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
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.
Analyses in progress
9of the main European rivers studied
3 500samples, all polluted
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.
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…
An expedition along 9 major European rivers to describe and understand the origins and flux of plastic waste.
2019 – 2019
Unravel the mysteries of the first actor present in all facets of ocean biodiversity, its fundamental basis: the microbiome.
2020 – 2022
An expedition to the heart of the biodiversity of the planktonic world, with the Ocean under the microscope.
2009 – 2013
Fondation Tara Océan news
Immerse yourself in our expeditions
Discover the account of Marion Lauters, student and quartermaster on Tara during Arctic drift..
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?
In the 5th “A Porthole on the Ocean” podcast, we want to introduce you to Sarah Auffret, a polar explorer, committed to the planet and the struggle against plastic pollution, who sadly died in a tragic accident.
Beneath the ocean
Co-produced by France Télévision, discover our interactive platform on the impact of climate change on marine biodiversity through videos, computer graphics and interviews with researchers, all in the form of scientific experiments.Discover life beneath the ocean
Discover our commitments and climate research
Discover our commitments and research for the Arctic