Coral is the cradle of marine biodiversity. Scientists estimate that a total of more than one million species of plants and animals are associated with the coral ecosystem. Today major threats such as climate change, carbon emissions and human activities are having a major impact on the reefs.
Coral reefs: reservoirs of life, protection for the coasts, and source of wealth
These incredible underwater structures act as a nursery for fish, thus providing an essential source of protein for the global diet.
Reefs are also real living barriers which protect the coasts and their inhabitants from storms and cyclones.
Every year, nearly 1 million people enjoy the reefs through leisure activities
From the gene to the ecosystem
The specificity of this expedition is to allow researchers to characterize the genetic identity of the reef's biodiversity, including bacteria, viruses, fish, algae and coral. Analysis of this information will help us understand how coral and surrounding organisms can adapt, or not.
Immerse yourself in a Tara Pacific sampling session via this interview with Emilie Boissin, scientific coordinator, and Rebecca Vega, microbiologist at the University of Oregon.
Hyperdiver, coral on the scanner
During the Tara Pacific expedition, the prototype of an underwater scanner called HyperDiver used a hyperspectral camera to map the reefs. Hyperdiver provided vital information on the biodiversity of these zones of coral.
Over many days and dives, the device recorded a whole library of life. These photos are being analyzed in a completely automatic way.
Discoveries in marine biodiversity
During the Tara Pacific expedition, the schooner is exploring very remote reefs whose biodiversity is virtually unknown. In the archipelago of Wallis and Futuna for example, the team carried out a complete inventory of underwater biodiversity. An earlier inventory was only partial and dated back to the 1970s.
Tara Pacific, targeted studies
Ten sites are being studied for their local particularities where natural conditions make it possible to extrapolate the evolution of the reefs. For example in Japan, regions with very low pH caused by volcanic CO2 sources give us an opportunity to study responses of biodiversity to an acidified Ocean, as it will be in 2100 if we do not reduce our emissions of CO2.
Global warming and El Niño
We can no longer consider episodes of rising temperatures only occasional, like the El Niño cyclical phenomenon. Today there is a global warming of the ocean, in addition to very hot summer seasons. The greater the increase in water temperatures and the longer the exposure to these higher temperatures, the greater is the bleaching phenomenon.
EXPLORE TO UNDERSTAND
SHARE FOR A CHANGE
Thanks to the Tara Pacific expedition, we are discovering the hidden diversity of coral and can better understand its ability to adapt to climate change.
Today, the Tara Expeditions Foundation continues and intensifies our actions. To move forward, we need everyone's help. The Tara Foundation remains independent, functioning entirely thanks to the generosity of our donors and sponsors.
To move forward, we need the help of everyone because the Tara Foundation remains independent. We operate thanks to the generosity of our donors, essential sponsors of our actions.
Every donation counts and allows our work to continue. To support the Tara Expeditions Foundation:
HELP US TO ADVANCE RESEARCH AND PRESERVE THE OCEAN
The Tara Foundation would like to thank the photographers and illustrators who made this exhibition possible:
Pete West / Bioquest Studios