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OceanoScientific Expeditions
Coral Reefs 2023-2030

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Wednesday 18 January 2023

Suzuki Marine commits to the OceanoScientific Expeditions

Yvan Griboval, President of the philanthropic association of general interest OceanoScientific and Guillaume Vuillardot, Director of the Marine activity of Suzuki France, signed a long-term partnership for the OceanoScientific Expeditions 2023-2030 in the Parisian showroom of the brand of French luxury lingerie Lise Charmel, historical partner of the OceanoScientific association. This Suzuki / OceanoScientific partnership will include the supply of a Suzuki DF30A engine to equip the Vanguard inflatable dinghy designed to transport the scientific divers of the LOVE THE OCEAN catamaran to the exploration sites of the Eparses Islands (Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françaises - TAAF) in the Mozambique Channel, between Madagascar and Africa. "We chose this Suzuki engine because of its low fuel consumption and a unique system that allows limited CO2 emissions. It is also the lightest in its category. These are important criteria when we are in the middle of nowhere and the safety of the scientists diving depends on the quality of our equipment. Having Vanguard semi-rigid equipped with with Suzuki is a guarantee of reliability and efficiency. So it is an asset for the success of our innovative expeditions", declared Yvan Griboval. And Guillaume Vuillardot added "This partnership is consistent with our environmental program "Clean Ocean Project" aimed at limiting our consumption and discharge of plastic. One of its objectives is also to contribute to a better understanding of the Ocean to better protect its biodiversity. Thus, we are happy to help OceanoScientific to a better knowledge of the genetic data of marine organisms endangered by the Sixth Extinction".

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From left to right : Yvan Griboval, President of the philanthropic association of general interest OceanoScientific 

and Guillaume Vuillardot, Director of the Marine activity of Suzuki France, in the showroom of the brand of luxury lingerie 

Lise Charmel, historical partner of OceanoScientific. Photo Lise Charmel / OceanoScientific

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Cordial exchange in the showroom of the brand of luxury lingerie Lise Charmel, historical partner of OceanoScientific, 

between representatives of two companies mobilized on the theme of the preservation of the Nature in general 

and of the Ocean in particular. From left to right: Guillaume Vuillardot, Director of the Marine activity of Suzuki France; 

Olivier Piquet, President of Lise Charmel; Yvan Griboval, President of the philanthropic association of general interest OceanoScientific; Marika Doulas, Responsible for Communication, Marketing & Press of the Marine activity of Suzuki France. 

Photo Lise Charmel / OceanoScientific

Wednesday 21 December 2022

Promoting the new professions of the Blue Economy 

The philanthropic association of general interest OceanoScientific has been part, for nearly a year, of a large public-private consortium of 27 members formed as part of the fourth Programme d'Investissements d'Avenir (PIA4) of FRANCE 2030. It carries the project FAçade Méditerranéenne EXemplaire - FAMEX 2030, initiated by the Campus des Métiers et Qualifications d'excellence - Métiers de la Mer - Région Sud, attached to the University of Toulon, through the Commission emploi-formation of the Conseil maritime de façade. In this context, OceanoScientific will organize from 2023 to 2027 included a touring operation on the coasts of the Mediterranean, Atlantic and English Channel called MER & MÉTIERS and subtitled "Reveal the vocations of Tomorrow" which the catamaran LOVE THE OCEAN will be the totem base. The departure of the Tour MER & MÉTIERS 2023 is scheduled from Toulon on Tuesday 21 March.

If it seems obvious that the Ocean is the Future of Humanity, because it is impossible to live with more than eight billion people on land resources that are exhausted earlier and earlier each year, it is logical to consider that the Ocean will be a fantastic provider of new jobs in what is becoming common to call the Blue Economy.

 

In this spirit, the FAMEX 2030 project was born, which became a real 2023-2027 action program by government decision at the end of last July. This program is structured around two priorities: 

 

AREA OF FOCUS 1 - Fishing & Aquaculture for a sustainable diet, to facilitate the training and awareness of the actors on their sites of exercise to the changes of the professional practices induced by the climate change, for a sustainable fishing for the benefit of the consumer. Objective: to adapt and ensure a virtuous exploitation of resources so that they are sustainable.

