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 :


Words from the captain
Martin Hertau, captain of Tara, participated in the last two expeditions –Tara Oceans and Tara Oceans Polar Circle. For the upcoming expedition in the Mediterranean, he and Samuel Audrain will relay each other as Tara's captain. On the eve of departure from Lorient, he gives us his impressions.

- How did you prepare the boat for the expedition in the Mediterranean?
During Tara's month and a half in the Keroman shipyard (Lorient), we had an important five-year  inspection, conducted by the Bureau Veritas. We completely renovated the electrical distribution panel, painted the rear deck, checked the sails, serviced the 2 main engines and 3 generators. We removed all the equipment used during the Tara Oceans and Tara Oceans Polar Circle expeditions, keeping only what will be needed for the upcoming Mediterranean expedition. The former dry lab will now serve as a combined dry-wet lab, divided in 2 areas, one side for doing filtrations, the other side for the sensors.
- What is the objective of the Tara Mediterranean expedition?
A scientific study will be conducted concerning plastic pollution in the sea, coordinated by the Oceanography Laboratory of Villefranche-sur-Mer (Université P. & M. Curie and CNRS), in collaboration with the University of Michigan (USA). Plastic is the form of pollution that has increased the most in the past 20 years. Every day tons of non-degradable plastic are dumped into the ocean! We know that this represents a threat to marine biodiversity, but since it's a relatively recent problem and research takes a lot of time, we lack the elements necessary to understand. Studies must be done on the different kinds of plastic, especially micro-plastics, to learn how they interact with marine micro-organisms, who eats what, who is colonized by whom, etc. The Mediterranean is a perfect laboratory for this study. We will try to understand the impact of plastic, especially on plankton, and at the same time, in the different places we visit, increase people's understanding of the great challenges confronting us.
- What is the relationship of Tara Mediterranean with previous expeditions ?
During our last two expeditions – Tara Oceans and Tara Oceans Polar Circle – we collected plastic  using the Manta net, as part of a specific research project. We even passed through the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” sometimes referred to by Americans as the seventh continent.
Preliminary data from our research on plastic pollution in
Antarctica has already been disseminated:

- During the Mediterranean expedition, Tara will spend 50 % of the time in ports-of-call, and 50% at sea. What does this mean for you?
It means a completely different rhythm from previous expeditions. Normally we have 1 or 2 stopovers  per month maximum. This time we'll have about 3 stopovers per month. We have an important mission to communicate with children and raise their awareness. I hope we'll have a lot of exchanges with local associations, and also between Tara scientists and local scientists. This will be a very people-oriented   expedition.
- What is your role on board as captain ?
I'm in charge of the overall management of the expedition, and the safety of persons and equipment aboard. But a captain is nobody without a good crew and a good boat. My job is also to coordinate the work on board between the crew and scientists,  as well as represent the shipowner. I also ensure the proper management of the vessel on a technical level, and I'm in constant communication with the shore crew of Tara Expeditions.
- What message do you hope to convey to people you meet during the journey?
We must not be alarmist or fatalistic, but we need to be clear:  the situation is very serious, though I do believe there is hope. We must begin to consume and live differently in order to protect future generations. And we have to adopt the logic that planet Earth and the Ocean are the common property of all mankind.


  •  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
  • Marc Domingos
  • Brigitte Sabard
  • Bénévoles

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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
or click bellow


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