In the context of its Ocean Commitment program, Blancpain wishes to encourage collaboration and transfer of expertise between international research teams and local researchers and universities. Thus in 2020, the brand supported a scientific expedition around Bali, Indonesia, led by UNSEEN Expeditions in collaboration with Udayana University. Local authorities will use the scientific data collected during more than 260 hours cumulated dive time in their constant efforts to improve the management of Marine Protected Areas around Bali.
Photo credits © Alexis Chappuis/UNSEEN Expeditions
In the Bali region Mesophotic Coral Ecosystems offer cleaning opportunities to a wide range of species, notably to the emblematic Bumphead sunfish, Mola alexandrini. M. alexandrini is the heaviest species of bony fish roaming our Oceans, but curiously nothing much is known about its behaviour. In the eastern part of Bali, Indonesia, Bumphead sunfish seem to gather on the shallow coral reefs in specific regions, seeking interactions with cleaner fish for removal of skin parasites. But how about the deep cleaning stations? Are they effective alternative to the shallow, heavily dived reefs? What are the differences between the two?
Data still needs to be analysed in detail, but preliminary analysis seems to indicate that the Nusa Penida area presents very sudden changes in water parameters over short periods, even on the deeper part of the reef. This, together with the daily strong currents, influences local biodiversity. Regarding the cleaning events, the main difference between shallow and deep reefs appears to be in the abundance and diversity of the cleaner fish species. Deeper cleaning areas (below 60 metres) seem to only host the Longfin bannerfish, Heniochus acuminatus, when shallower ones display up to five different cleaner fish species. Finally, some potential new species unknown to science so far as they are probably endemic to great depths, have been photographed.