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Eparses Islands Expedition 2022-2023

Monday, March 14, 2022

 Preparation of scientific equipment and procedures 

The scientific team of the OceanoScientific association is expanding and progressing in the preparation of the OceanoScientific Expeditions 2022-2027. On the one hand, the definition of procedures relating to DNA and RNA sequencing of samples of marine organisms. They will be carried out on board the new OceanoScientific Explorer called LOVE THE OCEAN during next winter (austral summer). On the other hand, the constituent equipment of Version 3.0 of the OSC System. The technical collaboration with the antenna of the Institute of Research for Development (IRD) of Plouzané (Brest - France) thus continues under the directives of the engineer Denis Diverrès, whose wise advice allowed the success of the 2016-2017 OceanoScientific Expedition under 40th South. As for the great innovation which will consist in carrying out the genetic sequencing of marine organisms from the coral reefs of the French islands of the Indian Ocean on a sailboat, a partnership has been implemented with the École de l'ADN directed by Professor Christian Siatka in Nîmes (France). 

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On February 22 and 23, 2022, in the premises of the École de l'ADN in Nîmes, Linn Sekund, on the left, and Carla Di Santo supervise Professor Christian Siatka who teaches them the essential gestures of the sequencing procedures that they will have to implement on board the LOVE THE OCEAN catamaran. PhotoOceanoScientific

After Linn Sekund, a Swedish woman with a master's degree in marine biodiversity conservation obtained in Portugal after a degree in environmental management in Great Britain, who joined the  OceanoScientific Expeditions in the course of 2020 as Scientific Coordinator, it is Carla Di Santo's turn to join the OceanoScientific association at the start of 2022. Previously a laboratory technician in medical microbiology, responsible for marine conservation programs in the Maldives or a professional diver in Marseille, Carla Di Santo holds a master's degree in aquatic bio-resources completed by a project manager diploma in sustainable aquaculture and fisheries from the University of Montpellier. In the OceanoScientific team, Carla Di Santo is both Scientific Coordinator and Dive Manager.

 

For her part, last year, Linn Sekund supplemented her scientific and environmental skills with professional diving training. Both will indeed work in tandem to collect samples of marine organisms on the coral reefs, then to carry out the sequencing as soon as they return on board LOVE THE OCEAN.

 

This bioprospecting will target four distinct families of marine organisms: anthozoa (coral, anemones, jellyfish); ascidians (invertebrates); sponges (sponges); plants (algae). The objective is as much the search for unknown or genetically misunderstood marine organisms as the preservation of the genetic heritage of the French underwater domain, the largest in the world.

 

The genetic sequences that will result from these bioprospects will be carefully stored in a cloud to be accessible as a priority to French students, scientific institutes, but also to Health and Well-being manufacturers. In this way, it will be possible to economically and virtuously exploit these fantastic French natural resources through biomimicry. It is a concrete way to preserve life on the reefs by avoiding looting. It is also an opportunity to preserve the genetic heritage of organisms that have lived on the planet for several hundred million years (cnidaria / anthozoa) and which are now threatened with extinction due to the increase in temperature and acidity of seawater, direct consequences of human activity (anthropism).

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Using technology from the OSC System Version 2.1 which successfully operated around the world during the austral summer of 2016-2017, Denis Diverrès and Linn Sekund are currently designing Version 3.0, as seen here on February 10, 2022 in the workshop of the IRD IMAGO branch of the Ifremer Campus in Plouzané (Brest - France).

Photo OceanoScientific

In the DNA School lab, Linn Sekund, left, and Carla Di Santo familiarize themselves with the equipment they will use aboard the catamaran LOVE THE OCEAN when they are on the French coral reefs of the islands of the Indian Ocean, at the very beginning of the year 2023. Photo École de l'ADN

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