Sport The sublime clichés of French corals of French photographer Alexis Rosenfeld wear hope for the planet
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Alexis Rosenfeld, underwater photographer and explorer, leads the program "1 ocean" in partnership with UNESCO. He is engaged with his team in a ten-year-old campaign, aimed at documenting the seabed into photo to alert the dangers that threaten the planet.
"it's an incredible tenderness!" : Photographer, diver and explorer, Alexis Rosenfeld still feels this emotion in front of the "valley to a thousand roses", these giant corals carrying hopes discovered very recently, more than 30 meters from the bottom, off Tahiti.
"This type of coral, at this point, it was probably known for generations by some Polynesians," he says to AFP. But his team, like the scientists of the Criobe, French laboratory for the study of coral ecosystems, did not imagine such an immensity when they fell on this treasure in November.
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Equipped with recyclers, these "small factories" that allow divers to stay up to five hours underwater, Alexis Rosenfeld and his partners had just started a "delicate descent into blue".
"Around 20 meters, one begins to perceive a detail, the bottom that is emerging, the field of 'roses' which is gently chopped, a fine lace appears and lug the bottom of the sea, as far as the eye can see. The valley. Pink miles. It is an incredible tenderness, "he said, two months later, with AFP, from his office, in the high school of Calanques in Marseille.
In the image, the roses stand blue, because "the red is absorbed by the layer of water". Since its publication, on January 20, its cliché of this coral field went around the world,
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Discovery "Out of the ordinary"
This reef, long three kilometers and wide from 30 to 65 meters, is between 30 and 65 meters bottom. And there is no sign of stress or illness, when corals located closer to the surface, in French Polynesia, suffer from global warming and have experienced a bleaching episode in 2019. "An outstanding discovery", estimated UNESCO.
For Laetitia Hedouin, marine biologist at the CNRS and Criobe, this discovery is "a good news", which suggests that "deeper reefs are perhaps better protected from global warming."
Because the preservation of corals is a crucial issue: ecological niches, they are home to at least a quarter of marine biodiversity. The reefs are also powerful tools to combat coast erosion.
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phographies After twenty days of diving on this site, in November, Alexis Rosenfeld and his team will continue deeper exploration, where they have already seen gorgon fields, also called "coral bark".
"The saillands are the most unexplored part of our planet: we mapped 20%, we know very few species, there is everything to do"Alexis Rosenfeld
is Thong the meaning of the United Nations Decade (2021-2030) for the Ocean Sciences at the service of sustainable development, which aims to "invest heavily in oceanography". In this device, Alexis Rosenfeld plays the role of "witness" via.
By 2030, it will have to produce 1000 photographs of the depths and disseminate them to the general public, for example via monumental exhibitions in stations in France.
"It goes through the beautiful"
Equipped with its Esco-sighted combination, he already thinks of the images he can seize on the Atoll of Aldabra in Seychelles , the greater refuge of giant terrestrial turtles, preserved from human influence and ranked UNESCO World Heritage. Or on the reefs of entrecusteaux, in New Caledonia, "probably one of the most virgin regions of the world". With an ambition: "Build consciences" for the protection of the oceans.
"It goes through the beautiful, but I think the alerts of (the ecological activist) Camille Etienne, the actions of Hugo Clément (NDLR: journalist and activist Ecologist), WWF's messages or Greenpeace actions are also essential, it's a real ecosystem that is running for the planet of tomorrow ", does it want to believe.
But he also sees the least beautiful: "There is not so long we were in Marseille, in the Calanks, to show the absolutely disgusting aspect" waste.
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