OceanoScientific Expeditions
Coral Reefs 2022-2027


Friday 18 November 2022

Careenage in Portugal 

The preparation phase of the OceanoScientific Expeditions 2022-2027 continues, notably during the whole week of November 7 to 11 in Figueira da Foz (Portugal) with the careenage of the LAGOON 570 catamaran (57' - 17 m) DRAGOON which is slowly but surely becoming the new OceanoScientific Explorer named LOVE THE OCEAN

"I don't know how to attribute the difficulty to balance our budgets, to the war in Ukraine, to the economic crisis which doesn't stop growing, to the very dark economic and social horizon, or to a nasty cocktail of the three, but we struggle!" explains Yvan Griboval, President of the OceanoScientific organization and Director of the OceanoScientific Expeditions


"On the one hand, we would have liked to leave from the Yacht Club of Monaco towards the Indian Ocean on Thursday, November 17, as I had imagined several months ago, although we would have been able to carry out only about ten days of exploration of the coral reefs of Juan de Nova (Eparses Islands - France). 


On the other hand, the development of our scientific objectives has taken such a large scale that we have to considerably extend the preparation phase to deliver what the researchers now expect from us.


Finally, we are engaged in a very important operation scheduled for five months (March - July) each year for five years from 2023 - an event carried by no less than 27 members of an exceptional consortium that will be unveiled next January - and its implementation requires my presence on land rather than fighting against the headwinds of the Red Sea!” continues Yvan Griboval. 


He concludes: "We are taking advantage of this opportunity to add a new function to our OceanoScientific navigations, which will participate in a major scientific first experience in the Mediterranean Sea launched on Thursday 23rd March during the Monaco Ocean Week 2023. As a result, we have more time to prepare our nautical and scientific equipment as well as to finalize our budgets. This is a guarantee of success, because success is always built upstream, on land, well before we cast off..."


On the slipway of Figueira da Foz (Portugal), Maxime Dréno, the OceanoScientific Explorer's technical preparator

and Yvan Griboval's faithful second in command, watches over the good beaching of the catamaran DRAGOON,

on its way to become the platform LOVE THE OCEAN. Photo OceanoScientific 


Impeccable hulls of this LAGOON 570 built in 2000 and commissioned in 2001, this catamaran

signed by the Cabinet Vincent Lauriot-Prévost - Marc Van Peteghem is definitely the ideal platform

for the OceanoScientific Expeditions 2022-2027, as well as for the navigations programmed each first semester

in the Western Mediterranean Sea and along the French Atlantic and English Channel coasts. Photo OceanoScientific

Monday 24 October 2022

Scuba diving initiation in the Mediterranean

To the south-west of the creeks of Marseille, on the drop off of the Impérial du large, mythical dive site of the Riou Archipelago where wolves, barracudas and bonitos rub shoulders, the two scientists and divers of the OceanoScientific association: Carla Di Santo (Dive Manager) and Linn Sekund prepare for exploratory dives in the Scattered Islands (Indian Ocean - France-TAAF) des OceanoScientific Expeditions 2022-2027  under the supervision of Doctor Thierry Pérez, CNRS Research Director ofMediterranean Institute of Biodiversity and Marine and Continental Ecology - IMBE  established in the Marine Station of Endoume (Marseille), which presides over the definition of the scientific objectives of these innovative sailing campaigns without CO2 emissions in collaboration with the geneticist Christian Siatka teacher-researcher of the CHROME team  from the University of Nîmes and with the teacher-researcher Didier Leandri (Sea Tech - University of Toulon & Genomic and Structural Information Laboratory / IGS - CNRS). Thanks to one of our best spongiologists in activity, the objective is to learn how to sample very small parts of the sponges without injuring them. It is therefore a question of learning to work with precision at a depth of 20 to 30 meters. This first involves identifying the species to be sampled and documenting the individuals identified. Carla and Linn can hardly have a better teacher than Doctor Thierry Pérez, also Scientific Director of OceanoScientific Expeditions 2022-2027.


