Tara sounds the Pacific coral beds


Since the spring of 2016, the famous schooner has been trawling the Pacific Ocean from East to West to review the situation of its coral reefs.

The aim of Tara Pacific is to study the microbial diversity of the Pacific Ocean’s coral reefs and its role in the functioning of these reefs. One year after the start of the expedition, 15,000 samples had already been taken from 18 different reefs. The objective of this massive sampling is to determine how the coral beds, but also the fish and bacteria linked to these ecosystems, evolve at the scale of the Pacific. The scientists on the expedition have also been able to observe the first effects of oceanic warming on the coral. During its journey, Tara has thus crossed the reefs affected by episodes of coral bleaching, with a level of mortality that is sometimes high—nearly 50% for the Tuamutu archipelago of French Polynesia, and even 90% for the Samoa Islands. At the end of this mission, which will be concluded in late 2018, researchers will be able to compare all the coral ecosystems of the Pacific Ocean, and thus better evaluate their resilience to climate change.