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OceanoScientific Expeditions
Coral Reefs 2023-2030


The OceanoScientific Expeditions 2023-2030, carried out under sail without CO2 emissions, on board the catamaran OceanoScientific Explorer named LOVE THE OCEAN, have three main objectives:


OBJECTIVE A - Safeguard the biological & genetic heritage of French coral reef organisms threatened with extinction.


OBJECTIVE B - Build up a fantastic chemical & genetic database* of marine organisms in the service of Science, Health and Well-being.


OBJECTIVE C - Mobilize the widest audience, especially schoolchildren and students to become aware of the importance of the Ocean for their Future.


*OceanoBioTech: OceanoSamples & OceanoDataBase


The Ocean covers 70.8% of the surface of the Planet, but more than 99% of its volume. Coral reefs (285,000 km2) represent less than 0.1% of this surface, but they contain more than 25% of under threat marine organisms. Only 1% to 3% of these marine organisms are (roughly) known. France has the second largest maritime area (Exclusive Economic Zone - EEZ) in the world: 11,035,000 km2, behind the United States (11,351,000 km2) and ahead of the Australians (8,505,348 km2). But it is the only country present in the tropical space of the three oceans: Pacific, Indian and Atlantic, with the largest submarine domain in the world (11,614,000 km2). France has a fantastic natural wealth of molecules of interest for Health and Well-being, to be developed virtuously for future generations.

Eponge Canal Mozambique.png

Sponge from the Mozambique Channel photographed

by Dr. Thierry Pérez,

CNRS Research Director

of the Station Marine d'Endoume (Marseille, France).

The sponges are the first multicellular animals to appear on the Planet, and therefore the first marine animals of the Ocean. Sponges appeared on the Planet about 650 million years ago, during the Cryogenian (720 to 655 million years ago) when the Earth was covered in ice. Today, the descendants of these amazing organisms are under the severe threat of the Sixth Extinction due to human (anthropogenic) activity. It is therefore essential to safeguard their biological heritage, to preserve it for future generations.


Sponges inhabit all aquatic ecosystems. They are sources of many ecosystem services: ecological functions of recycling organic matter, depollution, biomolecules, bathing sponges, etc.


These are fantastic resources of molecules of interest for human Health, undoubtedly promising therapies for the Future.

In the wake of Prince Albert I of Monaco


Hirondelle in the Azores in 1888

Émile Topsent 

(1862-1951), Marine biologist and


recorded his research

alongside Prince

Albert I in three

Fascicules published

from 1892 to 1928.

Prince Albert I of Monaco,

a precursor of Marine Sciences, conducted 28 Oceanographic Campaigns from 1885 to 1915

which led to the publication

of 110 Fascicules, large format

books that are still used

nowadays by researchers 

in laboratories .

On board, Émile Topsent discovered and studied previously unknown species of sponges (Fascicule XXV - 1904).

"Only a better knowledge of the Ocean will allow its virtuous exploitation with respect for Nature for the benefit of future generations...because the Earth is running out of breath.

But let's stop piling up alarmist scientific findings, let's consider the Ocean as the most gigantic resource of Humanity and let's demonstrate that Ecology & Economy can be effectively married.

By bioprospecting little-known sponges on little-explored reefs using an oceanographic

sailboat (17 m - 57 foot); using only 3 to 5 centimeters samples analyzed biologically and genetically according to innovative techniques, we are inventing a virtuous development of as yet unknown underwater resources, for the benefit of the sites of origin of these organisms."




Yvan Griboval

Innovative Navigator-Explorer 

OceanoScientific / LOVE THE OCEAN

"The spongiologist Émile Topsent alongside Prince Albert I from the end of the 19th Century, then closer to us Claude Lévi and especially Jean Vacelet, CNRS Emeritus Research Director - of whom I am a disciple and office neighbor in the laboratory of the Station Marine d'Endoume - have demonstrated the complexity
and the extraordinary molecular richness of sponges.

