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Supported project #3 : Fondation 1 OCEAN

1 OCEAN is an international scientific exploration project led by photographer Alexis Rosenfeld with UNESCO alongside the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) ('the Ocean Decade'). Explore, Understand, Captivate, are the three founding principles of the 1 OCEAN project. They answer an urgent need: that of highlighting the full extent of the wealth hidden beneath the surface, and thus raise awareness on the need to protect this exceptional common good.

© Alexis Rosenfeld

Among the different explorations conducted by 1 OCEAN, the foundation "Les Amis du Festival" has chosen to support the project “The Noah's Ark of the deep, a future for biodiversity?” up to 50,000€ in 2023.

"The Noah's Ark of the deep, a future for biodiversity?": a story to share

August 2022. After a particularly hot summer, amateur divers are warning of a major gorgonian sea fan die-off in the Mediterranean. In some places, populations have been completely decimated between 0 and 30 meters depth. In response, the 1 OCEAN Foundation and UNESCO decided to launch a major scientific exploration program. The aim: to understand how deep-sea gorgonians and their ecosystems could survive.

In response to the ecological emergency, UNESCO and the 1 OCEAN Foundation have launched a scientific exploration program in partnership with the CNRS and the LECOB research unit at the Observatoire Océanologique de Banyuls-sur-Mer: "The Noah's Ark of the deep, a future for biodiversity?" Indeed, beyond a certain depth, the gorgonians seem preserved, as if they had been protected in a thermal capsule. For scientists, this finding is a real source of hope: less impacted by temperature anomalies, the depths could become veritable climatic refuges for animal forests.

"The mortality of gorgonians is probably the last alarm signal concerning the ecological crisis we are going through"

Lorenzo BRAMANTI, Chargé de recherche CNRS – LECOB.

Launched in October 2022, this two-year program will involve four European countries (France, Italy, Monaco and Spain), with Lorenzo BRAMANTI, a specialist in animal forests, as Scientific Director. The program will be based in particular on Mediterranean shipwrecks, which are formidable natural laboratories for the study of animal forests. To assist the researchers, Lily, the 1 OCEAN Foundation's underwater drone, is tasked with collecting data at depth and taking samples for genetic analysis. The aim will be to define whether deep-sea habitats can host demographically self-sufficient animal forests and thus become the ultimate biological safe haven.

© Alexis Rosenfeld

1OCEAN is supported by the foundation "Les Amis du Festival" .


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