Linn Sekund (left) and Carla Di Santo (Dive Manager) prepare to identify, document and collect samples of Mediterranean sponges under the direction of Doctor Thierry Pérez, CNRS Research Director and Scientific Director

of the OceanoScientific Expeditions 2022-2027. Photo Thierry Pérez - CNRS - IMBE

Monday 5 September 2022

Heading for the little-known sponges of Juan de Nova 

After consulting and studying for more than a year what would be the most scientifically relevant for the OceanoScientific Expeditions 2022-2027 as a study theme among four families of marine organisms of the coral reefs: Cnidarians/Anthozoa (Coral - Sea Anemones - Jellyfish), Ascidians (Invertebrates), Sponges or Porifera, Plants (Algae), the choice was definitely made during the summer to focus on sponges. They are the first multicellular animals that appeared on the Planet about 650 million years ago and, consequently, the first marine animals to populate the Ocean. Sponges are also known for their extraordinary potential of molecules of interest for Health and Well-being. Approximately 18,000 molecules have already been listed for 9,000 species of sponges identified to date, while spongiologists agree that there are still many to be discovered... The oceanographic research on the reefs of the Eparses Islands (France) will concern the five islands. Juan de Nova will be explored first, in January 2023. Then will follow in November 2023: Tromelin, Glorioso, Bassas da India and Europa. Juan de Nova is located in the Mozambique Channel (Indian Ocean), offshore to the west of the center of Madagascar, an area renowned for its fantastic biodiversity. The first oceanographic campaigns of the OceanoScientific Expeditions 2022-2027 in the Indian Ocean will be conducted on this site, swept by tropical depressions and cyclones, but also first-class larder of the great sharks of the Indian Ocean: great whites, tigers and bulldogs ...

If Yvan Griboval is the developer and Director of OceanoScientific Expeditions, it was necessary that the Scientific Direction be assumed by an uncontested specialist, a renowned spongiologist. It is thus Doctor Thierry Pérez, CNRS Research Director of the Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d’Écologie marine et continentale - IMBE established in the Station Marine d'Endoume (Marseille, France), who will preside over the definition of the scientific objectives of the OceanoScientific Expeditions 2022-2027 and over the implementation of the innovative procedures for these oceanographic campaigns under sail without CO2 emission. 


Doctor Thierry Pérez will collaborate closely with Professors Christian Siatka (Scientific Advisor on Genetics and Director of the École de l'ADN) and Didier Leandri (Scientific Advisor in Underwater Robotics and Interventions under the sea). This team will be reinforced for other scientific aspects, in particular those related to the collection of data at the Air-Sea interface by the OSC System and the sampling of contaminants, by the historical partners of OceanoScientific: Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer (Ifremer), Laboratoire d'Océanographie et du Climat: Expérimentations et Approches Numériques (LOCEAN), Météo-France and the Unité Mixte IMAGO: Ifremer - Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD).

These scientific commitments, which will make the OceanoScientific Expeditions 2022-2027 unique, respond to the wish of their developer, Yvan Griboval, to follow in the footsteps of the Scientific Campaigns led by Prince Albert I of Monaco (1848-1922) on his yachts. Indeed, Professor Émile Topsent (1852-1951) took advantage of the exploratory navigations carried out from 1885 to 1915 to discover, identify and reference sponges that were then unknown.


Even today, the three Fascicules produced by the eminent spongiologist Émile Topsent under the authority of Prince Albert I and the editorial and scientific direction of Professors Jules de Guerne and Jules Richard, are a reference. They are still used in laboratories, in particular in the one of the Station Marine d'Endoume by Doctor Thierry Pérez and, previously, by his mentor, Doctor Jean Vacelet who discovered the carnivorous sponges.


