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14 June 2019

"From the Coast to the Abysses" Day - The Results of the RAMOGE 2018 Exploration Campaign

Cataetix laticeps, poisson osseux des profondeurs ©Exploration RAMOGE IFREMER

On Saturday 8 June, to mark World Oceans Day, the RAMOGE Agreement held an awareness-raising day entitled "From the Coast to the Abysses." This event, hosted by the City of Cannes at the Espace Miramar, was an opportunity to raise awareness among the general public of the beauty and fragility of the underwater world.

The scientists* who took part in the RAMOGE 2018 deep-sea exploration campaign announced the various results and numerous discoveries of this campaign to the public and the Maritime Prefect, who was present for the occasion. These included the observation for the first time in the Ligurian Sea of a Protoptilum carpenteri, located in the Monaco Canyon, and the identification of a Cataetix laticeps, a bony deep-sea fish that has been observed only twice since the 1970s. In addition, the presence of an ancient fossil forest of Paragorgia arborea, a species that is now common in the Atlantic Ocean at a depth of less than 200 metres, was noted. The samples collected were dated to the end of the Wurmian Ice Age (10,000 years ago), thus highlighting the geological and climatic evolution of the Mediterranean.

The images collected at these depths also made it possible to demonstrate the negative impact of human activities at a depth of more than 2,000 metres. Abandoned fishing gear and nets continue to trap many species, while thousands of pieces of plastic waste are amassing on the seabed.

The presentation of the results of the RAMOGE exploration campaign aroused the interest of the public and reminded the audience of the importance of this scientific cooperation, which, in particular, has made it possible to discover the unsuspected presence of certain species in the Western Mediterranean Basin. Major discoveries are still to be made.

As a reminder, this campaign was carried out thanks to the substantial French oceanographic resources of IFREMER (the ship Atalante, ROV Victor 6000 and multibeam sonar), which were made available free of charge by the French delegation via the Maritime Prefecture of the Mediterranean. RAMOGE was thus able to collect a large amount of data, observations and samples, which are of the greatest interest for the scientific knowledge of these deep underwater environments, close to the coast.

*: Boris Daniel (French Biodiversity Agency), François Galgani and Olivia Gerigny (IFREMER), Frédéric Poydenot (Permanent Centre of Initiatives for the Environment (CPIE) of the Lérins Islands), Ludovic Aquilina (Department of the Environment of the Prince's Government of Monaco), Eric Tambutte (Monaco Scientific Centre), Leonardo Tunesi, Simonepietro Canese and Michela Angiollilo (Instituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale) and Marzia Bo (University of Genoa).

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