Wednesday 26 July 2023
Mission accomplished: 104 samples of eDNA
between Menton and Gruissan in 24 days
A record of 104 thirty-minute samples were taken at 52 Stations along the 465 nautical mile (862 km) route of the OceanoScientific eDNA Mediterranean Expedition 2023, an unprecedented collection of environmental DNA (eDNA) along the French Mediterranean coast. Departing from the Yacht Club de Monaco on Monday 3 July and starting off from Menton the same day, it ended this week in the Port of Gruissan due to a strong gale across the whole of the Mediterranean, particularly active in the Gulf of Lion. The scientific results will be revealed on 8 June 2024, World Oceans Day, by David Mouillot, Scientific Director of the BioDivMed Mission. This oceanographic campaign under sail is part of this innovative oceanographic mission, the aim of which is to carry out a synchronised and standardised inventory of living organisms on the French Mediterranean coast and in the Pelagos Sanctuary, under the joint impetus of the Rhone Mediterranean Corsica water Agency, the University of Montpellier and a joint laboratory between the MARBEC Research Unit and the company SpyGen. The catamaran LAGOON 570, refitted as the OceanoScientific Explorer LOVE THE OCEAN, served as the technical base for the five people on board for 24 non-stop days of expedition. The catamaran also carries the Vanguard semi-rigid inflatable motorized by Suzuki - particularly fuel-efficient and therefore a very low CO2 emitter - fitted with unique equipment specially designed to facilitate this large-scale collection operation.
Delivery of the first of two batches of environmental DNA (eDNA) samples in the Port of La Grande Motte.
From left to right: David Mouillot (Scientific Director / MARBEC - University of Montpellier),
Yvan Griboval (OceanoScientific Expedition Director & Skipper), Léa Griboval (Speed & Depth Manager),
Pierre Friant (Second Officer & Pilot of the Vanguard-Suzuki), Léni Guillotin (Marine Biologist / Scientific Manager), Justine Camus (OceanoScientific Expedition Coordinator / GPS trajectory Manager). Photo OceanoScientific
It's 6.15 am outside Le Cap d'Agde, the sun is rising and the OceanoScientific team is already in action for the first collection of the day, while Yvan Griboval remains solo on the OceanoScientific Explorer LOVE THE OCEAN, linked by VHF radio to the four eDNA collectors. In this way, it is possible to avoid collecting samples when the sea is agitated by the afternoon thermal breeze. Photo OceanoScientific
End of the oceanographic campaign under sail at the Quai d'Honneur in the Port of Gruissan, thanks to the warm welcome from the team led by Jean-Claude Méric (Director of the Gruissan Tourist Office) and
Marie-Claude Niclot (Technical Director of the Port of Gruissan). Photo OceanoScientific
Wednesday 19 July 2023
The wonderful Mediterranean
Departing from the Yacht Club de Monaco on Monday July 3rd, the current OceanoScientific Expedition is dedicated to an unprecedented collection of environmental DNA (eDNA) along the French Mediterranean coast, from Menton to Banyuls-sur-Mer, at 54 stations. It allows sailors to discover an absolutely marvellous French Mediterranean, far from the clichés of landlubbers. More than half of the stations have been sampled and, on its way west, LOVE THE OCEAN has passed the Camargue. This OceanoScientific eDNA Mediterranean Expedition 2023 is part of the BioDivMed Mission, which aims to create a synchronized and standardized inventory of living organisms along the French Mediterranean coast and in the Pelagos Sanctuary, under the joint impetus of the Rhone Mediterranean Corsica water Agency, the University of Montpellier and a common laboratory between the MARBEC Research Unit and the SpyGen company. The catamaran LAGOON 570, refitted as the OceanoScientific Explorer LOVE THE OCEAN, is the technical base for the five people on board for the 25-day non-stop expedition. The catamaran also carries the Vanguard semi-rigid inflatable motorized by Suzuki, fitted with unique equipment specially designed to facilitate this large-scale collection.
The special feature of this OceanoScientific eDNA Mediterranean Expedition 2023 is that it does not spend the night
in harbors, but at anchor, usually in exceptionally beautiful sites, like here under the island of Sainte-Marguerite (Ile de Lérins), where you can watch the sun set over Cannes through a porthole on LOVE THE OCEAN. Photo OceanoScientific
Whether, as here, near the posidonia-rich island of Sainte-Marguerite (Iles de Lérins), or at the other spots where the catamaran ink, the crew of LOVE THE OCEAN, led by Yvan Griboval and Pierre Friant, make every effort to drop anchor in sandy areas devoid of these precious plants. This is made possible by the ingenious www.donia.fr application (free version) developed by Andromède Océanologie with the support of the Agence de l'eau Rhône Méditerranée Corse. Photo OceanoScientific
On board LOVE THE OCEAN, we usually wake up around 5:30 a.m. to enjoy the early calm mornings, when
the night breeze has run out and the thermal wind has not yet awakened. It's a unique moment that offers
the grandiose spectacle of sunrises we never tire of, as here at Cap de Saint-Tropez, just off the Baie des Canoubiers.
