Climb aboard the schooner Tara and discover the secret world of coccolithophores What are coccolithophores? What do they look like? Why are they so important for us?
We held our course
How does climate change disrupt ocean currents and the distribution of the marine microbiome?
What impact does pollution and particularly microplastics have on the marine microbiome?
How does the land fertilise the ocean?
Four key stages: CHILE – AMAZON – ANTARCTICA – CENTRAL AFRICA
For nearly two years the laboratory-ship Tara covered 70,000 kilometres in the South Atlantic, along the coasts of South America, as far as Antarctica. Devised by Fondation Tara Océan as part of the European AtlantECO programme, and with scientific partners including the CNRS, CEA and EMBL, this mission involves 42 research structures across the world in studying the benefits of the ocean microbiome and its interactions with the climate and pollution.
This invisible life
will no longer hold any secrets
very litre of sea water contains between 10 and 100 billion microorganisms.
Their size ranges from 0.01 micrometres to 1 cm. That’s the same difference in scale as between an ant and a brontosaurus.
2 yearsof expedition
70 000 kmFrom the South Atlantic as far as the Antarctic
42Research structures involved
Colomban de Vargas, researcher CNRS/Sorbonne:
Unlike previous Tara missions that carried out uniform sampling wherever the ship went, to reveal “What’s there?”, here, we are going to adapt the protocols during the mission to find out “How does it work?”. »
They represent more than two thirds of marine biomass. They constitute the first link in a huge food chain, the other end of which feeds the greater part of people on earth. These marine algae and photosynthetic bacteria are like service providers. They also capture atmospheric carbon dioxide on a planetary scale and, in return, deliver half the oxygen that we breathe every day. The essential inner workings of the great climatic machine, the functioning of this microbial world still remains largely unknown up to now.
What is the microbiome?
New challenges to be taken up
Understanding more deeply the great mechanisms linking microbiomes and climate.
Inviting the public and school classes on board to increase understanding of the ocean and the challenges of protecting it. 23 stopovers are planned where scientific teams will train local researchers on the know-how and techniques of ocean studies.
Two educational operations will be offered to schools. In Tara’s wake, so that students can interact live by video conference with members of the crew and Echos d’Escale, to approach the challenges of sustainable development across the world.
All aboard the schooner
Mission Microbiomes is part of the European AtlantECO project, financed by the European Commission, that brings together 36 scientific institutions in Europe, Brazil and South Africa and involves 15 scientists on the ship itself. This international scientific collaboration is intended to develop a deeper understanding of the challenges linked to the Atlantic Ocean. AtlantECO will roam the Atlantic Ocean with six main expeditions, two of which will study the coasts of Brazil.
Labs & partners
Co-director of Mission Microbiomes. Scientific director of the Tara Océan consortium and the foundation’s scientific committee. Research director at the CNRS.
Co-director of Mission Microbiomes. Researcher at the Anton Dohrn Zoological Station (Naples, Italy).
Colomban de Vargas
Research director at the CNRS, director of the Tara Oceans research federation – GO-SEE,
and co-director of Mission Microbiomes
European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) European Molecular Biology Laboratory,
scientific operations manager of Mission Microbiomes
Labs & partners
Behind the scenes of Mission Microbiomes
Echos d’escale: Virtual expeditions
Aimed at children from 8 to 11 years of age, to secondary school students and from every discipline, we offer you the chance to put together your own virtual expedition course by choosing any the stopover places in the world visited by Tara since 2010.