SEVENSEAS Marine Conservation & Travel Issue 14, July 2016 - Page 25

Tara weighs anchor:

11,000 kilometers left before the corals of the Pacific

Saturday evening May 28th, Tara headed out to sea on her 11th expedition, this time to the Asian-Pacific. For the next two and a half years the schooner will sail the planet's largest ocean, exploring coral reefs in a new way to better understand the evolution of reef biodiversity in the face of climate change.

11,000 km before reaching the first reef in the Gulf of Panama

After a day of festivities celebrating Pacific cultures and coral, Tara left the harbor accompanied by many boats that came to bid her farewell. “The adventure continues for Tara, and also for Lorient, her home port. This voyage will encourage everyone to focus on the specificity of the Pacific Ocean and also assess the environmental issues affecting our daily lives. For elected officials of the Lorient Agglomeration, TARA represents the values of sustainable development and provides an excellent illustration of our actions in the region”, explains Norbert Metairie, president of Lorient Agglomeration and Mayor of Lorient.

From the port of Lorient to the first coral reefs of the eastern Pacific, Tara will travel 11,000 km, (6,000 nautical miles). After a 30-day Atlantic crossing, Tara will stopover in Miami on the east coast of the United States before entering the Panama Canal in mid-July.

40,000 samples of coral and seawater

The first dives on coral reefs will take place immediately after exiting the Panama Canal and will continue from east to west, all the way to Japan in the first year of the expedition. This campaign associates coral biologists, chemists, oceanographers and plankton specialists who will investigate the behavior of coral reefs confronting climate change over a wide

geographical area that has not yet been studied.

From June 2016 to September 2018, approximately 40,000 samples will be collected and will ultimately provide new information on the unknown role of certain biochemical parameters -- acidity, salinity, turbidity, etc. We will also study certain species involved in the life of the reefs and their adaptation to major environmental changes .

Continued on page 33