Ghislain Bardout
Author: Franck Gazzola
2023

Ghislain Bardout

Underwater Explorer

Under the pole

meet ghislain

Inspired by the great outdoors, particularly mountains and the ocean’s depths, with an affinity for science gleaned during engineering studies at Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Ghislain Bardout took the plunge into exploration at French explorer Jean-Louis Étienne’s side in 2006. An avid underwater diver with strong curiosity, concerned about human impact on our planet, Bardout—along with his wife, Emmanuelle Périé-Bardout (see page 42)—conceived the first “Under the Pole” expedition in 2007. Over the past 15 years and through four ambitious programs, he has acquired an advanced expertise in deep and polar scientific diving and brought structure and development to his expeditions, focused on scientific discovery and raising public awareness.

Under the pole
Nominated by: Martin Kraus MR'15
Class of 2023 Location France
Author: Benoit Poyelle

The biodiversity of deep-sea ecosystems—invisible from the surface—remains largely unknown and unexplored. As light decreases and we enter the twilight zone, species live and participate in balance with the planet. Yet, they are now affected by the temperature and acidification of the oceans, overfishing, invasive species, waste, chemical pollution, mining, oil and gas exploitation, and the laying of cables and pipelines. The biodiversity of deep-sea ecosystems is threatened and, with it, the capacity of marine ecosystems to connect life between the surface and the depths and also their ability to regulate the climate. A whole chain of life depends on them, yet we still know very little about these organisms upon which we depend.

Author: Franck Gazzola

“By making these fragile and unknown ecosystems known and recognized, Under the Pole aims to preserve the ocean in all its dimensions.”

- Ghislain Bardout
Author: Julien Leblond

Our organization aims to strengthen scientific knowledge and raise public awareness about the importance of preserving mesophotic environments—ocean depths lying between 30 and 200 meters. We are using our skills in deep diving and navigation to access inhospitable environments, such as polar regions, remote islands, and mesophotic depths. Through our 2021–2030 Deeplife program, we are studying the continuity and interrelation between different marine animal forests through temperate regions, from the poles to the tropics. The collaboration between the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and an international consortium of scientists is endorsed as an official project of the United Nations’ Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

Our work in the twilight of the mesophotic zone contributes to preserving the species that live at the border of the beach and the abyss. This area of the ocean represents the crossroads of possibilities and hope for the oceans, where corals still have the possibility to resist global warming, where species take refuge from anthropic impact. By making these fragile and unknown ecosystems known and recognized, Under the Pole aims to preserve the ocean in all its dimensions.

Author: Franck Gazzola

there are 49 other visionary explorers

read about the class of 2023