Tara Oceans ()

07/29/2013

Echinophyllia tarae sp. n. , a new coral reef species from the Gambier Islands, French Polynesia. Copyright : F.Benzoni / Tara Oceans

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log book - Tara discovers a new coral reef species from the Gambier Islands, French Polynesia

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.



The new species Echinophyllia tarae is described from the remote and poorly studied Gambier Islands, French Polynesia. Although the new species is common in the lagoon of Gambier Islands, its occurrence elsewhere is unknown. Echinophyllia tarae lives in protected reef habitats and was observed between 5 and 20 m depth. It is a zooxanthellate species which commonly grows on dead coral fragments, which are also covered by crustose coralline algae and fleshy macroalgae. This species can grow on well illuminated surfaces but also encrusts shaded underhangs and contributes to the formation of coral reefs in the Gambier. It is characterized by large polyps and bright often mottled colourations and it is very plastic in morphology like most hard corals. Patterns of partial death and recovery of the species were often observed and could be due to competition with other benthic invertebrates like the soft-bodied corallimorpharians or zoanthids which can co-occur with this species.

Stony corals are currently under threat by the effects of global warming, ocean acidification and anthropogenic changes of reef structures. Although corals represent a relatively well studied group of charismatic marine invertebrates, much has still to be understood of their biology, evolution, diversity, and biogeography. The discovery of this new species in French Polynesia confirms that our knowledge of hard coral diversity is still incomplete and that the exploration efforts of recent scientific expeditions like Tara Oceans can lead to new insights in a remote and previously poorly studied locations.

This species is named after the Tara vessel which allowed the exploration of coral reefs in Gambier. Moreover, the name “tara? in the Polynesian language may refer to a spiny, pointed object, which applies well to the new species typically featuring pointed skeletal structures. In the same language, Tara is also the name of a sea goddess.


From 2009 to 2012, Tara traveled the world's oceans exploring marine micro-organisms.
Though the Tara Oceans expedition was primarily devoted to the study of plankton, a hundred coral sites were sampled, allowing scientists to collect nearly 200 samples in large reefs all over the world, from Djibouti to St. Brandon and Mayotte. It turns out that a dozen unknown species were discovered !

2013: New expedition to the Far North, Tara Oceans Polar Circle 

From May to November, Tara circumnavigates the Arctic Ocean by the Northeast and Northwest Passages. Most of the scientists and institutes involved in the previous Tara Oceans expedition also participate in this project to study the polar marine ecosystem and complement the work done since 2009. New research programs specific to this region are added concerning plastic particles and other pollutants. The expedition has also a political purpose by putting on center stage a region at the heart of the world’s climate system.

Reference

Benzoni F. (2013) Echinophyllia tarae sp. n. (Cnidaria, Anthozoa, Scleractinia), a new reef coral species from the Gambier Islands, French Polynesia

To read the publication in ZooKeys: click here

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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

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04/10/2014

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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

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Write "Tara" on the research of Sylviaearlealliance's website
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03/21/2013

OCEANOMICS, funded by Investments for the Future

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

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Tara Expeditions Blogs

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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