[Tara Oceans] Modeling the planktonic ecosystem on a planetary scale

© Christian et Noé Sardet / Plankton Chronicles

On September 12, 2018, at the Academy of Sciences, a major milestone in oceanic research was announced. After 10 years of studying ocean life aboard the schooner Tara and in partner laboratories around the world, the very ambitious Global Ocean System Ecology & Evolution program (GO-SEE) was launched.

FOR THE FIRST TIME, GLOBAL MODELING IS BASED ON THE ACTUAL BIOLOGICAL COMPLEXITY OF A MARINE ECOSYSTEM

Global Ocean System Ecology & Evolution (GO-SEE) is a new odyssey. This program aims at discovering the structure and dynamics of the planktonic ecosystem on large spatial and temporal scales, taking into account the various species (taxonomic approach). For the first time, this integral approach will allow us to model on a planetary scale the actual biological complexity of this ecosystem.
Bringing together 12 scientific disciplines and implementing the latest technologies in plankton collection, DNA sequencing, automatic imaging, bioinformatics and physics for a holistic study (biology, chemistry, physics) of the Ocean, this research is a crucial step in understanding and modeling the Earth’s ecosystems.

FEDERATION FOR RESEARCH: AN AMBITIOUS PROJECT

On September 12, 2018, the latest results related to the Tara Oceans expedition and the Global Ocean Systems Ecology & Evolution (GO-SEE) project were presented. Hosted by the new Tara Oceans Federation for Research (FR 2022), this multidisciplinary project will bring together 20 laboratories in France and worldwide to collaborate with the Tara Expeditions Foundation, under the auspices of the CNRS, CEA, IRD, EMBL and 5 French universities.

Tara, le 11/01/2010.Filtration du plancton.© David SAUVEUR © David Sauveur / Fondation Tara Expéditions

AT THE FOREFRONT OF TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION

Over the past decade, France has developed the technological and conceptual means to understand and model a biome on a planetary scale. In this international adventure led by France, prominent laboratories in France (CNRS, CEA, PSL, SU, etc.), Europe (EMBL) and around the world have combined their ocean expertise during Tara’s expeditions. Recognized worldwide, our pioneering scientific, technological and conceptual advances have been published in the major scientific journals.
Thanks to artificial intelligence, we are now on the verge of discoveries linked to the global modeling of a whole ecosystem, impossible to achieve a few years ago. France is one step ahead with this Tara Oceans program, based on extensive ocean data, innovative but fragile public-private financing and the Tara Expeditions Foundation’s ability to inform the general public and decision makers of the latest knowledge in global ecology.

INNOVATE, EXPLORE, UNDERSTAND AND SHARE

To meet our expectations – to always innovate, explore, and understand – the Tara Oceans program is structured under the co-supervision of the CNRS, CEA, IRD, EMBL and several universities. It brings together 20 French and international laboratories and universities, along with the Tara Expeditions Foundation. This federation for research marks a decisive step towards structuring a multidisciplinary approach to ecology, with the ambition to create in the future a European Research Center of Excellence in Global Ecology according to an ecosystem approach.

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