National Geographic Explorer Alexis Chappuis is a French marine biologist, technical scientific diver and underwater photographer. Over the course of his career, he has spent countless hours on and under the sea, documenting wildlife biodiversity and human impacts on the ocean, such as plastic pollution and fisheries. Since 2014, he has lived in Indonesia, where he leads pioneering scientific expeditions, co-supported by grants from the National Geographic Society and in close collaboration with local universities.
Alexis and his team are using closed-circuit rebreathers in some of the most remote parts of Indonesia to document mesophotic coral ecosystems for the first time. One of the least-known underwater habitats, these deep-reef environments are challenging to investigate with regular open-circuit diving as they are typically found at depths of 130 to 492 feet (40 to 150 m)—far beyond recreational dive limits. Photography plays a crucial role in Alexis’ work, showcasing the unseen and unknown. A non-destructive way to collect important scientific information, his images help reconnect people to the natural world by conveying emotion and raising awareness. This makes them a powerful medium to encourage behavioural change and advocate for better conservation of the ocean.