The Veolia Environnement Foundation is a leading sponsor of the Tara Oceans scientific program to help scientists study an array of marine species vital to our survival and global climate balance.
Global warming and pollution have an extremely adverse effect on marine ecosystems, which are made up of billions of microscopic organisms known as plankton. Little is known about this huge source of biodiversity, which is important to life on Earth, since these organisms trap nearly 70% of carbon dioxide and produce around 50% of the oxygen we breathe.
Determining the impact of climate change on seas and oceans
The Tara schooner, which had already racked up numerous environmental expeditions over the years, sailed from Lorient, France, in September 2009 for a three-year odyssey covering over 150,000 kilometers of the planet's oceans and seas.
The ship carries a multinational team of 20 scientists, including physicists, biologists and oceanographers covering over a dozen basic research areas. The many sampling spots scheduled will be used to gather specimens to analyze the diversity and distribution of plankton species. The expedition's work will help build a unique data bank available to the entire scientific community. This will, in turn, be used to concretely describe the impact of climate change on the world's seas and oceans.
In total, the expedition involves more than 500 scientists and a network of 50 laboratories and institutes from around the world.
Foundation Support Vital
The Veolia Environnement Foundation is fully committed to the Tara Oceans program and works daily to coordinate scientific bodies with partners in support of the project. It has provided funding for a range of onboard equipment, such as the "Rosette," one of the expedition's most advanced instruments, used to collect samples of water down to a depth of 2,000 meters, providing a virtual real-time snapshot of plankton life. Meanwhile, the project's original sponsor, Veolia Environnement employee Marie-Marguerite Bourbigot, provides the first point of contact for the Tara Oceans scientific teams.