Tara Oceans ()


F.Latreille/Tara Expéditions



Tara embarks in May 2013 to circumnavigate the Arctic Ocean via the Northeast and Northwest passages -- a scientific and academic adventure covering 25,000 kms and lasting 6 months.  This international expedition is in collaboration with countries bordering the Arctic Ocean and in association with the Prince Albert II de Monaco Foundation and agnès b.

See the expedition map. Follow Tara live.

All the scientists and institutes involved in the Tara Oceans 2009-2012 expedition will participate, along with Canadian & Russian laboratories specializing in Arctic research.
During the Tara Oceans Expedition 2009-2012, only the Arctic Ocean was missing in our effort to collect plankton from all the world's oceans. There is therefore great interest in comparing  biodiversity in the Arctic with other oceanic regions, especially in the context of the major  transformations taking place. In fact, the summer of 2012 marked the most extensive Arctic ice melt ever observed.
The Tara Oceans Polar Circle 2013 research will be conducted around the borders of the ice pack where planktonic activity is the most important.
In addition to this global biological approach, oceanographic and chemical analyses specific to the Arctic will be undertaken. Our aim is to understand the vulnerability of polar biodiversity in the face of human activity; how melting of the ice pack impacts the polar marine ecosystem and what types of pollution come into play in these remote areas.
Several key factors assure the success of this expedition. The scientific team has been working together since 2009. Their collective expertise and overall ecosystem approach, the availability of existing equipment, and Tara Expeditions' experience in polar environment logistics are also invaluable assets.

This mission will contribute to the international effort to study the Arctic ecosystem before a probable climate change. It will provide baseline data on the ecological status of Arctic waters, and help identify issues concerning the future development of this region.
We will also use our presence to inform the public, politicians and the business world about the most urgent environmental issues in the Arctic, as well as problems faced by the people who inhabit the Arctic Circle.  For some, the opening of maritime routes is an economic asset but for others, this development has an environmental risk. Sustainable development in the Arctic is definitely in question.

Etienne Bourgois, President of Tara Expeditions
Roman Troublé, General Secretary of Tara Expeditions
Loïc Valette, Captain of Tara and the crew
Scientific Directors:
Chris Bowler, Spokesman(CNRS / ENS)
Eric Karsenti (EMBL / CNRS)
Gaby Gorsky (CNRS)
Marcel Babin (U LAVAL, CNRS)
Colomban de Vargas (CNRS / UPMC)
Emmanuel Boss (U of Maine)
Jean-Claude Gascard (CNRS)
Scientific coordinators of Tara Oceans
Stefanie Kandels-Lewis, Logistics (EMBL)

- Plankton nets
- Special net for collecting surface plastic 
- CTD rosette (pressure, temperature, conductivity, nitrogen, oxygen, fluorescence, optical properties of water)
- FlowCAM to count and characterize plankton
- Flow Cytobot (underwater) to count and characterize plankton
- UVP (Underwater Video Profiler) to characterize zooplankton, large particles and their vertical distribution
- AC-s spectrophotometer for continuous pigment and particle distribution measurement at the ocean's surface (coordinated with satellite ocean color imaging)
- Retrodiffusion device to characterize surface material (linked with ocean color satellite)
- Cytofluorimeter able to determine small groups of organisms by size and fluorescence
- Spectrofluorimeter ALFA capable of continuous measurement of fluorescent organisms at the ocean's surface
- UltraPath spectrophotometer able to characterize optical properties of dissolved material
- PAR radiometer, measuring the luminescence of photosynthesis
- A journalist will be constantly on board to cover the expedition via texts, video and photos for the internet and social networks.
- Media partnerships
- Tara Journal at the end of the expedition
- Production of TV programs
- Tara Junior educational program

To follow the expedition, in addition to the website:
For educational material see:   www.tarajunior.org
Social networks: facebook/taraexpeditions, twitter/taraexpeditions #taraexpeditions
Photo of the day:   instagram/taraexpeditions
Tara Oceans Expedition global approach. Our goal is to compare the plankton and physico-chemistry of the Arctic with data collected in other oceans during the Tara Oceans expedition (2009-2012):
- Study of drifting plastic and air pollutants in the Arctic
- Study of ocean color, composition and pigments of surface particles by the University of Maine, USA on NASA grant.
- Study of spring plankton blooms at the edge of the ice pack, conducted by the Université Laval, Quebec
- Collaboration with the Shirshov Institute of Oceanology (Moscow) and the Russian Arctic National Park

As of today, only 2 sailboats have circumnavigated the Arctic Ocean.
We can identify several types of risks: natural and technical.
Natural hazards include the unpredictable weather, and the formidable presence of ice. Although the period of thaw gets longer almost every year, the window of passage (before the ice closes in again) is short and doesn't leave much room for the unexpected. Temperatures will be between -10°C and +5°C  when Tara sails beyond the Arctic Circle from July to October. Daylight will predominate in the Russian Arctic, and will gradually turn into clear nights lasting 12 hours starting late August. Tara will undergo some adaptations to protect the workspaces and scientific equipment from the cold.

agnès b. Foundation
Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation
City of Lorient
and the OCEAN consortium laboratories

Under the High Patronage of François HOLLANDE, President of France

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Langue/Language & social

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

see also



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