The governments of Maldives and Seychelles announced the launch of 'First Descent: Midnight Zone', a 35-day joint maritime research expedition that will commence on March 16 in Seychelles.
According to the President's Office, the expedition will gather data to "define conservation and management priorities and the designation of Marine Protected Areas".
The research will focus on seamounts in the 'midnight zone', referring to ocean depths between 1000 meters and 4000 meters and will be the first such expedition in this area of the Indian Ocean.
'First Descent: Midnight Zone' is one among a series of expeditions that Nekton, a UK charitable research institute, is carrying out across the Indian Ocean, documenting changes beneath the waves in a bid to catalyse the protection of 30 percent of the ocean by 2030.
The joint expedition will be led by scientists from Nekton and the University of Oxford working with Maldives and Seychelles.
Scientists from both countries will participate throughout the mission which will use the world’s most advanced deep-diving submersible alongside a dozen research tools including landers, sampling, sensor and mapping technology.
President's Office stated that "Maldives' leg of the expedition is being undertaken to support Maldives Blue Prosperity, in partnership with the Blue Prosperity Coalition".