The Oceana Ranger

The Oceana Ranger

In 2011, Oceana launched a two-month expedition in the Mediterranean and western Atlantic to carry out much-needed research into the habitats of marine life.

Objective

Oceans cover 71 per cent of the earth’s surface – they control our climate, drive our economies and contain essential sources of protein for nearly half the world’s population. These environments are rich in biodiversity but relatively unexplored due to their depth and complex terrains.

The Oceana Ranger catamaran, supported in part by TreadRight, set sail from Spain to explore canyons and seamounts (mountains rising from the ocean seafloor that don’t reach the water’s surface) in Portugal. The Oceana Ranger then travelled on to the Alboran Sea in Morocco as well as to the Cote d’Azur’s Pelagos Sanctuary around France, Monaco and Italy before finally sailing to the southern Mediterranean to conduct white shark tagging along the coasts of Sicily, Malta and Tunisia.

Impact

During the expedition, the team of scientists on board the Oceana Ranger discovered a deep-sea, white coral reef in the Alboran Sea of the Western Mediterranean. Oceana estimates that the reef’s surface area may exceed ten hectares. It covers a large part of the surface of a seamount of which the peak is located between 320 and 400 metres deep in the ocean.

The findings confirm that these unexplored areas hold many surprises, and there is still a need for further investigation.