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Tara Oceans Expedition

May 25, 2015

Scientists circle the globe to study the world’s microscopic sea creatures.



F.Aurat Tara Expéditions

The research vessel Tara. (F.Aurat/Tara Expéditions)

Examining minute organisms in a vast sea. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Tiny marine organisms produce half the world’s oxygen and sustain the ocean food web. Yet little is known about their biology and interactions. Now, in the journal Science, an international team of researchers have released five new reports based on the transoceanic travels of the research vessel Tara. Cell biologist Eric Karsenti directs the Tara Oceans project, and says the interactions among the small creatures they studied were surprisingly complex.

ERIC KARSENTI (European Molecular Biology Laboratory):

It’s not only survival of the fittest, but it’s also how everybody collaborates with everybody else that makes life evolve and becomes more complex on earth. I think this is a very, very fundamental discovery.


Another finding was the sensitivity of the organisms to small temperature changes—an area of particular interest in light of climate change. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.