A unique collaboration between UNDER THE POLE and international scientists to discover marine animal forests of the mesophotic zone (30-200 m in depth) and their role in the functioning of marine ecosystem.
During a world tour sailing from the polar regions to the tropics and the temperate regions, field observations and collections, and laboratory experiments will provide a more precise identification of marine animal forests at high risk from climate changes (hotspots of sensitivity). This will allow to develop appropriate protective mitigation and management tools adapted to (or integrating) these particular habitats, which today are largely unknown and too often ignored by conservation measures
Marine animal forests are among the richest and most diverse marine ecosystems on the planet. Marine animal forests are formed by animals (e.g. sponges, corals, bryozoans) which form three-dimensional structures providing architectural complexity and sheltering for diverse associated species.
These forests transform the landscape and reduce the microclimate variability (temperature, pH, etc., of the forest), thus forming oases of biodiversity hosting species of economic and ecological importance, and places of refuge for vulnerable species. As these forests are formed by animals, they are not limited by the lack of light (specific to plant photosynthesis) and reach their full potential in the mesophotic zone (30-200 m depth), which offers optimal conditions for their development. On an oceanic scale, the ecosystems sheltered by these habitats could prove to be as essential as the equatorial forest for the preservation of biodiversity.
MAFs have been recognized as Vulnerable Marine habitats by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and will likely be the first victims of accelerating environmental changes. Urgent conservation actions are required, but data on MAFs are sparse and fragmented. We are missing a holistic approach at a wide geographical and bathymetrical scale if we are to efficiently protect these vulnerable ecosystems. However, scientists are facing major technical obstacles to the study of marine animal forests..
To fill this knowledge gap that is essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UNDER THE POLE - DEEPLIFE - 2021-2030 programme will explore the marine animal forests of the mesophotic zone across the world's ocean basins, from the polar regions to the tropics and temperate regions.
Entering the mesophotic zone requires technical knowledge and experience. Beyond 60 meters in depth, classic diving techniques are no longer sufficient. This difficulty in accessing depths has led to a compartmentalization of knowledge on coastal habitats, with well-known surface ecosystems (0-30m) and unknown mesophotic ecosystems (30-200m).
The diver allows fine observation, precise and fast sampling and incomparable flexibility. The plurality of their senses, the finesse of their movements and their capacity for analysis make humans indispensable as a tool for correctly understanding the underwater ecosystems. But diving in the mesophotic zone requires unique expertise and the very latest technologies. Thus, the collaborative model combining UNDER THE POLE’s diving skill with scientists provides an answer to the need for accurate knowledge of the oceans..
Our two scientific directors are accompanied by international researchers.
DEEPLIFE SCIENTIFIC CO-DIRECTOR
CNRS, PSL Research University, EPHE-UPVD-CNRS, USR3278 CRIOBE
DEEPLIFE SCIENTIFIC CO-DIRECTOR
CNRS, LECOB, UMR 8222
UNDER THE POLE
Philippe ARCHAMBAULT, Institute of Marine Sciences, University of Quebec, Canada
Frédéric BERTUCCI, BOREA, University of the French West Indies, Guadeloupe, France
Émilie BOISSIN, CRIOBE, EPHE, France
Pim BONGAERTS, California Academy of Sciences, USA
Isabelle BONNARD, CRIOBE, UPVD, France
Nathalie TAPISSIER-BONTEMPS, CRIOBE, UPVD, France
Simon BRANDL, Marine Science Institute, University of Texas, USA
Jordan CASEY, Marine Science Institute, University of Texas, USA
Joachim CLAUDET, CRIOBE, CNRS, France
Camille CLERISSI, CRIOBE, EPHE, France
Bruno DANIS, Laboratory of Marine Biology, ULB, Belgium
Émilie DASSIÉ, EPOC-OASU, CNRS, Université de Bordeaux, France
Vianney DENIS, Institute of Oceanography, National Taiwan University, Taiwan
Lucia DI IORO, CEFREM, UPVD, France
Philippe DUBOIS, Laboratory of Marine Biology, ULB, Belgium
Sam DUPONT, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Igor EECKHAUT, Laboratory of Biology of Marine Organisms and Biomimicry, University of Mons, Belgium, Belaza Marine Station, Institute of Halieutics and Marine Sciences, University of Tuléar, Madagascar
Brian D. GREENE, University of Hawai’i System, USA
Katell GUIZIEN, LECOB, CNRS, France
Vreni HAÜSSERMANN, Huinay Scientific Field Station, Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaíso, School of Marine Sciences, Faculty of Natural Resources, Chile
Nicolas INGUIMBERT, CRIOBE, UPVD, France
Juliette JACQUEMONT, Ocean-Climate Platform and CNRS, France
Frédéric LEMAÎTRE, CETAPS, University of Rouen, France
Gilles LEPOINT, Laboratory of Oceanology, MARE Center, University of Liège, Belgium, Belaza Marine Station, Institute of Halieutics and Marine Sciences, University of Tuléar, Madagascar
Bruno MALAIZÉ, EPOC-OASU, Université de Bordeaux, France
Élodie MARTINEZ, LOPS, IRD, France
Francisco OTERO FERRER, IU ECOAQUA-ULPGC, Spain
Éric PARMENTIER, FOCUS, University of Liège, Belgium
Valeriano PARRAVICINI, CRIOBE, EPHE, France
Serge PLANES, CRIOBE, CNRS, Moorea, Polynésie française
Benoit PUJOL, CRIOBE, CNRS, Moorea, Polynésie française
Richard PYLE, Bishop Museum, USA
Paul RENAUD, Akvaplan-niva,Tromsø, Norway / University Centre in Svalbard, Norway
Luiz ROCHA, California Academy of Sciences, USA
Cristina ROMERA CASTILLO, Instituto de Ciencias del Mar-CSIC, Spain
Sergio ROSSI, DISTEBA, University of Salento, Italy / Labomar, Federal University of Ceará, Bresil
Lucas TERRANA, Laboratory of Biology of Marine Organisms and Biomimicry, University of Mons, Belgium, Belaza Marine Station, Institute of Halieutics and Marine Sciences, University of Tuléar, Madagascar
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