 

AREA OF FOCUS 2 – Decarbonized Marine Mobility & Clean Ports, to anticipate the skills needed for the transformation (refit) and hybridization of ships in service, while anticipating the implementation of training programs compatible with the use of new propulsion energies. All fleets, without exception, are therefore concerned: large tonnage vessels, pleasure yachts, fishing boats, boaters' units, and even dinghies and drones. The aim is to develop a new generation of vessels that are more economical in terms of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.

 

It is also recognized that there can be no skills and new jobs without a real mobilization of scale to promote The Sea and its countless opportunities beyond our coasts and beaches. This will be an opportunity to mobilize high school students, as a priority, on the subject of the Brevet d'Initiation à la Mer (BIMer) created by the Éducation Nationale at the junction of traditional school education and the world of the sea, a bridge between passion and reason, knowledge and practice, professional and amateur, civil and military. It should be noted that the BIMer brings optional points to the French Baccalaureate, just to give it an additional attraction for high school students. It will also be a question on this occasion of strengthening the action of the l’Observatoire interrégional des Métiers de la mer.

 

Thanks to this approach, the OceanoScientific association is progressively developing a real activity of OceanoScientific Academy which advocates a transversal training leading to a diploma, in link with several universities, among which those of Toulon and Nîmes, in close collaboration with the École de l'ADN.

 

The first edition of the MER & MÉTIERS will leave Toulon on Tuesday 21 March 2023 for Monaco (Wednesday 22 March to Sunday 26 March), then Bastia (Monday 27 March to Saturday 1 April), and Nice (Monday 3 April to Saturday 8 April). Leaving the period of school vacations and long weekends in May, the Tour MER & MÉTIERS will start again in Toulon (Sunday 21 May to Saturday 27 May, including the International Day of Biological Diversity on Monday 22 May), La Ciotat (Tuesday 30 May to Saturday 3 June), Marseille (Monday 5 June to Saturday 10 June, including the World Oceans Day on Thursday 8 June), Sète (Monday 12 June to Saturday 17 June), and will end in Cannes (Monday 19 June to Saturday 24 June).

 

On the occasion of each stopover of the Tour MER & MÉTIERS, many professional events will be organized by the members of the FAMEX 2030 consortium, including each time an Forum Innov'Bleu designed and organized by OceanoScientific and its partners. It will bring together innovative project leaders and major players able to effectively contribute to transforming good innovative ideas into future professions of the Blue Economy.

 

During the liaison sailings between the FAMEX 2030 Tour MER & MÉTIERS ports of call, small coastal OceanoScientific Expeditions will be conducted to collect oceanographic data at the Air-Sea interface, with a larger campaign during the April-May break.

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The Tour MER & MÉTIERS will be organized in the first semester of the next five years (2023-2027),

always starting from Toulon. The first departure is set Tuesday 21 March 2023.

Wednesday 14 December 2022

Vanguard Marine commits to the OceanoScientific Expeditions

On the 9 December, in a lounge of the Yacht Club de Monaco, Philippe Buffe de Mornas, representing the Vanguard Marine brand on the French Mediterranean coast, and Yvan Griboval, President of the philanthropic association of general interest OceanoScientific, signed a five-year collaboration contract within the framework of the OceanoScientific Expeditions 2023-2027. Vanguard will equip the catamaran LOVE THE OCEAN with a professional dinghy, mainly intended to take the scientific divers of the oceanographic platform to the site of their dives to explore the coral reefs of the Eparses Islands (Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françaises - TAAF) and to search for new species of sponges under the direction of Thierry Perez, Scientific Director of these missions. This will also allow to sequence the DNA/RNA of the sponges, in particular to save the genetic data. "In the Indian Ocean, during our exploratory sailings without CO2 emission, we will evolve several weeks in maritime zones without possibility of external assistance. It is necessary to have professional equipment with proven reliability. We are therefore very happy and proud to use a Vanguard semi-rigid inflatable dinghy for this. It is an additional asset, a guarantee of the potential success of the OceanoScientific Expeditions", declared Yvan Griboval at the end of this signature.

