Mission Microbiomes

Understanding the invisible life of the ocean to protect our future

Objectives

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

© Fondation Tara Océan

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.

In biref

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.

Discover the schooner
  • 2 yearsof expedition

  • 70 000 kmFrom the South Atlantic as far as the Antarctic

  • 42Research structures involved

  • 200Scientists registered

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?

Tara mission Microbiomes
Challenges

New challenges to be taken up

Sciences

Understanding more deeply the great mechanisms linking microbiomes and climate.

 

Raising awareness

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.

 

Education

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.

© Fondation Tara Océan

The team

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

Chris Bowler, Co-directeur de la Mission Microbiomes.

Chris Bowler

Co-director of Mission Microbiomes. Scientific director of the Tara Océan consortium and the foundation’s scientific committee. Research director at the CNRS.

Daniele Ludicone, co-directeur de la mission Microbiomes.

Daniele Ludicone

Co-director of Mission Microbiomes. Researcher at the Anton Dohrn Zoological Station (Naples, Italy).

Ocean culture

Behind the scenes of Mission Microbiomes

Trapped in the ice

Trapped in the ice

Discover the account of Marion Lauters, student and quartermaster on Tara during Arctic drift..

All our medias
Vue de la goélette tara en navigation

Tara Oceans

Expedition to the heart of the biodiversity of the planktonic world

Coucher de soleil sur la goélette Tara prise dans la glace

Tara Arctic

Secrets of the accelerated melting of the sea ice

Our partners

Major partner