When the Mistral is in full force, it's best to stay at anchor and let the gusts run over the surface of the Mediterranean! Like here, the LOVE THE OCEAN catamaran at the foot of Cap Sicié, near the Rade de Toulon, nicknamed the "Cape Horn of the Mediterranean". Although Sicié is to the Horn what sardines are to the port of Marseille: a joke.
Photo Justine Camus – OceanoScientific
It's no secret that the French Mediterranean coastline of the Var and Alpes-Maritimes departments is heavily built-up. But the banks of the Var are home to vast, undeveloped areas, completely untouched by construction and preserved in the authenticity of their origins. Sometimes a house dominates an exceptional landscape, as here in Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer. Photo OceanoScientific
If we had kept this image of an exceptional coastline to illustrate the forthcoming OceanoScientific Coral Reefs Expedition and its passage south of the Red Sea, as Arabia approaches Africa, nobody would have noticed. However, this image was taken at the foot of the Bec de l'Aigle, which closes off La Ciotat harbor to the west.
This image taken at the Sanary-sur-Mer fuel station is not the most artistic of those presented here. But it is a wink in the form of thanks and congratulations for this municipal port with an efficient black water drainage station (rare in the west of the Var!), which gave us a warm welcome thanks to the kindness of Jean-Michel Bordat (Port agent at the harbor master’s office). Thank you, we'll be back... Photo OceanoScientific
The contrast is striking between the coast to the east of Marseille, and the Camargue to the west,
which appears on the horizon as a discreet, almost invisible line of coastline, a simple black line at sunrise,
as seen here during our anchorage near Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. Photo OceanoScientific
Wednesday 12 July 2023
OceanoScientific eDNA Mediterranean Expedition 2023
As always, the current OceanoScientific Expedition started from the Yacht Club de Monaco on Monday 3rd July. This summer, the expedition is dedicated to collecting environmental DNA (eDNA) at 54 stations along the French Mediterranean coast, from Menton to Banyuls-sur-Mer. This OceanoScientific eDNA Mediterranean Expedition 2023 is part of the BioDivMed Mission, which aims to create a synchronized and standardized inventory of living organisms along the French Mediterranean coast and in the Pelagos Sanctuary, under the joint impetus of the Rhone Mediterranean Corsica water Agency, the University of Montpellier and a common laboratory between the MARBEC Research Unit and the SpyGen company. The catamaran LAGOON 570, refitted as the OceanoScientific Explorer LOVE THE OCEAN, is the technical base for the five people on board for the 25-day non-stop expedition. The catamaran also carries the Vanguard semi-rigid inflatable motorized by Suzuki, specially fitted with unique equipment designed to facilitate this large-scale collection.
On board the Vanguard - Suzuki, in the Bay of Menton on the 3rd of July, the eDNA sample collection team,
from left to right: Pierre Friant, Yvan Griboval's second in command; Justine Camus, coordinator of this OceanoScientific Expedition and Media Woman; Léa Griboval, in charge of speed and depth control;
Léni Guillotin, Marine Biologist, sample collection supervisor. Photo OceanoScientific
The catamaran LOVE THE OCEAN, helmed by Yvan Griboval, leaves the Yacht Club de Monaco’s pontoon of honor
on Monday 3rd July to begin the 25-day non-stop OceanoScientific Expedition eDNA Mediterranean 2023.
Photo Sarah Moniez – OceanoScientific
On board the Vanguard semi-rigid motorized by Suzuki, Léni Guillotin (OceanoScientific) is getting ready to launch the filtration strainer. Attached to a stainless-steel rod, the strainer is always positioned exactly at the same depth
to facilitate comparison between the different samples from the outward and return transects of each station.
The strainer used to filter the seawater to collect the eDNA samples is always immersed at the same depth (see video). The Suzuki-powered Vanguard RIB travels at a speed of between two and three knots during collection. Thanks to Suzuki technology, petrol consumption for a sampling station is less than 1.5 litres of super E98, including the round trip to the area. Photo Léni Guillotin - OceanoScientific
At the Cap de Saint-Tropez, in an area exposed to wind and swell, in an environment where numerous
rock heads outcrop, Yvan Griboval is at the helm of the Vanguard - Suzuki semi-rigid. Léni Guillotin holds
the immersion rod of the filtration strainer. Justine Camus (foreground) controls the GPS position.
