Tara Oceans ()


Plastic observations - Antarctic waters. M.Duhaime/University of Arizona

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Report released as research vessel arrives in Hawaii during 3-year study

LONG BEACH, California, September 18, 2011 – Scientists from the Algalita Marine Research Foundation (Long Beach, California), in cooperation with the TARA Foundation, report findings of plastic pollution in Antarctic waters. During a 2011 segment of a three year circumnavigation voyage by the vessel TARA, every sample taken from the Antarctic Ocean contained plastic with the count between 956 and 42,826 pieces per kilometer squared at each of the stations. These samples were collected at or near the ocean’s surface and show that plastic pollution has found its way to the most remote parts of the globe.

The full effects wrought by this pollution continue to be investigated and include the study of marine birds, mammals, and fish that ingest small bits of plastic and/or get entangled in large pieces, as well as the relationship between plastics and the marine microbes that colonize them. Additional analysis is being conducted to understand human health risks associated with these plastics, plastic additives (e.g., BPA), and toxins that sorb to the plastics (e.g., DDT), as they enter the food web.

As exploration continues in the Antarctic, South Pacific, and other oceans, reports of the distribution and accumulation of plastic will be prepared by the Algalita Marine Research Foundation research team and made available for review.

To measure the quantity of plastic in waters explored during the Tara Oceans expedition, the Algalita Marine Research Foundation proposed a unique scientific protocol first used aboard Tara in Antarctica during January 2011. Since then, at every sampling station throughout the expedition, a special surface net is lowered into the water for an hour and a half to collect particles of plastic. These samples are then analyzed by Algalita Marine Research Foundation.

Tara Oceans is a unique 3-year marine research expedition (September 2009 to March 2012) based on a 118-foot schooner. Participants include several American university marine research programs, the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Health, and other U.S.based organizations.

Tara operates under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The vessel is a floating research platform directed by Dr. Eric Karsenti and Etienne Bourgois. Its principal objectives are to enable scientists to study little known aspects of ocean ecosystems including planktonic life and the effect of global warming on this fundamental element of the marine food chain. Also studied are the effects of global warming on coral reefs and the marine life dependent upon them.

Tara will stop-over in Honolulu (September 19th, 2011)
, San Diego (October 27th, 2011) and New York (February 2012). Throughout the rest of the expedition, the boat will continue measuring plastic in the ocean, notably in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch*, where plastic sampling will be combined with biological investigations. Both genomic and biogeochemical techniques will be used to characterize the microbial communities that colonize and live on the plastic debris, to draw some of the first impressions of this microbe-plastic relationship.

Algalita Marine Research Foundation & Tara Expéditions press realease

READ MORE - For additional information about Algalita Marine Research Foundation, Captain Charles Moore, and to learn more about our mission, outreach programs, and research projects, please visit www.algalita.org.

* The Great Pacific Garbage Patch: It’s a calm zone in the Pacific Ocean where marine currents meet, carrying floating trash which accumulates in layers. This sea of rubble, only visible from boat decks, was discovered in 1997 by Captain Charles Moore. It took him almost a week to cross it -- he was amazed to have found it in this infrequently travelled part of the globe.

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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.

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 in Spanish, Italian and Portuguese


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