October 27, 2018

The TARA Pacific 2016-2018 Expedition has been successfully completed. After two and a half years spent exploring coral reefs in the Pacific and measuring the impact of climate change, the science schooner TARA returns to its home port, rich of tens of thousands of samples.
After crossing the Pacific Ocean for thirty months, a new sea loop ends for TARA. The schooner, which has traveled 100,000 kilometers, returns today to Lorient. Two and a half years of a scientific epic focused on one goal: to better understand the functioning of coral reefs, whose role is essential for the ocean as for men. “We have seen beautiful reefs, but also very degraded reefs and I did not expect such contrasts,” says Serge Planes, director of the Criobe (center for island research and observatory of the environment, CNRS- PSL) and scientific director of the expedition.
“The challenge of the expedition was also to place on a “microscopic scale more than macroscopic”, he continues. This represents a fairly new field of investigation. To do this, more than 30,000 samples were taken. The goal is to obtain a global vision of ecosystems and understand the links of corals with microbacteria, fungi, viruses and of course algae, including zooxanthellae, which live in symbiosis with them. “We are interested the microbiodiversity of corals a little like the microbiota in humans” said a researcher.
The Tara Expeditions Foundation, the first foundation dedicated to the Ocean to be recognized of public interest, is developing, thanks to the schooner Tara, a unique and innovative ocean science to predict and better anticipate the impact of climate change. Tara uses high-level scientific expertise to raise awareness and educate younger generations, but also to mobilize policy makers and enable developing countries to access this new knowledge.
The 36 meter schooner former owners were Jean-Louis Etienne and Sir Peter Blake. From 2004 to 2018 Tara successfully completed 11 expeditions including the Antarctic in 2005 and the Arctic in 2006-2008. (Image: Tara Expeditions/Maeva Bardy)