Our sea, our home sea seems so close, so familiar, but for us at TRITON it has a taste of adventure.
Years of exploration of the seabed, years of navigation, have given us extraordinary shows, encounters with magnificent and surprising creatures. Yet, we have often encountered never seen before behaviours, or unknown creatures.
Especially in the last 25 years, when underwater exploration at depths deeper than fifty meters up to one hundred and fifty has become systematic and constant, opening new scenarios on Mare Nostrum’s operation and life. Observations, encounters, which enthusiasts have reported to expert scientists who realized how our sea is still partially an unknown frontier to science and how much we still need to discover.
This is the most exciting goal of TRITON: to raise questions and share fascinating observations with scientists. To be of service of researchers, unveiling mysteries which have been hidden for centuries. On the TRITON team we have scientists who utilise new technologies, unique and innovative ideas, trying to shed light on the most alluring mysteries. With a special focus on the ecosystem, on other scientific disciplines and discoveries: a stretch of seabed forms part of the sea, which forms part of our planet Earth.
That our world in its entirety constitutes a wonderful and perfect machine, where every single part has a function. Sometimes known, sometimes unknown, but certainly more than useful, even fundamental to the harmonious functioning of our Planet Earth. A planet which is experiencing a moment of great fragility with respect to the generalized anthropic aggression.
And so TRITON researchers put on their masks and fins and jump to great depths to get the most comprehensive view of our marvellous sea which is still magnificent and vital and which we want to show you on this website. For example, we will try to understand what are the effects of the much-discussed global warming of the last 10 years. The sea is large.
An immense mass of water. Until now the global warming has affected only the most superficial part, the first tens of meters. At what depth? Observing the two worlds, the one that has become hotter in the last few years and the one that has remained intact as it should have been centuries ago, one can comprehend how the marine animal population has been affected. That’s why our researchers utilize systems new to marine biologists, such as DNA tests to better compare the effects of the heat wave.
In our group of scientists at TRITON we have a specialist in this fascinating discipline: the study of the genome. He is not a biologist but a medical doctor: it is known that in our modern society medical science is the one that gets allocated most resources and therefore is able to progress much faster. DNA study can be easily applied to the sea population. Making the most of the brilliant advances in medicine and sophisticated technologies put in place to cure a variety of conditions.
Its results, applied to the sea, are surprising. A scientist has raised an unusual question: how many sharks are there in a bottle of sea water? A thought-provoking question to suggest that it might not be essential to observe, count, put labels in order to know a population of sharks. Research indicates that by swimming, sharks release into the water parts of their skin, liquids and organic fractions which can be revealed by DNA tests and can shed light upon the number of sharks and identify various individuals. Fascinating, isn’t it?
Well, we talked about sharks: what would you think if we told you that in the Mediterranean there are many sharks and many species of them? That’s the case, as surprising as it might sound. And sharks have always been in the Mediterranean: there is evidence of this since ancient times. But science knows little about these creatures, especially when it comes to their behaviour in our sea.
Our TRITON team went to the seabed of a renowned Sicilian rock to film a gathering of grey sharks. Why were they there? We like to think it was a love gathering. We like to think we have witnessed the magical moment of reproduction, when creatures of the same species, for mysterious motives and following tracks unknown to us, have gathered at the same place.
In spring, in the Sardinian waters, we will try to catch sight of one of the greatest marine creatures around the world: the basking shark. It is immense and feeds on plankton, just like the whales.