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Philippe Buffe de Mornas (on the right), Vanguard Marine's representative on the French Mediterranean coast,

and Yvan Griboval, President of OceanoScientific, have signed at the Yacht Club de Monaco a collaboration contract for the next five years, within the framework of the OceanoScientific Expeditions 2023-2027. Photo Mesi - Yacht Club de Monaco

Wednesday 7 December 2022

eDNA, promise for the future 

On the 15th November 2022, the world population was eight billion people. The projection is 8.5 billion in 2030 and 9.7 billion in 2050 with a peak of about 10.4 billion in the 2080s (Source: UN). Land resources are already insufficient to meet the needs of the world's population, whose standard of living is increasing, generating an increase in CO2 in the atmosphere and its consequences on Nature in general and on the Ocean in particular. The exploitation of the Ocean is therefore unavoidable. But how can we imagine the virtuous exploitation of a universe that has existed for 3.7 billion years and where 90% of the species are still unknown? How can we sustainably manage marine resources if we don't know precisely what Ocean life is? Work on environmental DNA (eDNA) applied to oceanography is thus generating a new promise for the future, the result of a major innovation led by Franco-Swiss players: University of MontpellierETH ZurichÉcole Pratique des Hautes Études - PSLSPYGEN, etc. within the framework of the first major campaign of the Monaco Explorations (2017-2020) at the initiative of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, His Foundation (FAP2) and thanks to the support of the Rhone Mediterranean Corsica Agency and in particular Pierre Boissery, who believed in and supported the development of this technology in the Mediterranean.

Before developing this topic of hope for humanity, let us recall that eDNA exploitation allows us to analyze the diet of a species, to inventory the biodiversity of an ecosystem, to reconstruct past biodiversity, to detect species: invasive, new, rare or threatened.

 

Indeed, DNA is the support of genetic information and the signature of living beings. Individuals leave traces of their passage in their environment: droplets of saliva, mucus, skin, scales, droppings, decaying cells... These DNA-laden remains that float in the air, move with river and Ocean currents, and are deposited on soil or in sediments are commonly referred to as environmental DNA (eDNA). Thus, like forensic detectives inspecting suspicious DNA from crime scenes, biologists extract DNA from environmental samples in order to characterize the species that live there…, or that have only transited to other sites (migratory species).

 

The first terrestrial eDNA studies date back to 2003, only twenty years ago. In France, the first use of eDNA concerned the detection of an aquatic vertebrate species, in 2007. This was to identify the bullfrog, Lithobates catesbeianus, introduced into southwest France in 1968. It is also thanks to eDNA that DNA traces of extinct animals such as the woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) and the giant moa (Dinornis robustus) were identified in sediments from Siberia and New Zealand.

 

In 2016, the initiative of Sovereign Prince Albert II of Monaco to take up the baton held out to him through several generations by His great-great-grandfather Prince Albert I of Monaco (1848 - 1922) and to relaunch a cycle of Monaco Explorations combining the Principality's driving forces: His Foundation Prince Albert II of Monaco, the Monaco Scientific Center, and the Yacht Club de Monaco, has allowed two French scientists, David Mouillot and Tony Dejean, to get together around an ambitious project.

