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The Science

BD550latreille2© F.Latreille / Fonds Tara


The oceans produce half of the oxygen that we breathe. If the forests are the first lung of our planet, the oceans constitute the second. Bodies of plankton and other micro-organisms use their photosynthetic activity to act as an immense oxygen pump. These marine organisms are also an important filter for carbon dioxide. For these reasons, our future depends on safeguarding our oceans and the marine life that lives there.

This complex ecosystem, however, remains one of the the least explored fields of oceanography. This invisible world is one of the least understood by man although the richness of its biodiversity is considerable. Today, vital marine life is threatened by two major ecological upheavals that we know ? global warming and pollution. Will the marine ecosystem survive these upheavals? Or will it lead us towards a transformation of oceanic life?

Faced with the need for action, a team of internationally renowned scientists led by Eric Karsenti, Unit Director at the EMBL, met with a team from the Tara Foundation and Tara’s president, Etienne Bourgois.

Tara Oceans is an exceptional expedition that will travel the seas of our entire planet. The urgency of the situation, the scope and the unique features of this expedition will result in an extraordinary journey through the waters of our planet, seeking to better understand the origins of the marine habitat, evaluate its present state and preserve its future. From tropical coral atolls to the Antarctic, from the isthmuses of the Middle East to the Northwest Passage, never before has such a comprehensive study of the marine environment been undertaken using today’s technology. Tara will thus perpetuate the pioneer spirit of our greatest explorers.

The Tara Oceans program brings together an international and multi-disciplinary team of scientists like never before. Researchers from more than 12 fields of study will participate including oceanographers, biologists, geneticists and physicists from the world’s most prestigious laboratories.

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