Our oceans are full of secrets that humans yet to discover, and have been persistently learning about for ages. The Living Oceans Foundation of Khaled Bin Sultan has been studying and pushing the limits of what we know about our oceans, setting the wheels in motion for their expedition to study the deep. The expedition embarked on a 10-year journey that took them from the Red Sea all the way through across the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Ocean.
The expedition has explored over 1,000 reefs in over 16 nations as they circumnavigated the globe, and their discoveries along the way have been insightful and have proven to be beneficial.
The Living Oceans Foundation
The foundation was established in 2000 as a non-profit environmental science and ocean research organization to aid in the preservation, protection, and restoration of the world’s oceans. The foundation is pursuing this purpose from three perspectives: research, education, and outreach.
Prince Khalid, the Chairman and President of the foundation stated:
“I launched the Global Reef Expedition to aid in bringing a new era of knowledge about coral reefs and the challenges they face.”
More than 200 scientists, government officials, local specialists and conservationists were also brought together by the organization. As a result, they were able to conduct tens of thousands of underwater surveys of coral reefs and surrounding fish ecosystems.
Goals of the expedition:
- To map and characterize coral reefs and ecosystems.
- Determine the present state of the world’s reefs and the risks they face.
- Examine characteristics that help a reef withstand, survive, and recover from significant disturbances including bleaching and cyclone damage.
By integrating high-resolution satellite photography with data acquired on the ground, scientists were able to develop mapping algorithms for identifying coral reefs.
The global initiative was a forward-thinking gesture undertaken by Prince Khaled Bin Sultan, according to Sam Purkis, the foundation’s head scientist. He also claimed that the data obtained in the global voyage would be used for generations to come.
The mission established a baseline for future research, allowing scientists to track and measure the rate and trajectory of changes affecting reefs all around the world.
Takeaways from the expedition
- Climate change must be addressed as it is the greatest threat to the world’s reefs right now and is directly linked to issues like coral bleaching and ocean acidification.
- Reef fish populations globally are overexploited due to ‘overfishing’ occurring in several countries.
- The majority of reef fish populations are unable to withstand the current level of fishing, which calls for further fishing rules to be expanded and enforced.
Nonetheless, this expedition will benefit a number of communities. The Living Oceans Foundation is dedicated to increasing understanding and raising awareness about coral reef concerns and this expedition is a living testament to our desire on gaining knowledge and broadening our horizons in order to better comprehend the climate challenges that continue to threaten a variety of species and destroy our oceans.