 

"David Mouillot, professor at the University of Montpellier, a marine ecologist, had followed the work we had done in freshwater with environmental DNA" explains Tony Dejean, founder of SPYGEN. "He suggested that I accompany him on the maritime adventure of the first Monaco Explorations, aboard François Fiat's YERSIN, without really knowing at the time where it would lead us. Thanks to this initiative and the unfailing support of the Foundation Prince Albert II, we were able to carry out incredible, unthinkable work and deploy these technologies around the world. Thus, thanks to the Prince, we have been able to establish close collaborations with Colombia, where we have just set up our first environmental DNA analysis laboratory. In France, the contribution of Pierre Boissery, who believed in our very innovative approach, allowed us, thanks to funds from the Rhone Mediterranean Corsica Agency, to carry out the first very promising inventory campaigns on the French Mediterranean shores. This collaboration has also allowed us to develop genetic reference bases for fish. Because it is not enough to collect seawater samples and extract eDNA from them, it is also necessary to match each DNA sequence obtained with the name of species perfectly identified beforehand, so that the information is complete, usable and exploitable if necessary."

 

There would be multiple benefits to fisheries management using an eDNA approach: cost-effectiveness, broader geographic coverage, early detection of invasive species, stock assessment, exploration of previously inaccessible aquatic environments, discovery of new deep-sea species, etc.

 

But David Mouillot goes further: "If the study of species migration due to climate change is facilitated by the collection and study of eDNA samples, we must remember that unlike humans and terrestrial animals who release the carbon stored in their bodies upon death, fish and marine mammals sequester CO2 and then ship it to the sediment at the bottom of the Ocean, where it is stored for millennia. Our "Blue Carbone" project aims to implement ecological solutions to maintain fish stocks, to contribute to the fertilization of the Ocean and to rehabilitate its natural function as a carbon pump. In this approach, artificial intelligence is a tool that we use more and more frequently and successfully in the MARBEC laboratory".

 

On his side, Tony Dejean, who lives in Bourget-du-Lac (France), far from the sea but close to rivers and lakes, has long wondered how to increase his databases and make them available to the widest possible range of potential users concerned with the management of natural resources, in particular by developing Vigilife – The Global Life Obserbatory: "What would be the best solution to collect eDNA from as many oceanic sites as possible to better understand the species present? The idea came to me to arm a fleet of 15-20 meters cruising catamarans. They could move at low cost on the Ocean without CO2 emission to collect a maximum of information in a minimum of time on a multitude of sites. It remains to be verified in reality the relevance and scientific efficiency of such a device...".

 

"Contributing to the development of eDNA marine sample collection and analysis procedures, by David Mouillot and his team at MARBEC on the one hand, and by Tony Dejean and his collaborators from SPYGEN and Vigilife on the other hand, is part of our desire to do what I call the "Science of Use" as opposed to the "Science of Observation", comments Yvan Griboval, President of OceanoScientific and Director of the eponymous expeditions. "Thanks to these methods, it seems to me possible to direct fishermen - coastal fishermen at first - towards sites that are not very frequented because of the habit, sometimes transmitted from father to son, of systematically fishing on the same sites ... complaining that the resource is decreasing. And for good reason, they only fish there! Thanks to the use of the information generated by the eDNA study, it would be possible to encourage fishermen to change their habits, to prospect new sites and, thus, to allow the resource to naturally recover on overfished sites, so that their fishing actions become virtuous and sustainable. Nature would gain. The fisherman too. As for the consumer, he would have the guarantee of a quality fish in his plate".

 

Another essential use for the fishery, the sentinel role of invasive species using eDNA, motivated by the need for early detection of these species before they can become established, spread and cause irreversible ecological and economic impacts. 

 

Talk to the fishermen in South Finistère (France). They are currently seeing their scallop fishing objectives on the Glénan site, which is rather profitable, ruined by the presence of octopuses (Le Marin & Ouest-France, 23 November 2022). Yes, an invasion of octopuses in Brittany (France) ! The same ones that holidaymakers love to eat in summer on the terraces of the beaches of the French Riviera with a chilled Provence rosé. Did you say climate change?...

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Under the guidance of Professor David Mouillot, Franck Pichot, PhD student from the University of Montpellier

and Lola Romant, intern from the University of Montpellier, filter eDNA with a peristaltic pump

in the Lavezzi Reserve, in the Bouches de Bonifacio, between Corsica (France) and Sardinia (Italy).

