hypothesis of their origin, linked for example to gaseous formations, remains to be confirmed. Gombessa 6 should provide new answers…

Sonar captures of coralligenous rings©Andromède Océanologie

The mystery of the rings©Laurent Ballesta_Gombessa Expeditions

Mobile turret of the bathyal station ©Laurent Ballesta. Andromeda Oceanology, GOMBESSA 5.

Aquanaut Thibault Rauby©Laurent Ballesta.Andromède Océanologie. GOMBESSA 5

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The last angel sharks

The emblematic angel shark, officially classified as critically endangered by the IUCN, was observed and photographed by Laurent Ballesta last summer in the posidonia meadows of the eastern coast of Corsica, at a depth of 40 metres. Corsica is therefore the last known refuge for this species in the French Mediterranean. In parallel with the saturation dives, mapping tools and innovative biodiversity sampling methods are being deployed throughout this expedition to discover where the angel shark lives and the extent and size of the population in Corsica.

Since 14 December 2018, when the 3rd session of the Meeting of the Signatories of the Memorandum of Understanding on Migratory Sharks was held in Monaco, the angel shark has been included in the list of species that should benefit from enhanced conservation measures at the international level, particularly in the Mediterranean.

Specimen of angel shark, Squatina squatina, photographed in the Canaries in December 2020 © Magali Boussion

Sharing results

Laurent Ballesta and Julie Deter, scientific leader of the expedition, presented the study underway in Corsica and the first observations made during the International Angelfish Day on Saturday 26 June.

At the end of the expedition, all the scientific data will be used to develop a management tool for the preservation of coralligenous atolls and the conservation of the angel shark habitat in Corsica and more widely in the Mediterranean.