Tara Oceans


Tara is in Lorient (France). She will leave on Saturday at 11 AM for the Tara Mediterranean expedition !

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Upcoming departure for Tara-Mediterranean
Saturday, April 19, the schooner Tara will leave Lorient, her home port, for a seven-month expedition in the Mediterranean. The crew will conduct studies about plastic, and raise awareness about the many environmental issues related to the Mediterranean.

450 million people live along the Mediterranean coasts in 22 bordering countries. Due to its geography and climate, the Mediterranean Sea hosts nearly10% of global marine biodiversity, although representing only 0.8%  of the ocean's surface. Today's cities are saturated and almost a quarter of the world’s maritime traffic is concentrated in the Mediterranean. Problems related to pollution from land are increasing, putting pressure on the marine ecosystem essential for the people of the region, and for life in general. Among the pollutants is the growing presence of micro-plastics. These are most likely incorporated into the food chain, and thus into our diets. It is therefore urgent to find concrete solutions such as water treatment, waste management, biodegradable plastics, promotion of sustainable tourism, and the creation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) -- solutions proposed decades ago by the Barcelona Convention, the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity, and also by the European Union.
The Tara Mediterranean mission includes several components, including:
1. A scientific study concerning plastic found in the sea will be carried out, coordinated by the Laboratory of Oceanography of Villefranche-sur-Mer (Pierre et Marie Curie University and CNRS) in France and the University of Michigan in the United States, in collaboration with the University of South Brittany and other universities in France.
2. An educational component to promote the efforts of local and regional associations on the many environmental issues concerning this almost-closed sea:
- Promotion of Marine Protected Areas in collaboration with the MedPAN network of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean
- Promotion of solutions for waste reduction
- Sharing of the first analyses of data obtained in the Mediterranean during the Tara Oceans Expedition (2009-2012)
Duration: 7 months = 115 days at sea,  and 115 days in ports of call
Number of stops: 22
Number of countries visited: 11
Distance to be covered: 16,000 km
The team on board consists of 5 sailors, 2 scientists, 1 journalist and 1 artist
agnès b, Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, Fondation Veolia Environnement, Carbios, UNESCO-IOC, MedPAN, Lorient Agglomeration, Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, IUCN, CNRS, UPMC, University of Michigan, University of Maine, Ifremer, University of Berlin, University of South Brittany, NASA, Observatoire Océanologique de Banyuls, University of Toulon Sud, AFP, RFI, France 24, MCD.
Local and regional associations involved to date:
Expedition MED , Surfrider Foundation, Mohamed VI Foundation for the Environment, Tethys Research Institute, Aquarium of Cala Gonone (Sardinia)

Discover the map of the expedition

Tara's current position

Download the updated map directly :



Tara Expeditions related by peoples

« I went on a visit of the Tara, a French exploration boat which explores different areas of the world. The Tara is part of a global network which studies the impact of climate change on the oceans. Her instruments go down into the sea to take samples of the water which are then analysed by lots of machines. They also study the state of the plankton. Without plankton, you could say that the sea would be a lifeless desert. Plankton are tiny floating objects and are very complicated. The two main types are phytoplankton (flora) and zooplankton (fauna). They live in bodies of water and reproduce by photosynthesis, at least for the vegetable plankton. The Tara is staffed by teams of researchers who study plankton samples and investigate the impact of pollution and global warming. Visiting the Tara made me aware of how fragile the sea is if we don’t protect it. » Following a visit aboard the Tara in Bordeaux. This pupil is a Syrian refugee.
Marita Kassrin
Primary school student.

«It was a real pleasure working with the tara team. They contributed enormously to the film Planet Ocean which might not have won as many awards or have been as good without the tara. i also learned a lot about plankton thanks to them. Thank you tara. »
Yann Arthus-Bertrand

« The Tara has breathed new life into oceanography by combining new integrated approaches into marine ecosystems. By focusing on a particular ecosystem model (ocean plankton, the largest among the inhabitants of the sea), the Tara has assembled a new type of scientific explorer who will be the discoverer of the future. Who’s there? With whom? Where and how? We’ll soon know the answers as far as life at the surface of the ocean is concerned. That’s something to be happy about in the context of a sustainable development whose priority is to place the ocean at the heart of our planet’s evolution once again. »
Françoise Gaill
Research director at the CNRS

« I am a young scientist. Given my age, I’m considered a beginner in the profession. When I’m in the laboratory on a daily basis I sometimes feel isolated from the other scientists. On the Tara, that wasn’t the case. I didn’t feel that way. The scientific director aboard was always to hand and I was even able to participate in certain decisions. Everything was well-prepared and planned. If the protocols weren’t suitable, then we would adapt them by discussing them together. I learned how to really work as a team and to share knowledge. »
Roxana Di Mauro
Scientist on the Tara Oceans expedition

