The Scientific Quest
The first systematic discovery and documentation of ocean life in Maldives from the surface to 1000metres to ensure the ocean continues to protect and provide for the Maldivian people.
- Health Check: Ocean Life to support human life: establishing the first ‘baseline health check’ on the status of Maldives ocean to inform the protection of critical nurseries, spawning habitats and related ecosystems.
- Protecting the ocean to protect the planet: applied research to meet national priorities to establish vast new marine protected areas (20% of Maldives territorial waters, equivalent in size to half of Germany) and policies for sustainable ocean management to underpin the Maldivian economy anchored on tourism and fishing.
- The Frontline of the Rising Ocean: With 99% ocean, and land on average 1.5metres (4ft 7 inches) above sea level, the Maldives is severely threatened by the rising ocean. At depths around 120metres, the team are locating the old beach line, from 20,000 years ago when sea levels rose following ice melt from the Last Glacial Maximum and investigating how ocean life has adapted to rising sea levels.
- Maldives – Coral Country: the canary in the climate mine: With the nation built on coral atolls, coral reefs are one of the earliest and most significant ecological casualties of global warming. The mission is determining the location, health and resilience of coral reefs leading to their protection.
- Deep Reefs: refuge of hope: the first discovery, survey and sampling of Maldives’ deep reefs (below 30metres) to strengthen the nation’s resilience to the impacts of the climate crisis.
- Seamounts: The first scientific exploration of a seamount in the Northern Indian Ocean, a hotspot for biodiversity and critical for local fisheries.
- ‘The Shark Spa’: With at least 40 shark and 18 ray species at the apex of the food chain in the Maldives ocean, the team are investigating their relative abundance at depth, as a critical indicator to determine ocean health.