Juan de Nova, for the majority of observers, is a deserted paradisiacal island with pristine white sand beaches. For the sailor,

it is a hostile universe with no possible shelter, with numerous outcropping reefs, violent tidal currents, and a strong tidal range

that constantly modifies the coastal landscape: a trap on the high seas that is the source of many shipwrecks. Photo TAAF


Carla Di Santo, Scientific Coordinator & Diving Manager of the OceanoScientific Expeditions 2022-2027,

will be the appointed collaborator of Doctor Thierry Pérez, both during the explorations of the coral reefs

of Juan de Nova, and in laboratory in the Station Marine d'Endoume. This will result in a thesis

relative to the scientific objectives defined by Doctor Pérez. Photo OceanoScientific

Tuesday 30 August 2022

Purchase of the future platform LOVE THE OCEAN 

Thursday 4th August, Yvan Griboval signed with Helena Nyhlén, the owner, the Sale & Purchase Agreement for a LAGOON 570 catamaran (17 meters) designed by the famous VPLP Design firm, the undisputed world leader in ocean-going multihulls for both racing and cruising. Since his return from the OceanoScientific Expedition 2016-2017 around the world single-handed, in June 2017, Yvan Griboval has been looking for the sailboat that will become the new OceanoScientific Explorer named LOVE THE OCEAN. But the specifications were modified over time as the oceanographic objectives evolved. The objective was also to devote a limited budget in the purchase of this platform, to favor investments in scientific equipment and in the exploratory campaigns themselves. It is thus five years later, at the end of the study of the 32nd file, that the final choice was made: DRAGOON, currently under the Swedish flag based in Figueira da Foz, Portugal. Yvan Griboval and his team, including his faithful Second-in-command Maxime Dreno, will take delivery during the first week of October. This catamaran will immediately join the Toulon roadstead where it will be prepared for the Great Departure of the first of the five OceanoScientific Expeditions to Mayotte and then to the Eparses Islands (Indian Ocean - France): Thursday 17th November from the pontoon of honor of the Yacht Club de Monaco.


On the occasion of the signature of the Sale & Purchase Agreement, on the 4th August 2022 in Figueira da Foz (Portugal), Yvan Griboval and Helena Nyhlén on board DRAGOON, the future OceanoScientific Explorer which will be named LOVE THE OCEAN, the seventh of the LAGOON 570 catamaran series, launched in 2001. Photo OceanoScientific

Tuesday 28 June 2022

Better understand climate change  

In just under five months, the first oceanographic sailing campaign without CO2 emissions of the cycle des OceanoScientific Expeditions 2022-2027 to the Eparses Islands (Indian Ocean - France) will leave Marseille, then Toulon, then Nice and the Yacht Club de Monaco cap to the South-East. The new OceanoScientific Explorer, a catamaran named LOVE THE OCEAN, will be equipped with the OSC System Version 4.0 for collecting physico-chemical data at the Air-Sea interface, itself controlled by the new OSC-Software (Version 3.0), just finalized by the teams of  ROM-arrangé , the specialist in on-board computer systems and satellite communications on ocean racing yachts: IMOCA 60 monohulls from the Vendée Globe as Ultim trimarans. It is also thanks to a software intended for these exceptional sailboats that the idea that led to the creation of the OceanoScientific Program in 2006 materializes sixteen years later. Meanwhile, the two professional diving scientists from the OceanoScientific association continue their learning of DNA/RNA sequencing techniques under the tutelage of Professor Christian Siatka of the Ecole de l'ADN, now in contact with the teams of the French branch of Thermo Fisher Scientific, world leader in scientific services.