« Tara Expeditions chose the port of Lorient, and Brittany, as a base to prepare the schooner’s first trip to the Arctic in 2006. Today Tara Expeditions has made Lorient its home port because of its suitable infrastructure and recognized network of expertise and skills. The Tara is an ambassador for our town, a powerful symbol and a human and scientific adventure. Over the years the people of Lorient have become attached to her. »
Norbert Métairie
Mayor of Lorient and Chairman of Greater Lorient Council

« There is a poem in France that all school children learn by heart. It is called Man and the Sea by Charles Baudelaire: « Free man, you will always cherish the sea! The sea is your mirror... » Almost over a century and a half later we perhaps understand better that, in fact, humans can only be free and maintain control over their destiny if they protect the sea and the ocean by preserving its resources and its role in the world’s natural balance. That is the message of this exhibition organized by Tara Expeditions, it is both an invitation to go on a voyage and a call to conscience. » At UNESCO’s headquarters, at the opening of the exhibition « Ocean, source of life: Understanding the impact of environmental issues on the Ocean ».
Irina Bokova
Director-General of UNESCO

« Plankton provides us with fifty per cent of the oxygen we breathe. Taking half as many breaths would not be easy. By exploring, surveying, counting and understanding plankton and many other key aspects, the Tara is working to save us. The Tara is vital. Thank you Tara ».
Philippe Starck

« I have always been extremely fond of the Tara team and I applaud the efforts of all the teams aboard and the agnès b. managers who have made that possible. I am delighted that scientists are reviving the age-old French tradition of making great voyages to understand the world and that we are doing it by sail ».
Isabelle Autissier
Yachtswoman and President of World Wildlife Fund – France

« For me the tara represents two things: dreams and science. dreams of far-off horizons, the scent of adventure, the promise of extreme environments... and science, the kind i like, the one where scientists actually go into the field to observe things for themselves and are willing to « get their feet wet » to increase our knowledge. The tara brings with her the same spirit of accomplishment and exploration that was present back in the days of the Endeavour, the Astrolable, the Vostok and the Pourquoi pas. every boat has a personality, it tells us a story. and the tara story is my favourite of all. »
Luc Jacquet
Director of the films March of the Penguins and Once upon a forest

« This boat is the result of a tremendous effort to know the earth better. »
Stéphane Hessel
(1917-2013) Novembre 2012

« What a fascinating adventure the Tara, this global laboratory ship, is. It’s a great pleasure to come back aboard this legendary boat!... I saw just how popular the Tara is in Dublin, in both the pubs and at City Hall... Mind you, according to mythology, the ancient capital of Ireland was called Tara! » Via Twitter, from aboard the Tara.
Patrick Poivre d’Arvor
Journalist and writer

« I would like to tell the Tara Oceans scientists that modern society is counting on them to help reconcile progress and the future (of the planet). Moreover, the key challenge now is to bridge the gap that divides scientists and politicians. We need scientific research, analysis and publications in order to make the right decisions. »
Jean-Louis Borloo
Former Minister of Ecology, March 2010

« i am delighted to see that the tara is brilliantly pursuing the programme of ocean exploration and natural science education that she was built for twenty-five years ago! This unique vessel has an extraordinary history. »
Jean-Louis Etienne
Doctor and explorer

« There is only one water cycle: when you drink water, you are drinking the ocean. We must preserve the ocean and the climate not to protect the planet, but to protect our own lives... And to do that we need knowledge. Over the last ten years Tara Expeditions has done tremendous work in the scientific field to help us to know, understand and love the ocean better, especially where plankton is concerned. In association with the Tara and other important figures of the marine world, we are honoured to have founded in Rio in 2012 the Alliance for the Sea and Oceans ».
Jean-Michel Cousteau
President of Green Cross France and Territoires, and the Ocean Futures Society

« The Tara and her projects are here to amaze and inform us, instil passion in us and teach us to be responsible. »
Claudie Haigneré
Scientist, astronaut and President of Universcience

« I remember on that day in May 1989 when the whole team was watching this « funny floating thing » on the slipway of Villeneuve-la-Garenne shipyard. I was wondering if it had been a good idea to have put so much energy into such an unusual project which consisted of sailing a high-tech schooner through Antarctica as part of the Transantarctica Expedition led by Jean-Louis Étienne. The Antarctica had only just been built. I also remember being in a taxi in Moscow in October 2003 when my friend, Étienne Bourgois, called me and told me that he had just bought the Seamaster (formerly the Antarctica). At the time, I said to myself he was being foolish... Yet today, when I see where the boat has been and the results achieved over the last ten years, I understand that he was not acting on impulse but making a real ».
Bernard Buigues

