Mission microbiomes

Small is mighty

The Tara Ocean Foundation believes small things can be mighty. They are studying ocean microbiomes, which means all single-cell life in the ocean. Put together, these single-cells make up two thirds of all living things in the ocean.

“At the heart of the Tara Ocean Foundation, from the start, is the passion for the sea, the desire to learn,” says Founder, Etienne Bourgois.

It all started with a boat. Etienne first set sail on Tara in 2003 and used his passion for sailing and science to inspire a movement.

“The microbiome’s health affects the entire ocean ecosystem, and therefore our planet’s climate.”

Chris Bowler

Small things, big implications

Tara brought together adventurous scientists from around the world, to explore the remote regions and learn about changes in the ocean.

One of the main things studied onboard Tara are microbiomes. Microbiomes are the collection of microorganisms (such as fungi, bacteria and viruses) that exist in a particular environment.

“The microbiome’s health affects the entire ocean ecosystem, and therefore our planet’s climate,” Chris Bowler, Scientific Director of Tara Oceans Consortium, tells us.

Microbiomes account for over 98% of the ocean's total mass.

NOAA

New discoveries, powered by the wind

Learning about these small cells can have a big impact on our lives. They can tell us about the health of our ocean, the shifts in weather patterns, and how our climate is changing.

Sailing the seas on the Tara boat, allows teams of specialised scientists the opportunity to travel to remote areas of the world, collecting samples as they explore. Each voyage uncovers new information about our ocean and our planet.

The data collected has resulted in ground-breaking information about ocean viruses.

The work of scientists onboard the Tara has highlighted the impact of plastics in the ocean ecosystem. They have also advanced our understanding of the climate change and coral reefs. All this from one sailing boat and one giant dream.

Science tells us it’s time

You don’t have to sail to care about our oceans. You don’t have to be a professor to be involved in ocean science.

Many people doing one small thing is better than one person doing all they can.

There are many ways you can get involved and have fun at the same time. Learning about the ocean and connecting with it is possible from anywhere in the world.

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