About 18,000 molecules have already been listed for the 9,000 sponges species identified to date. But the international scientific community recognizes that there are many more. We are therefore sure to discover new ones in the Eparses Islands..."

Thierry Perez - Oceanographer & Marine Biologist - Spongiologist

Scientific Director of OceanoScientific Expeditions 2022-2027 

CNRS Research Director at the Institut Méditerranée

de Biodiversité et d'Écologie marine et continentale - IMBE

Head of the Laboratory of the Station Marine d'Endoume (Marseille, France)


Scientific objectivess

The OceanoScientific Expeditions 2023-2030 are the first oceanographic campaigns on this site in the Eparses Islands to explore all facets of sponge biodiversity, whose purpose is the inventory of species by in situ on molecular extraction board the LOVE THE OCEAN, DNA/RNA sequencing and metabolomic explorations, for an optimal valorization of their ecosystem services.

The sites studied will be subject to sight sampling of small portions of the most representative species in order to draw up this inventory of the natural heritage.

The result of the sampling will constitute a reference collection of tissues and extracts which will then be the subject of an integrative and interdisciplinary study. The tissues will be studied in integrative taxonomy using an approach combining morphological, genetic and metabolomic analyses.

An initial assessment will be made of the chemodiversity of the organisms harvested and of its potential in terms of valorization. Functional studies using different genomic (DNA) and transcriptomic (RNA) approaches will be based on these collections in order to, for example, identify the enzymatic machinery behind the chemodiversity of sponges.

The interest of this latest work will be to provide chemists with methods that could reproduce these molecules by biomimicry.

The OceanoScientific Expeditions are also :

Use the OceanoScientific System (OCS System) to collect every ten seconds and automatically transmit every hour unpublished data of the Air-Sea interface where the Climate is at stake, in order to feed the international weather forecasting and operational oceanography centers.

In addition to the oceanographic campaigns in the Eparses Islands, explore from May to July the universe of sponges on the Mediterranean coasts, always looking for new species, with students.

Use an underwater robot capable of being piloted to depths of up to 300 meters to explore beyond the capabilities of OceanoScientific divers.

Introducing young people to the functions of marine scientific exploration.

The OceanoScientific Academy to guide students

and young graduates towards the New Maritime Professions


Under the supervision of the Campus des Métiers et Qualifications d'excellence (CMQe) - Métiers de la Mer - Région Sud, in collaboration with the 25 members of the consortium of the FAçade Méditerranéenne d'EXcellence - FAMEX 2030 / France 2030 program, to offer young people the opportunity to get involved in the sectors of the future of the Blue Economy, by creating the procedures themselves for the virtuous valorization of the fantastic resources of the French submaritime universe.

On the agenda: Creation of dedicated educational modules with contributions from teachers, specialists and key witnesses; practical work on board OceanoScientific Explorer LOVE THE OCEAN; use of unpublished data collected during exploratory navigations, etc.

Tell the Ocean, transmit the Emotion...


OceanoScientific Expeditions serve to raise awareness of the general public to discover, respect and preserve the Ocean:

International media exposure: Social networks - TV - Print media - Radio;

Regular transmission of video images on social networks and TV;

Permanent cartographic tracking of the exploration platform LOVE THE OCEAN

Hourly display of physico-chemical data on a dedicated site; 

Explorers' Conferences with the participation of eminent scientists;

Public Relations events and operations on board LOVE THE OCEAN.



The OceanoScientific Explorer is given a concept name

to convey the simplest of messages:  LOVE THE OCEAN


17 meter (57') sailing catamaran equipped for unprecedented

exploratory sailing without CO2 emissions or waste.

Virtuous energy autonomy:

Solar panels and hydrogenerators.


Scientific equipment unique in the world on a sailboat:

Air-Sea sensors / Dry and wet laboratories /

DNA - RNA sequencing station /

On board robot for dives to 300 meters.

Based in La Seyne-sur-Mer / Club Nautique de la Marine

de Toulon / Yacht Club de Monaco.

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