“French oceanographic research is threatened”

Lhe ocean is the largest area of ​​life on our planet, it covers approximately 70% of its surface and the vast majority of its biodiversity still remains to be discovered. The ocean machine regulates the global climate through its continual exchanges with the atmosphere and mitigates ongoing climate change. The ocean is the major carbon sink by absorbing and storing carbon dioxide (CO2) atmospheric by physical and biological processes and an extraordinary place of diversity and richness of life whose subtle balances and importance for our survival have yet to be explored.

To cover the needs of its operation in 2023, the FOF needs a budget extension of around 9 million euros

Oceanographic research is proving to be crucial at a time of climate change and the desire to exploit the mineral resources of the deep seabed by international private companies, the potential consequences of which remain poorly understood. Crossed by ancient trade routes, ocean spaces are an integral part of many human societies which have for centuries developed uses and knowledge concerning them. The ocean feeds imaginations while constituting a primary source of food resources.

Since the first expeditions of the 19e century, French oceanographers contribute greatly to the biological, physical, chemical and geological knowledge of this immense domain, with international recognition that places them at the heart of major international programs. French scientists (CNRS, universities, Ifremer, IRD, MNHN, SHOM, etc.) have one of the three largest oceanographic fleets in Europe to carry out a set of research, observation, experimentation and training future researchers and experts on all the oceans of the globe.

French navy missions

The French Oceanographic Fleet (FOF) is a research infrastructure dependent on the Ministry of Higher Education and Research (MESR). This fleet includes four vessels for the high seas (Why Not?, L’Atalante, Thalassa, Marion-Dufresne)two midshore (Antea, Alis)five coastal ships (Europe, Côtes-de-la-Manche, Téthys-II, Thalia, Haliotis) and seven station ships (Antedon-II, Nereis-II, Sepia-II, Sagitta-III, Neomysis, Planula-IV, Albert-Lucas).

Its deep-sea vessels, in addition to the 25 to around 50 scientific and technical personnel, can also embark numerous scientific equipment, such as remotely operated underwater vehicles (for example the ROV Victor 6000)or inhabited (the submarine Nautilus), autonomous underwater vehicles (such as the AUV UlyX, which can reach 6,000 meters in depth), seabed and subsurface imaging tools, coring rigs, drones, etc.

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