At midday on 5th September 2009, the boat ‘Tara’ set sail from Lorient for a 3-year expedition across all of the world’s oceans. The main aim of this expedition is to study the two most important elements of ocean biodiversity throughout the duration of the boat’s voyage, namely coral reefs and plankton.
Although they only make up a mere 0.2% of the ocean’s surface area, coral reefs represent 30% of marine species’ biodiversity. An expedition such as Tara Oceans, a veritable scientific odyssey, is responsible for exploring the wealth of the coral reefs. The Scientific Centre of Monaco (CSM), internationally renowned for its expertise in the coral environment, is taking part in this marvellous adventure. Associated with some ten other laboratories from across the globe, the CSM’s goal is to gain a better understanding of reef biology and to evaluate the impact of climate change on the coral reefs.
Half of all oxygen that we inhale is produced by marine plankton and other associated micro-organisms. Despite this key role, this invisible world is one of which man knows least about, even though the wealth of its biodiversity is considerable. This marine life now finds itself threatened by the major ecological disruptions known to us, i.e. global warming and pollution.
Faced with the need to act today, the Tara Oceans programme brings together a totally new international, multidisciplinary scientific team. More than 12 areas of research are involved in the project uniting oceanographers, biologists, geneticists and physicists from prestigious laboratories.
For more information kindly visit Tara Ocean’s website: http://oceans.taraexpeditions.org or contact Dr Didier ZOCCOLA on +377 97 77 08 73.
copyright photo: © J.Girardot/Fonds Tara