This boat is the result of a tremendous
effort to know the earth better. »
Stéphane Hessel
(1917-2013) November 2012

Read this article on Tara 10 years journal


  •  Dr Gaby Gorsky
  • Etienne Bourgois
  • Dr Eric Karsenti

  • Romain Troublé
  • Dr Christian Sardet
  • Martin Hertau
  • Philippe Clais
  • David Brevault
  • Dr Colomban de Vargas
  • Mathieu Oriot
  • Éloïse Fontaine
  • Patrick Wincker
  • Dr Chris Bowler
  • Yohann Mucherie
  • Xavier Bougeard
  • Stefanie Kandels-Lewis
  • Myriam Thomas
  • Dr Emmanuel Boss
  • Nadège Holtzmann
  • Paul Dufay
  • André Abreu de Almeida
  • Lee Karp Boss
  • Magali Puiseux
  • Mircea Hemery
  • Anne Ghuysen Watrin
  • Virgile Pesey
  • Dr Lars-Eric Heimbürger
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Tara Mediterranean 2014 expedition departure


Tara Mediterranean expedition
From April to November 2014

After more than 4 years sailing around the world and the Arctic, Tara is preparing a mission with two objectives : to accomplish a scientific study concerning plastic pollution and to promote awareness of environmental challeges in the Mediterranean Sea, cradle of our civilization.

A traveling exhibition and films will be shared with the public. We will also welcome classes aboard at each stopover. Artists will be in residence on Tara for the duration of the expedition.
We are currently looking for local partners and volunteers to work with us on organizing this campaign. Do not hesitate to contact us:  aideztara@taraexpeditions.org

Click here to learn more about the expedition and its highlights


Tara's application for iPad selected in TOP of AppStore in 118 countries


Tara's application is available for iPad !

Join us aboard Tara, a schooner for the planet, and experience her unique voyages on the world's oceans – in one application !

- Panoramic photos show you the boat as if you were on board.
- Learn more about Tara's expeditions via articles, photos, videos, routes of the expeditions and more!

To download it, it's free, just click here


Ocean Sciences meeting


The biennial Ocean Sciences Meeting that took place recently in Honolulu, Hawaii (February 22 - 28, 2014) is the most important international symposium in oceanography. It brings together all the scientific disciplines (physics, chemistry, geology, biology) as well as the social sciences. Nearly 5,000 scientists attended.

Lars Stemmann, Chris Bowler, Hiroyuki Ogata, Colomban de Vargas and Emmanuel Boss – scientists involved Tara Oceans – organized a session on the integrated study of ocean ecosystems during which more than 20 researchers shared their work with a full audience. Exchanges took place concerning oceanic biodiversity (methods and estimations) and its sensitivity to changes at different scales of time and space (including transport by ocean currents). Scientists discussed their results and methods. Contacts were made to share and promote internationally the outstanding data resulting from the Tara Oceans expedition.




Discover and sign Paris Appeal for the High Seas !

Your voice matters: Only a democratically-organized, international governance of the High Seas can safeguard and sustainably manage the resources of this unique realm.

Click here


The Tara Oceans expedition discovers a new coral reef species from the Gambier Islands, French Polynesia


A new shallow water coral species, Echinophyllia tarae sp. n., is described from the Gambier Islands, French Polynesia. The remote and poorly known Gambier islands were explored by the Tara Oceans international research expedition in 2011. Scleractinia, also called stony corals, are ancient and structurally simple marine animals which have the ability to form hard skeletons and are involved in the build up of coral reefs. This new coral is common in the lagoon reefs of the Gambier, and was observed in muddy environments where several colonies showed partial mortality and re-growth. The paper devoted to the new species was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

More information : here


Explore Google Ocean with Tara


Write "Tara" on the research of Sylviaearlealliance's website
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OCEANOMICS, funded by Investments for the Future



Tara in Nowness by Spencer Lowell


Watch the video here. By Spencer Lowell (3min)


Tara Expeditions Blogs


Find Tara Expeditions content in our blogs in several languages : - spanish - italian - portuguese


Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations speaks to Tara at Rio +20


Part of the speach :

"Earlier this year, I had the chance to board the Tara Expeditions when it docked in New York.
The crew was really inspiring. They shared so much information with me about oceans and climate change. I am really grateful that they are raising awareness around the world … and I am very proud that the United Nations is supporting them.
As I stood on the Tara that day in February, I stood on the deck and looked out at downtown Manhattan. We were surrounded by skyscrapers but we had a window on the deep blue sea. It was a reminder that our worlds are connected.
I promised the crew that I would continue working with dedication for the planet’s oceans.
Now, Rio has to put more wind in our sails, so we can navigate the waves to a better future.
Let us advance for our oceans and our world."

Rio de Janeiro, 21 June 2012