Laurent Ballesta is a marine scientist, a distinguished underwater photographer and a pioneer in the use of new diving equipment. Blancpain’s support has enabled him to capitalize on his talents through his Gombessa Project which has been conceived to advance the public’s comprehension of hitherto inaccessible and dimly understood undersea ecosystems.
Pristine Seas Expeditions with Blancpain is an exploration, research, and media project to find, survey, and help protect the last wild places in the ocean. These pristine places are unknown by all but long-distance fishing fleets, which have started to encroach on them.
In February 2017, the marine biologist, photographer and deep diving pioneer Laurent Ballesta explored a young underwater eco-system created in the wake of a volcanic cataclysm that devastated the ocean off Reunion in 2007.
Seamounts are large underwater mountains, generally of volcanic origin, that rise from the ocean floor. They can arise along mid-ocean ridges, as isolated landmarks or as volcanoes in chains and clusters. Seamounts constitute hotspots of marine biodiversity, as they provide hard foundations for deep-sea life to settle on and grow.