" Self-taught and without any training as a scientist, oceanographer, meteorologist or climatologist ", explains Yvan Griboval, " I imagined in 2005-2006 that if we collected a large amount of data at the Air-Sea interface at the same time, in the same place and that we put the whole thing on a single table, we should potentially observe which parameter evolves with which other. Scientists could then better understand the causes and consequences of climate change, especially if this is done in maritime areas essential for the Climate, but little or not informed, such as the Deep South where I led the OceanoScientific Expedition 2016-2017. However, until now, no one had succeeded in implementing this famous graph with data evolving together in near real time on sailboats, moreover small ones, less than twenty meters. Today, thanks to the work of Louis Civilise (ROM-arrangé / École Supérieure d'Électronique de l'Ouest - Angers), this crazy dream when I did it more than fifteen years ago is coming true. It is an immense satisfaction! "


In the ROM-arrangé workshops in Lorient (Brittany - France), Louis Civilise presents to Linn Sekund (OceanoScientific) the functionalities of OSC-Software 3.0, including the famous graphic evolving in almost real time of all the physico-chemical data of the essential parameters of the Air-Sea interface, which are collected automatically by the OSC System. Photo OceanoScientific 


Mathieu Boimard (centre), European Scientific Manager of sequencing equipment at Thermo Fisher Scientific France, discuss with Professor Christian Siatka (right), creator and Director of the School of DNA, about the performance of the Ion GeneStudio S5 XL Prime System, a high-speed sequencer from Ion Torrent, in the presence, from left to right, of: Carla Di Santo and Linn Sekund, scientists from the OceanoScientific association and Guillaume Tenca (ex-Director of QIMA Life Science / Director of BuzzUp). Photo Bouchera Douah (Thermo Fisher Scientific)


Scientists and professional divers, Linn Sekund and Carla Di Santo (on the right) of the OceanoScientific association, will also have to carry out DNA/RNA sequencing on board the catamaran LOVE THE OCEAN. They familiarize themselves here with the KingFisher Duo Prime from Thermo Fisher Scientific, thanks to the explanations of Emmanuel Guillard, Scientific Manager of KingFisher products (hidden behind Linn Sekund). This material is used for sample preparation. It offers constant extraction and purification of DNA/RNA, proteins and cells. Photo Bouchera Douah (Thermo Fisher Scientific)

Monday 16 May 2022

Stories of tiger sharks and bulldog sharks in Marseille   

The more the start date of the first of the five campaigns of OceanoScientific Expeditions 2022-2027 to the Eparses Islands (Indian Ocean - France) is getting closer - it will be during the second half of next October consecutively in Marseille, Toulon, Nice and Monaco - the more each parameter is studied in detail. The remoteness of the Eparses Islands from any port and their position on the route of cyclones and the powerful tropical depressions of the Indian Ocean are conditions that will complicate these oceanographic campaigns by sailing without CO2 emissions. Respect for the inhabitants of the coral reefs that will be bioprospected by Carla Di Santo and Linn Sekund will be essential. Indeed, these uninhabited and prohibited access islands are renowned for their extraordinary biodiversity. It is therefore probably one of the places in the world where the concentration of large sharks is the highest. Tigers, bulldogs and other species are legion! For this, the OceanoScientific Expeditions team just got stronger. Steven Surina, one of the most famous professional divers specialized in the study of the behavior of large sharks, joins the crew of the catamaran  LOVE THE OCEAN, with the double task of supervising and safety of the two divers through the "dialogue" with the sharks, and the production of video reports of their dives ... when tiger sharks, bulldogs and other species will authorize it. Steven, who has become a master in interpreting the body language of these extraordinary animals, performs nearly three hundred dives a year with tourists to bring them into contact with these sharks in complete safety, as part of his missions of Shark Education. Next trainees before the dives in the Eparses Islands: Carla and Linn…


Steven Surina in contact with tiger sharks in the Bahamas. Large curious animals, these sharks, reputed to be terrible predators, can be peaceful playmates for those who know how to behave with kindness with them, once their body language has been assimilated and interpreted. Photo Joe Mazzi


Professional scientific divers Carla Di Santo (left) and Linn Sekund (OceanoScientific) surround Steven Surina

at the end of the first dive preparation meeting at the Eparses Islands. Steven will combine the role of "Safety Diver" and, sometimes, Chief Operator of underwater shots. Photo OceanoScientific

Monday 14 March 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). 


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. Photo OceanoScientific

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).


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