OceanX (an Oceanology International Exhibitor) are renowned for their expeditions and bringing together ground-breaking marine tech with world-leading scientists, collaborations of this nature are formed, to uncover the undiscovered secrets of our oceans. One such project has seen OceanX join forces with NEOM and embarked on a mission to explore the depths of the Red Sea.
NEOM, founded by his Royal Highness, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is being built along the Red Sea, and will include towns, cities, research, education zones, and tourist attractions as well as a 100-mile linear, car-free city named THE LINE.
Their joint expedition, focused on oceanography, mapping, and genetics, 30 renowned experts carried out revolutionary work in the shallow reefs and deep sea, over the course of six weeks. Their findings will contribute heavily to the foundation of NEOM’s conservation program, which aims to protect biodiversity.
Dr. Vincent Pieribone, Chief Scientist and Vice Chairman at OceanX, said: “OceanX is committed to exploring places few others have been before and sharing our discoveries with the world. This joint mission has not only had a meaningful impact on the conservation of ecosystems in the northern Red Sea, but it has also produced a number of scientific discoveries of regional and global significance.”
During the expedition, the team of experts sighted 152 megafaunas, and the known range of species increased by more than 20. These include a variety of species: turtles, sharks, and manta rays and for the first time, whale sharks, silvertip reef sharks and hawksbill sea turtles were tagged in the Red Sea. Not only that but 8 new species were recorded and more than 600km2 of biodiverse habitats were discovered
In total researchers produced 131 hours of baited underwater footage and were a part of 14 dives, to track and locate sea life.
1,100 hours of diving surveys exposed wide-spread coral reef systems throughout the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea. The team discovered 15+ excellent dive sites and observed healthy diversity as well as finding a number of new species.
In addition, 341 fish species were identified, 68 that are endemic and 18 that are globally threatened. However, something which reinforced NEOM’s quest to protect the oceans, was the evidence of hot-water coral bleaching, due to global warming.
NEOM BRINE POOL:
Through the expedition the world’s most northern deep-sea brine pool was discovered. Due to its close proximity to the Gulf of Aqaba coastline, the NEOM Brine Pool, a high-salinity lake formed on the seafloor; is thought to be one of the most accessible brine pools on the planet. With its own ecosystem complete with ‘waves’ and ‘beaches’ the NEOM brine pool is located at 1.8 km below sea level and is home to unique aquatic species.
Uncommonly close to shore, NEOM has a range of rich deep-sea areas. Incredibly the expedition recorded a sighting of a giant squid while exploring a shipwreck; the third time ever this species has been filmed. Not only that but the team discovered a 635m high ocean pinnacle, taller than most of the world’s buildings.
During the expedition, submersible technology was used to discover mounds formed by living coral growing on fossilized reefs, at a depth of 300m, these are also home to predators like the silvertip shark.
THE RED SEA:
Located between Asia and Africa, the Red Sea has remained untouched until now, by using advanced scientific exploration to uncover its secrets and charter the ocean bed. NEOM and OceanX believe this could make a huge difference in saving the world’s oceans.