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Tara, a commitment for the planet / Tara Expeditions

ABOUT US >Tara Expeditions

Tara Expeditions organizes voyages to study and understand the impact of climate change and the ecological crisis facing the world's oceans.

Tara Expeditions is a French non-profit organization active since 2003 in favor of the environment. A legendary boat built for extreme conditions, Tara is the platform for high-level scientific research missions. Initiated by agnes b and Etienne Bourgois, Tara Expeditions developed from their passion for the sea, and their humanistic, engaged vision.

Tara's  expeditions study two major scientific themes: the world's oceans and climate change. In collaboration with scientific institutes, the expeditions contribute concrete results on these topics.

Tara Expeditions also helps raise the environmental awareness of the general public and young people, particularly through the Tara Junior website, and encourages policy makers to take action towards preserving the environment.

Expeditions since 2003

From 2004 to 2005, Tara undertook six expeditions to Greenland, Antarctica, Patagonia and South Georgia. Tara then accomplished two major expeditions: Tara Arctic and Tara Oceans.

2006/2008: Tara Arctic, on top of the world

From September 2006 to February 2008, Tara conducted a unique research mission over 507 historic days in extreme conditions. The schooner was the central platform for the DAMOCLES European scientific program during the International Polar Year. Embedded in and carried by the pack-ice, the schooner drifted through the Arctic sea with a dozen men and women on board. The main objective was to contribute to the study of climate change in the Arctic while monitoring daily air, atmospheric and ice-pack characteristics.

2009/2012: Tara Oceans, a global view

From September 2009 to March 2012, Tara Oceans was the very first attempt to do a global study of marine plankton -- the planet's ecosystem, composed of tiny organisms such as viruses, bacteria and algae. Marine plankton is the only ecosystem that is truly continuous over the Earth’s surface. Studying plankton is like taking the pulse of our planet.

2013: 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.

Tara’s future 

2014 : Tara is preparing her Mediterranean project.

After travelling more than 4 years around the world and in Arctic, Tara is preparing a mission of sensibilisation for the Mediterranean sea, birthplace of our civilization.
Thsi mission will be the occasion for Tara Expeditions to put the numerous environnementals stakes in the first plan, with local and regional associations. Tara Expeditions could share his first results abtained during the Tara Oceans expedition (2009-2012).

2015/2016: Tara will conduct a research project on coral reefs -- deep-water as well as surface reefs
(to be confirmed). This expedition will be in collaboration with director Luc Jacquet and his organization, Wild Touch and the diver Laurent Ballesta. It will take place in the Pacific and  South-East Asia, and will end in Hong Kong.

2016: Tara will attend a new Arctic drift, embedded in and carried by the pack-ice, but this time in the Bering Strait.

In May 2009, Tara Expeditions became an endowment fund (non-profit organisation), with headquarters at 12, rue Dieu, 75010 Paris, France.

The Tara Endowment Fund is accredited to receive donations and bequests to help finance  Tara Expeditions, a mission to better understand our planet.In the United States, the Tara Foundation for Marine Research was created in 2010 to help support the Tara Expeditions projects.

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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