Tara Oceans ()

Etienne Bourgois, president of Tara Expeditions, standing on the masts along the boat in Paris. ©F.Aurat/Tara Expeditions

Interview of Etienne Bourgois

5 July 2013
Etienne Bourgois: “SERIOUS WORK IS BEGINNING NOW IN THE ARCTIC?

This is the first interview with Etienne Bourgois, President of Tara Expeditions since the launch of the Tara Oceans Polar Circle  expedition.

- Naturally it’s too soon to talk about assessments, but how was the first month and a half for the expedition?

The whole team is very satisfied with this first stage of the expedition. The experience acquired during Tara Oceans 2009-2012 paid off because everything came together as planned, including some new protocols. The scientific equipment is working well as are the automatic and continuous sampling instruments, thanks to the involvement of the CNRS engineer Marc Picheral.

The choice of sampling stations by the team Tara and the laboratories on land (a total of 9 stations so far) has been optimal because the weather conditions were favorable. The weather has been very calm during these past weeks. We were able to do an important station at the centre of a plankton bloom*.

But make no mistake, serious work in the Arctic will be starting now.
 
- What are your concerns for the coming months?
 
The schedule is tight. Having been to the Arctic several times, I know that nothing is ever certain in the polar environment. Everything will depend on the weather and the state of the ice. What matters most to me is the safety of the men and women aboard Tara, and also the safety of the boat. But we have experts on board, including Russian scientist Sergey Pisarev who participated in the previous Tara Arctic expedition and will contribute his enormous expertise. The current captain, Samuel Audrain spent 9 months aboard Tara during the ice drift in 2007 - 2008. Samuel is an excellent sailor who has been on other polar expeditions. It's very motivating for the team to have him as captain since he has held all the posts on Tara before taking command.
 
- What is the present state of the Arctic ice?

It's exciting to follow the daily evolution of the ice on the site. What's indicated on the maps is not necessarily the reality on the terrain, and it is not always easy to calibrate between the real situation and the maps received on board.

During Tara’s stopover in Murmansk (Russia) last week, they had record temperatures of 30° C. But the melting of Arctic sea ice is actually a week later than last year. All this can and will change very quickly. We can make bets but it is still too early.

What is also interesting this year is the IPCC's publication of the first part of a new report just as we cross the Northwest Passage. This report will update the forecasts of melting ice and we will be there to observe it.

- What are your hopes for this expedition?

What we’re doing and will do scientifically in this part of the world is truly innovative and will contribute to the knowledge of the ocean at a crucial time! The Arctic is a direct indicator of climate change on our planet. It registers changes much more rapidly than elsewhere, and all of us are concerned – Arctic inhabitants as well as the world's population.

- You signed a partnership with UNESCO last week. What meaning does this have?

This is the result of our work with the United Nations since the Rio+20 conference and with informal collaborations that we’ve carried on for some time with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO. We are proud that Tara carries the UNESCO banner.

Education, science and culture are at the heart of our two institutions and for me, it’s a partnership that has real meaning.

- Tara Expeditions launched the Paris Appeal for the High Seas in April. Can you tell us something about it?

As an avid sailor, of course I cherish freedom. But freedom should not lead to excesses on the High Seas. We need to defend a status for the High Seas and this is the reason for the Paris Appeal. As citizens people can send messages to our leaders and change political choices. Signing this Appeal is a simple and easy gesture to try to save the ocean. Everyone is affected by the ocean, because the Earth is a single ecosystem.

These issues must be discussed at the UN by the end of 2014 and not be postponed indefinitely. We are currently mobilizing to bring together at the UN those countries that share our view.

www.highseascall.org

* Area of ​​high concentration of planktonic microorganisms.
Facebook

browse our online shop

Langue/Language & social

  • langue française
  • English language
  • Português
  • Español
  • italiano
google+appstore

see also

Newsworthy

04/19/2014

Tara Mediterranean 2014 expedition departure

04/19/2014

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

04/10/2014

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

04/10/2014

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

02/28/2014

Ocean Sciences meeting

02/28/2014

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.

01/10/2014

SIGN THE PARIS APPEAL FOR THE HIGH SEAS

01/10/2014

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

07/29/2013

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

07/29/2013

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

04/25/2013

Explore Google Ocean with Tara

04/25/2013

Write "Tara" on the research of Sylviaearlealliance's website
or click bellow

03/21/2013

OCEANOMICS, funded by Investments for the Future

03/21/2013

02/12/2013

Tara in Nowness by Spencer Lowell

02/12/2013

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

09/10/2012

Tara Expeditions Blogs

09/10/2012

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

06/21/2012

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

06/21/2012

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