Within the framework of the Gombessa II expedition in 2014, Laurent Ballesta’s team travelled to the southern pass of Fakarava atoll in French Polynesia to study the annual reproduction of camouflage groupers. During that expedition, researchers were surprised to note an unusual density of grey reef sharks totaling up to 700 individuals, the largest density of this species ever observed. The team was equally surprised to note their hunting behavior which seemed coordinated.
To build on these observations and better understand the ecology and behavior of the grey reef sharks Blancpain decided to award the additional 250.000 Euro donation linked to the first limited edition Blancpain Ocean Commitment watch to Ballesta and his team. Half of the donation funded the Gombessa IV Genesis intermediate project, which took place in June-July 2016, and allowed the development and validation of novel scientific protocols and observation techniques. The second half of the donation, added to a full expedition funding from the regular Blancpain Ocean Commitment program, is currently being used for the largest Gombessa expedition so far, Gombessa IV.
Stay tuned for the documentary film which will be released from ARTE TV channel in early 2018.
In the meantime and on the occasion of the World Oceans Day, I invite you to discover this exclusive Gombessa IV Genesis 26-minute film featuring unique footage of the sharks’ nocturnal activity during this exceptional gathering bringing together 18’000 groupers, 700 grey reef sharks, and a group of audacious research divers. Is this a chaotic feeding frenzy or an organized hunting pack?
Please click here to see the movie:
Thank you Blancpain for sharing this film with us!