A step forward for science
This expedition is part of UNESCO’s global approach to mapping the ocean. Coral reefs are an important food source for other organisms so locating them can aid research around biodiversity. The organisms that live on reefs can be important for medicinal research and reefs can also provide protection from coastal erosion and even tsunamis.
“French Polynesia suffered a significant bleaching event back in 2019 however this reef does not appear to have been significantly affected. The discovery of this reef in such a pristine condition is good news and can inspire future conservation. We think that deeper reefs may be better protected from global warming.” Dr. Laetitia Hedouin, France’s National Centre of Scientific Research (CNRS)
Until now very few scientists have been able to locate, investigate and study coral reefs at depths of more than 30m. However, technology now means longer dives at these depths are possible. In total the team carried out dives totalling around 200 hours to study the reef and were able to witness the coral spawning. Further dives are planned in the coming months to continue investigations around the reef.
Unesco’s action for the ocean
UNESCO is the UN agency in charge of ocean research. The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, founded in 1960 and joined by 150 countries, coordinates global programs such as ocean mapping and tsunami alert system, as well as numerous scientific research projects. The agency is also the guardian of unique ocean places, through 232 marine biosphere reserves and 50 marine World Heritage sites of Outstanding Universal Value. UNESCO leads the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, from 2021 to 2030, which this year is reflected in the organization of several major international summits that will amplify the collective mobilization.
“1 Ocean, the anatomy” campaign
This campaign is led by explorer photographer Alexis Rosenfeld, in partnership with UNESCO for the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Each year, until 2030, expeditions will be carried out across the ocean to bear witness to its assets for humanity, the threats it faces, but also the solutions we can provide.
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