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Tara Oceans, Chroniques d’une expédition scientifique

BOOKS / JOURNALS > Tara Oceans, Chroniques d’une expédition scientifique >Tara Oceans, Chronicles of a Scientific Expedition

Tara Oceans, Chronicles of a Scientific Expedition

Published by TARA EXPEDITIONS and ACTES SUD (in French only)

Click here to buy it

From September 2009 to March 2012, researchers, oceanographers and sailors voyaged aboard the research schooner Tara as part of the Tara Oceans expedition. Their ambitious goal was to conduct the first global study of coral reefs and marine plankton – the group of living organisms that includes microscopic viruses and bacteria, but also larger creatures such as jellyfish.
These marine organisms absorb 50% of the CO2 produced on land, and are considered to be "the lungs of our planet."  The plankton population can be quickly affected by climate change. Then in turn it can influence the climate by modifying carbon uptake. Studying plankton is therefore like taking the pulse of the Earth.

To this end, Tara collected 27,000 samples not with the aim of studying a biological family or a particular species, but in order to understand the whole ecological system of our oceans.
This book is part of an educational process that the international scientific community and Tara Expeditions established during the Tara Oceans expedition. Rejecting an anxiety-provoking approach that consists of alarming communities and individuals about the environment, this adventure shows how we must adapt, make wise decisions, develop solidarity and mobilize our resources to channel future changes.
To do this, we must better understand the world around us: Tara Oceans is revealing an unknown panorama of plankton.  

In the tradition of the first major oceanographic expeditions in the 19th century, Tara explored marine biodiversity using a large number of methods developed since that pioneering global adventure, the Challenger, in 1872. Following Tara's voyage around the world to explore ocean life, the book shows how the determination of a few individuals managed to overcome barriers created by traditional functioning of scientific expeditions, resulting in a highly innovative approach. During this unique world tour, 200 people of different cultures, languages and specialities took turns aboard the schooner Tara. They made stopovers at well-known ports in 30 different countries, met local people and learned about their cultures. They lived incredible moments, sometimes in difficult weather conditions. They recount their experiences as they happened, in the logbook of the expedition.

The expedition team discovered a world both mysterious yet essential to life on Earth. They took a real dive into the unknown, capturing in images the beauty and diversity of the planktonic world.

Eric Karsenti received a doctorate in immunology and cell biology at the Pasteur Institute in Paris in 1979. Senior scientist at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, he is the initiator of the expedition. As co-director of Tara Oceans with Etienne Bourgois, he coordinates the scientific consortium that establishes protocols and does analyses of samples and data from this expedition.

Dino Di Meo was born in Italy in 1952. He has been writing for the newspaper Liberation since 1987, and following the expeditions of Tara for nearly ten years.

Book format: 19.6 x 25.5 cm / 256 pages / 200 illustrations / € 29  

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Langue/Language & social

  • langue française
  • English language
  • Português
  • Español
  • italiano

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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!

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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