Fighting to protect marine biodiversity from pollution


Biodiversity choked with plastic

From the Arctic to the Antarctic, whether in rivers, near the coast or out at sea, it cannot be denied: our pollution is omnipresent. From the microplastics that we see in each of our surface plankton nets, or in sediments, to the more insidious chemical pollution, which can’t be seen. The scale of the phenomenon makes it an issue of the century.

The Ocean shows that the solutions to this pollution are on land, at the source of the problem, and reminds us every day of the importance of sustainable development, and in particular of a more frugal and circular economy.
  • 93 % of plastic waste in the sea is less than 5 mm in size
  • 100 % of chemical pollution from the land ends up in the sea
  • 1M tonnes of plastic discharged into the ocean every year
  • 40 % of the plastics that wash up on the banks of our rivers are polystyrene
© Samuel Bollendorff

Our expeditions

Mission Microbiomes

Current expedition

Better understanding the invisible life of the ocean

Having identified and shared a large number of species of plankton, their genes and their forms with the international scientific community since 2009, this new expedition decided to take an overall approach and treat the oceanic ecosystem as a whole. To achieve that, we need to get back to the basics, to the first link in the ecosystem: the microbiome.

Tara Microplastiques

Analyses in progress

See the expedition
  • 9of the main European rivers studied

  • 3 500samples, all polluted

Echantillon d'eau de mer contenant du plastique

Jean-François Ghiglione, scientific director of the expedition:

Initial observations show that 100% of the samples contain microplastics, including upstream from large conurbations. We have also shown that these plastics act like sponges for pollutants which affect biodiversity. Because these microplastics are too small to collect, solutions need to be found on the ground in industry, through the law, our consumption and our behaviours.

Culture point

There are biodegradable plastics? No, the perfect biodegradable plastic doesn’t exist. Some plastics are considered biodegradable because they decompose in an industrial composter at a temperature higher than 60°C. In nature it is not so easy…

Sensibilisation à l'Océan


Analysis in progress

Tara Microplastics

An expedition along 9 major European rivers to describe and understand the origins and flux of plastic waste.

Tara Microplastics

2019 – 2019

Expedition in progress

Mission Microbiomes

Unravel the mysteries of the first actor present in all facets of ocean biodiversity, its fundamental basis: the microbiome.

Mission Microbiomes

2020 – 2022


Tara Oceans

An expedition to the heart of the biodiversity of the planktonic world, with the Ocean under the microscope.

Tara Oceans

2009 – 2013


Tara Pacific

To examine the biodiversity of coral reefs and their evolution in the face of climate change and the presence of man

Tara Pacific

2016 – 2018

Culture Océan

Immerse yourself in our expeditions

Trapped in the ice

Trapped in the ice

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

Tous nos médias

Fighting to protect marine biodiversity from pollution

Discover our commitments and climate research

Learning more about biodiversity to help better protect it

Discover our commitments and research for the Arctic

Our partners

Major partner