Publié le October 21, 2019



NAUSICAA dives into the abyss

from 19 October to 3 November 2019

NAUSICAA, the French National Sea Centre




During the autumn holidays, NAUSICAA, the French National Sea Life centre in partnership with IFREMER, the French Research Institute for the Exploitation of the Sea, will be celebrating Halloween by taking a look at the abysses, ocean depths often populated with frightening animals. The event takes place from Saturday 19th October to Sunday 3rd November. Situated in the oceans at depths of more than 3,000m, only 15 % of the abysses have been mapped to date, and only 2 % have been explored. It’s an extraordinary universe inhabited by animals with astonishing ways of life where many species have not yet been identified or described by scientists!

NAUSICAA raises visitor awareness in an educational yet enjoyable way with activities for all the family and an exhibition in the hall.


From Saturday 19 October to Sunday 1 December 2019, in the NAUSICAA Hall:
“Secrets des abysses” (Secrets of the abysses) exhibition put on by Ifremer, photographs by Gilles MARTIN

© Gilles MARTIN / Ifremer


What is this weird creature, both bizarre and fascinating, shown in this photo exhibition? It’s a Nereididae, a worm that lives close to hydrothermal vents.

Red-gilled mudworms, nematodes, crustaceans, echinoderms, molluscs… These animals from the deep ocean floor are at the heart of “Pourquoi pas les Abysses?” (Why not the Abysses?), a far-reaching Ifremer project. To immortalise them, Gilles MARTIN, an animal and scientific photographer, had to call on techniques suited to their sometimes micrometric size. Like a scientist, with your eye glued to a microscope, come and discover these masterpieces!

In a different section, but in this same “Pourquoi pas les Abysses?” (Why not the Abysses?) project, Gilles MARTIN also presents a series of photos of scientists at work.

From taking sediment core samples to labelling marine fauna samples, you can follow the day-to-day lives of these women and men during a campaign at sea. 


From 19 October to 3 November 2019, in the NAUSICAA Hall
A virtual dive in 3D

For everyone who wants to get a taste of the sensations offered by virtual reality, the Captain of the Astria takes you on board his scientific submarine, heading for the depths of the Atlantic. With your 3D masks on, set out on a crazy 6-minute, 360-degree dive to discover a hydrothermal chimney and its strange inhabitants.


Discovery workshops for all the family

NAUSICAA wants to allow the public to set out to explore the abysses thanks to a number of workshops: quiz’s, special programmes, creative workshops… everything is in place to allow children and adults alike to discover the biodiversity of the ocean depths. The public will see how researchers set out to explore the deep ocean floor, how the animals there withstand the ambient pressure of the ocean depths or how they use bioluminescence to feed and reproduce.


Visit the NAUSICAA website to find out more about the activity timetable:


NAUSICAA takes a deep interest in the abysses

The oceans serve as a climate regulator, helping to limit global warming. On the one hand, they have already stocked more than 90 % of the excess heat linked to human activities, and on the other they absorb CO2, the main gas responsible for the greenhouse effect. It dissolves in the water and sinks down to the bottom of the seas. Even though the abysses may seem remote from our everyday lives, they play a vital role in ensuring our planet’s equilibrium.

The exploration of the abysses has made it possible to discover the profusion of life in the depths of the oceans where the temperatures and pressures are extreme. These abyssal species represent an exceptional genetic heritage that could be at the forefront of discoveries that are important for the human race in the areas of health and biotechnology.

The abysses also harbour plentiful mineral riches; these mineral deposits represent between 1 and 100 million of tonnes of precious metals and minerals.

The potential of the abysses is enormous. These ocean zones situated out in the high seas, that’s to say beyond national jurisdictions, can arouse a great deal of interest. Consequently, their exploitation must be reasoned and controlled so they can be of benefit to everyone. “The Zone” – comprising parts of the deep ocean floor and the substratum of the high seas – has been declared a World Heritage Marine Site. But it’s the high seas as a whole that must benefit from sustainable management.

The abysses have been affected by climate change: the seas are warming up and becoming increasingly acidic. Furthermore, plastic pollution is also affecting the great ocean depths: toxic molecules have been found at a depth of 4,500 m.


To find out more, contact the Communication/Press Dept.

NAUSICAA, Centre National de la Mer – Boulogne-sur-Mer

Tel.: – E-mail:















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