Nekton to explore the Seychelles Midnight Zone in a joint marine-research

Nekton to explore the Seychelles Midnight Zone in a joint marine-research

The state house announced last Wednesday in a press release the new joint marine-research to explore further the marine biodiversity in the Seychelles and Maldivians oceans. The objective is to establishing a baseline of marine life and the state of the ocean in Seychelles, the Maldives and the High Seas of the central Indian Ocean.

The first descent “Midnight Zone’ will be at a depth between 1000-4000 meters where there is absolutely no light. This research will focus mainly on the seamounts between the Seychelles and Maldives. Seamounts are known to be underwater sea mountains which has been formed by volcanic activities. The expedition will be using one of the world’s most advanced deep-diving submersible alongside a dozen research tools including landers, sampling, sensors and mapping technology.

“A healthy planet needs a healthy ocean. The time to act is now. Seychelles is committed to ocean conservation and by the end of March, we will have 30% of our waters established as protected areas. Seychelles are demonstrating the scientific and economic case for sustainable ocean management and protection and we are delighted that other nations, like the Maldives, are taking leadership” said President Danny Faure of Seychelles.

“This expedition will help us establish the long-term sustainability of our economic growth, livelihoods and jobs through establishing marine protected areas to build ocean resilience” said President Ibrahim Mohamid Solih of Maldives.

Dr. Lucy Woodall, Nekton’s Principal Scientist, from the University of Oxford state “Seamounts have high levels of biological diversity and biomass with a complex mosaic of habitats. They provide stepping stones between coastal areas that can act as nurseries for juvenile fish and are highly productive fishing grounds” Dr. Woodall further added “Seamounts are poorly studied across the globe but are being increasingly impacted by human activities as technology allows exploitation of ocean resources at greater depths and distances from land”.

The joint Seychelles-Maldives Expedition will  be led by scientists from Nekton and the University of Oxford working with, and on behalf of the Governments of Seychelles and the Maldives. Scientists from Seychelles and the Maldives will be participating throughout the mission

The expedition’s mothership, DSSV pressure drop and submersible have just completed sea trials in the Mediterranean Sea before beginning the journey towards Seychelles.

In March last year, Nekton Mission launched a two month underwater expedition not deeper than 500 Metres of the Seychelles waters where various data and specimens were collected.