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A voyage into the hidden depths of Indian Ocean

A mission to explore uncharted depths in the Indian Ocean was launched on Wednesday, hoping to discover hundreds of new species and find out what impact plastic is having way below the surface. The First Descent expedition, led by British-based ocean research institute Nekton, is set to send submersibles as deep as 3,000 metres off the Seychelles from March to test the health of the ocean. The project was launched at the Commonwealth headquarters in London. “The mission is focusing on 30 metres down to 3,000 metres. This is where you get the peak diversity of species,” said professor Alex Rogers, part of the scientific team. “In the Indian Ocean, the deeper zones are almost completely uninvestigated. We simply don’t know what’s there.” “The ocean is suffering serious degradation from overfishing, pollution and climate change. It’s critically important to understand how life is distributed in the oceans now, so we can make decisions better to manage the oceans.” The $5 million collaboration brings together 47 partners from business, philanthropy, sub-sea technology, media and civil society. 3D maps The Ocean Zephyr mothership is on its way from Bremerhaven in Germany to the Seychelles. It will be home to 50 scientists, engineers and technicians during the project. Its two submersibles will take 17 different research tools and technology into the deep, along with 18 cameras to create the first three-dimensional maps of deep sea ecosystems. Some of the dives will be broadcast live. The Commonwealth, a 53-country grouping that unites nations such as Britain, India, Canada and Nigeria with small states like Tonga and the Seychelles, has focused on managing climate change in recent years as many of its members are vulnerable, low-lying island nations. “Our countries are dying, so we have no choice,” said Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland. “Unless we map and understand better what is in our oceans, we may be doomed to repeat some of the mistakes we made on land. “This is enabling us to get the data to make properly informed choices.”

Source  : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-life/a-voyage-into-the-hidden-depths-of-indian-ocean/article26209946.ece

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