top of page
Mediterranean, Life Under Siege
Terra Mater Factual Studios
It is a small semi-enclosed sea. We think we already know it, but it contains an astonishing amount of biodiversity.
How better to tell the great story of life in the Mediterranean than through the cycle of life?
It all starts at birth. A loggerhead turtle crosses the Mediterranean from France to Greece to lay its eggs on the beach where it was born. Bluefin tuna make an epic journey from the Atlantic Ocean to spawn in their birthplace, in the Mediterranean. These journeys are fraught with perils, from fishing nets to plastic pollution. Others, like the seahorse, stay at home, in an inland sea, the Thau lagoon. But they have an amazing peculiarity: it is the males that give birth to their young.
How can one thrive in the Mediterranean? This small sea, densely populated by humans for centuries. Some species, such as jellyfish, are taking advantage of the current conditions where the sea is warming and acidifying. The grapevine has partnered with humans. Thanks to their hard work, it has established itself all around the Mediterranean, even on the steepest slopes, as in the Cinque Terre, in Italy. But sometimes the only option is to flee. When a great sea eagle loses its mate in Greece, it is condemned to exile to have any chance of reproducing. His fellow eagles have almost all disappeared.
Growing up in the Mediterranean is quite a challenge. Guillaume Néry, freediving champion, guides us through underwater caves in Greece to meet an animal that almost disappeared: the monk seal. He pieces together the story of a young seal who found himself alone, far from his family, swept away by a storm. In other species, such as the fin whale, mothers take great care to educate their young through to adulthood. They fear the boats that crisscross the sea incessantly, a mortal danger.
Learning independence can sometimes be brutal: as the young cat from the island of Amorgos finds out. Rejected by his mother, he must learn to feed himself like a wild animal.
All living beings do not experience the same old age. For old male flamingos, old age brings clumsiness, and they lose all their powers of seduction. For dolphins, the matriarch is the cornerstone of the pod. So, when her cognitive abilities decline, the balance of the group is upset. Some living beings have extraordinary longevity: olive trees can be thousands of years old. But it is Posidonia, a sea grass, which breaks all records with one individual whose age has been estimated at 100,000 years, the oldest living organism in the world. Posidonia, like so many other ecosystems, suffers from maritime traffic, pollution, and even global warming. The Mediterranean has an incredible capacity for regeneration and resilience. But we need to give her a chance and help her to heal her wounds.
Each sequence is part of this great journey, at times showing the complexity and refinement of the strategies of these living beings, and at others, revealing their extreme fragility, especially in the face of the omnipresence of humans.
bottom of page