Since the first mission in 2013, Laurent Ballesta´s Gombessa Expeditions have focused on studying some of our oceans’ rarest, most elusive marine creatures and phenomena.
The most recent Expedition ended this summer after a fourth and last mission of 20 days exploring the seabed northeast of Cape Corsica. Ballesta, who recently won his second Wildlife Photographer of the Year Grand Title award in collaboration with 41 French and foreign scientists and his teammates, emerged with new knowledge, impressive images, and a still-to-be-solved mystery.
Although a brief description of the rings was given in 2012, the causes of their presence, unique in the Mediterranean and nowhere else in the world, and their mode of formation remain to be proved.
These circular formations or rings called “coralligenous rings” with a diameter of 20m are located in a 4 km2 area in the Natural Marine Park of Cape Corsica and Agriate at a depth of 120 m. These monumental deep coralligenous rings had never been defined before and are not really protected. To produce a synthesis, on November 7th, a scientific seminar will bring together all the data collected so far on this unique ecosystem. The analysis that will be made of this data aims to improve knowledge and raise awareness among the public and decision-makers of the fragility of these reef formations and their associated habitats.