Eric Karsenti fascinates scientists at the ESOF in Dublin


13 July 2012

Eric Karsenti fascinates scientists at the ESOF in Dublin

Yesterday morning in Dublin, Eric Karsenti co-director of Tara Oceans, presented the first results of the two-and-a-half year expedition around the world, to an audience of scientists from all over Europe. Less than 4 months after Tara’s return to Lorient, several publications are planned for the next 6 months.  After his one-hour conference, Eric Karsenti received an ovation from his peers.

Vincent Hilaire: Eric, you’ve given many talks in different places around the world to present the Tara Oceans project. You just gave a talk today for scientists gathered at the European Science Open Forum (ESOF).  What are your thoughts about this conference?  

Eric Karsenti:
I gave the talk for about 200 scientists and many journalists. This was one of the first times I presented concrete scientific results from the Tara Oceans Expedition. The very first presentation took place not long ago at the Ecole Normale in Paris.
In general, scientists are amazed, and many people now want to use the same methods, especially our  sampling protocol and analysis. Just today for example, a researcher from Dublin asked if he could  use these methods. He wants to organize exchanges with Tara Oceans.

Vincent Hilaire: Since Tara’s return to Lorient in March, what have the researchers been doing in their respective laboratories?

Eric Karsenti: In all the laboratories of the Tara Oceans consortium researchers are working hard. Tara Oceans scientific coordinators are examining the thousands of samples we managed to collect. 4 articles are being written for forthcoming publication in scientific journals. We are currently recruiting postdoctoral researchers.  We’ve also created a specialized website at EMBL, the lab where I work in Germany, so that Tara Oceans scientific coordinators can share their results and give progress reports on their work.
We’ve also completed financing the “Great Loan” attributed a few months ago by the former team at the French Ministry of Research.
Vincent Hilaire: How long will it take to publish the first 4 articles you just mentioned?

Eric Karsenti: 6 months to one year. One article will cover the Mediterranean sampling stations. A second paper will discuss the biodiversity of 35 different stations. A third will be cover the gyrus –  giant viruses. A fourth article will about phages – the viruses on bacteria.

Vincent Hilaire: Do you still think it will take about 10 years to analyze all the samples?

Eric Karsenti: Yes, about 10 years.

Interview by Vincent Hilaire