Behind her, Léa Griboval monitors speed and depth. Photo OceanoScientific
At the end of each sample collection, the Marine Biologist Léni Guillotin saves the collected eDNA samples using
a liquid solution developed by SpyGen. This magical recipe preserves the samples for the time it takes to transport them from the LOVE THE OCEAN catamaran to the laboratories where they will be analyzed.
On board LOVE THE OCEAN, after almost every station, Justine Camus and Léni Guillotin (OceanoScientific)
are in teleconference with Amandine Avouac and Marieke Schultz (MARBEC - University of Montpellier) to share their observations and specify the exact position of the following eDNA sample collection stations.
Wednesday 2 May 2023
BioDivMed Mission 2023: An unprecedented mapping
of the Mediterranean marine biodiversity
The BioDivMed Mission 2023 will carry out a synchronized and standardized inventory of living organisms on the French Mediterranean coast and the Pelagos Sanctuary using environmental DNA (eDNA) under the joint impetus of the Rhone Mediterranean Corsica Water Agency, the University of Montpellier and a common laboratory funded by the ANR (French National Research Agency) between the MARBEC Research Unit and the company SpyGen. This unique and exemplary partnership for the benefit of marine biodiversity also involves the company Andromède Océanologie, the Vigilife alliance and two philanthropic associations from Nice: OceanoScientific and We are Méditerranée. This exceptional operation will enable the first fine-scale and synchronous mapping of the marine biodiversity of the French Mediterranean coastal zone, including lagoons, river mouths and ports, up to the Pelagos Sanctuary between Corsica and the mainland.
This will be the first big OceanoScientific Expedition with the catamaran LOVE THE OCEAN, currently in preparation at Port Navy Service (Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône). For this purpose, its Suzuki Marine motorized Vanguard Marine inflatable boat will be specially fitted out and equipped to facilitate the work of the OceanoScientific team. About sixty sampling stations of about one nautical mile have been selected between the Italian and Spanish borders by the MARBEC team of scientists under the direction of David Mouillot. Each station will be covered twice to optimize the efficiency of the collection.
Tuesday, April 25, 2023, in front of the port of La Grande Motte and thanks tothe collaboration
of the Yacht Club de la Grande Motte (YCGM), Alicia Dalongeville (SpyGen) makes a demonstration of the procedure
of collection of samples of eDNA to a part of the team of the association OceanoScientific. Photo OceanoScientific
The objective of the BioDivMed Mission is to determine and better understand the occurrences of fish, crustacean and marine mammal species and to establish a true fine-scale mapping of marine biodiversity. To do this, environmental DNA (eDNA) technology will be used to allow a standardized inventory of the Mediterranean conducted in a synchronized manner by four sampling campaigns. During four months, more than 700 eDNA filtrations will be carried out in marine and brackish waters covering more than 2,000 kilometers.
eDNA metabarcoding is a new technology that allows the inventory of aquatic biodiversity thanks to the DNA traces left by species in their environment. The filtration and analysis of eDNA allow the detection of numerous species and therefore has a strong potential to develop a new generation of indicators of the health of marine waters under human impact or protection measures.
Never before has such a synchronized and standardized inventory of marine biodiversity been undertaken on French territory. This unprecedented effort is the result of the collaboration and synergy of four oceanographic campaigns planned this year between May and August 2023:
PISCIS : The campaign to monitor the health of the Posidonia meadows and the coralligenous which is implemented on behalf of the Water Agency by Andromède Océanologie;
PIAF : The study of the marine life of soft and sandy substrates. PIAF is coordinated by the University of Montpellier;
The OceanoScientific Expedition will follow the Mediterranean coasts from the Italian border to the Spanish border to collect eDNA samples, as well as to inform and raise awareness about the issues related to the Ocean and its biodiversity by carrying out the Tour MER & MÉTIERS of the program FAçade Méditerranéenne EXemplaire - FAMEX 2030;
The Pelagos expedition of the association We are Méditerranée, whose ambition is to study marine life in the pelagic zone, in particular in the Pelagos Sanctuary (SPAMI) aiming to protect marine mammals in a triangle comprising the French and Italian continents and including Corsica at its summit.
Thanks to this cooperation, a first mapping of marine biodiversity with a resolution of ten kilometers will be made available in 2024 to all stakeholders and managers of coastal and marine areas on the mapping platforms MEDTRIX and Vigilife Maps - The Global Life Observatory, of which the University of Montpellier and SpyGen are two founding members.