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Hidden Deserts

We need your help to discover the submerged deserts that threaten our oceans!


A project of

Created in

From 10.000€
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View project in Català, Castellano and Italiano

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The problem

Underwater forests are under threat and, as we lose them, vast deserts are expanding across the oceans.

Underwater desert - Illa de Formentor (Mallorca)
Underwater desert - Illa de Formentor (Mallorca)

As submerged forests disappear, we are also losing all the associated goods and services that are critical for our well-being and to support global economies. Also, with them go the capacity of oceans to buffer climate change.

Overfishing and global warming are the main stressors that threaten kelp forests in the world’s temperate reefs, profoundly transforming these seascapes to bare rock.

Spotting and monitoring these hidden deserts is critical to guarantee the availability of marine resources in the future and for the conservation of oceans worldwide. To do this, we need your help!

Documenting a 'hidden deserts' in Spain

We invite you to participate in the discovery of deserts hidden beneath the oceans’ surface to contribute to the better health of our planet.

Discovering hidden deserts – The project

The project is divided into 3 stages.

STAGE 1: DISCOVERY. To understand how these unknown deserts are formed, we first need to know where they are. We will use a diverse set of exploration tools (aerial and subaquatic drones and SCUBA diving among others) to identify and map them across the world’s oceans.

STAGE 2: MONITORING. Deserts are not static and in many regions are expanding. In the second phase, we will track several deserts to study how they evolve through time. We will draft detailed maps of the deserts using aerial images and scientific diving.

STAGE 3: ACTION. Based on the knowledge gained from STAGE 1 and 2, we will propose plausible solutions to reduce the number of underwater deserts. We will work together with administrators and managers to restore and conserve our lost submerged forest.

How will we spend the money?

Funds will be used to provide basic hardware and other material to researchers, dive centres and other institutions that collaborate with the project, to detect and monitor submerged deserts across the planet.

Most of the funds will be spent on stages 1 and 2 of the project.

Additionally, part of the fund will be used to buy an aerial drone to detect deserts from above the surface of the oceans (necessary to reach remote locations).

All material including drones will be shared among participants.

Finally, a small part of the funds will be used to develop a website to keep you informed about achievements and milestones as we go forward.

  • The Open Explorer initiative and National Geographic, acknowledging the global relevance of this project, are supporting us with an Open Rov device.

We will compensate for your contribution!

We know that your contribution helps everyone so we have several rewards for you!

Some of the rewards for funders
Some of the rewards for funders

'Seawatchers bag': Get your reusable bag and become more sustainable while contributing to better health of the oceans.

Marine life of the Mediterranean Sea: an easy-to-carry guide of the Mediterranean fauna and flora illustrated by Toni Llobet.

Become an explorer: We are preparing a field trip to the magical Costa Brava to uncover new Hidden Deserts. If you want to become an explorer and join us in our journey snorkelling or diving and personally contributing to the project this is the perfect reward for you.

Become a RESEARCHER: An on-board 3-day trip is planned to occur in September 2019. In this campaign, several of the researchers involved in the project will depart from Barcelona in a sailing boat to uncover new deserts on the Spanish coast. This is a 2PAX reward including costs on board and diving and other research activities.

Rewards are expected to be received between September and October 2019. Shipping is included for all the rewards.

The team

International researchers have joined efforts to study underwater deserts in order to prevent their expansion.

Part of the 'Hidden Deserts' team

Supporting institutions

We count on the collaboration of many research institutions and universities from all over the world.

Join our journey

Follow us on:
Instagram: @hidden_deserts
Web: Open Explorer


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  • Mari Roy Santos

    Mari Roy Santos

    almost 5 years

    Enhorabuena!! Me alegra que lo hayáis conseguido. Ahora, suerte y constancia!!!

  • carmenbdelossantos


    almost 5 years

    Bona sort amb aquest fantàstic projecte Jordi i companyia. ;) (Carmen i Joan)

  • xturon


    almost 5 years

    Molta sort, Jordi & Cia

  • Rosa Maria Nácher Arasa

    Rosa Maria Nácher Arasa

    almost 5 years

    Molta sort en el vostre projecte!!!

  • silviaoliva


    almost 5 years

    Endavant, Ciccio & co.!!!!!! Bon camì cap a la recerca del coneixement necessari per entendre cap on tirar per afavorir-facilitar-assistir la recuperació dels boscos submarins, fonamentals (entre molts altres aspectes de vital importància) per la resiliencia dels sistemes litorals.

  • Isk102


    almost 5 years

    Volem seguir veient garotes quan els nostres fills bussegin!! Força amb el projecte!

  • Anna Rodríguez Purull

    Anna Rodríguez Purull

    almost 5 years

    Espero que ho aconseguiu!!!!

  • Anna Rodríguez Purull

    Anna Rodríguez Purull

    almost 5 years

    Espero que ho aconseguiu!!!!

  • Coral Garrido


    almost 5 years

    Mucho ánimo

  • María Elena Alvarez

    María Elena Alvarez

    almost 5 years

    Good luck! And thanks for the great job!

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