The scientific schooner Tara continues to travel the Pacific Ocean in an attempt to unveil the biodiversity of coral reefs, an important factor in understanding major environmental challenges.
The collection of data that Tara collects during this two-year voyage is none other than an immense and unprecedented library of 40,000 samples that will make it possible to carry out the first global study of coral reefs on an ocean scale.
Initiated by the Tara Expeditions Foundation and coordinated on a scientific level by the Scientific Centre of Monaco (CSM) and Paris Institute of Science and Letters, this expedition will enable the study of an ecosystem essential to the equilibrium of the oceans.
The biodiversity of the reefs represents about 30 percent of the marine species in less than 0.2 percent of the total surface area of the oceans. Particularly threatened by global warming and changes, they are important indicators of the health status of our oceans.
Romain Troublé, Managing Director of the Tara Expeditions Foundation, said, “Tara Pacific, comprised of 70 researchers from 22 laboratories around the world, brings together their expertise to study this fabulous ecosystem and to provide an inventory for future generations.”
The contribution of the CSM is major: for nearly 30 years, it has developed methods of cultivation in controlled conditions that are still unique in the world.
“Among the corals we grow, three species are being precisely studied during Tara Pacific. Analysis of their genomes, thanks to Genoscope DNA sequencing, will serve as a reference for all the reefs studied throughout Tara’s journey. We will be able to offer long-term expertise to many laboratories,” said Denis Allemand, Director of Monaco’s CSM.
Alongside the research institutes, the Tara Expeditions Foundation and its patrons, the Principality of Monaco has invested heavily in this project through the Prince Albert II Foundation. “Our partnership is not just financial support. It is above all a relationship of trust that has been consolidated during nearly 10 years of exchanges and which has made it possible to propose together technical and political solutions to the major challenges of the oceans “said Philippe Mondielli, Scientific Director of the Foundation.