Gombessa 2.1 – An expedition funded by the Blancpain Ocean Commitment Circle Members

An exclusive message for the Blancpain Ocean Commitment Circle Members

In 2014, Blancpain funded the Gombessa II 'The Grouper Mystery' expedition which took place at the South pass of the Fakarava atoll in the Tuamotu Archipelago, French Polynesia. The objective of the mission was to study a unique aggregation of marbled groupers of the Pacific, Epinephelus polyphekadion, and illustrate how their spawning plays a keyrole in the balance of the lagoon ecosystem. Thousands of them somehow hear a deep call once a year at full moon, to congregate and mate for an extremely brief and spectacular moment. During the same expedition, Laurent Ballesta and his team observed two distinct groups of grey reef sharks totaling at least 700 individuals, which is actually the largest aggregation of grey sharks ever documented. The team was astonished to observe that sharks seemed to "work together" to take down prey that may otherwise elude them. This observation combined with the need to collect more data allowing a comparative analysis with the 2014 result, provided the necessary arguments for a new mission at the South pass of Fakarava.

The team is currently in Fakarava mainly studying the grey reef sharks and their feeding behaviors during the night, while waiting for the second summer full moon on July 19 when the groupers will most certainly spawn. Below you can watch raw footage from the previous expedition that shows for the first time the natural feeding behavior of these imposing animals during the night. More information and images from the field to follow soon.

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