Photo Lila Desgarnier - UMR MARBEC / University of Montpellier

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The identification of species is done automatically by artificial intelligence on a simple underwater photo like this one. 

Photo Valentine Fleuré - UMR MARBEC / University of Montpellier

Wednesday 30 November 2022

From competition to expedition 

While the media spotlight was on the Route du Rhum Destination Guadeloupe and its 138 competitors, many similarities exist between oceanic competitions and scientific or cultural sailing expeditions. Indeed, success in one case as in the other depends on the quality of the preparation.

Those who win competitions, those who reach their exploratory goals, are those who sail without the constraint imposed by technical problems, the fruits of infernal spirals that lead to failure and can be dramatic for the crew. Therefore, let's praise the (good) preparation...

 

"A common denominator links Charles Caudrelier (Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, Ultim multihull), Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut, IMOCA 60 monohull from the Vendée Globe) and Yoann Richomme (Paprec Arkea, Class40 monohull), each of whom won their class in Pointe-à-Pitre: they arrived at the end of the Atlantic crossing from Saint-Malo with their boats in perfect condition. They thus concentrated on navigation and strategy, primarily with regard to the weather phenomena, while observing the choices of their competitors who, over time, became their pursuers" explains Yvan Griboval, President of the OceanoScientific association and Director of the OceanoScientific Expeditions, including the 2016-2017 single-handed round-the-World from Monaco to Monaco. 

 

"A land-based observer will retort that, unlike an ocean race, the notion of performance does not enter into the final result of a sailing expedition. This is a mistake. Because speed is a major safety factor. Being able to perform well means being able to choose your route to sail in maneuverable sea and wind conditions, to escape from bad weather that threatens the boat and its crew. 

 

During the OceanoScientific Expedition 2016-2017 to collect scientific data at the Air-Sea interface, below 40° South, when I was in the middle of the Pacific before heading towards Cape Horn, I found myself in a tricky situation, due to the fact that the center of a very hollow depression was located about a hundred miles (nearly 200 km) further north than the weather forecast predicted. It is obvious that if I didn't had a boat and its equipment in perfect condition, on the one hand, and if I hadn't put myself in "race" mode, on the other hand, I risked a punishment that promised to be fatal for the expedition as well as for myself. It was by sailing my boat hard, as I did when I was an ocean racer, that I managed to get out of this predicament, but not without being knocked down once or twice by pyramidal waves.

 

When we will go to the Eparses Islands (France) from the Club Nautique de la Marine à Toulon and then from the Yacht Club de Monaco, we will work on the coral reefs in search of new species of sponges, in particular to save the genetic data and then entrust them to students within the framework of the OceanoScientific Academy in order to valorize the molecules of interest for a use in Health and Well-being (Dermatology - Cosmetology – Nutrition). We will navigate in rather hostile maritime zones, whether it is the South of the Red Sea in the bottleneck that leads to the Indian Ocean - also an active piracy zone between Yemen to the North and Eritrea and Djibouti to the South - or the South-West of the Indian Ocean, to the North of Madagascar, a space of predilection of strong tropical depressions that frequently turn into devastating hurricanes" develops Yvan Griboval.

 

And to conclude: "This is why, even if we will not have any sporting objective within the framework of the OceanoScientific Expeditions, the accent will nevertheless be carried on the performances of the catamaran LOVE THE OCEAN and, consequently, on the desired excellence of its preparation".

 

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The handling of the catamaran DRAGOON, which is about to become the new OceanoScientific Explorer 

named LOVE THE OCEAN, starts with the inspection of its equipment, carried out by Yvan Griboval and Maxime Dréno, 

OceanoScientific Explorer's technical preparator and faithful second in command to the Director of the expeditions.

Photo OceanoScientific

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Once controlled on board, each sail is destined for a detailed inspection on the floor of a sailmaker for some repairs if necessary and to receive the modifications and reinforcements requested by Yvan Griboval and Maxime Dréno. Photo OceanoScientific

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..."

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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 

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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! "

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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 

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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)

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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…

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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

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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). 

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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. 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).

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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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