35000 samples were collected from all the world’s oceans. 

Telling the story of life – its past and future

Life began in the ocean. It tells the story of how the most complex organisms evolved from primordial bacteria and it will tell us about the fate of myriad organisms present today. The insights that researchers derive from studying this, the largest cohesive ecosystem on Earth, are crucial for the preservation of mankind and our planet.


Tara Oceans schooner.

Plankton and the climate

Plankton’s importance for the earth’s climate is at least equivalent to that of the rainforest. Yet only a small fraction of organisms that compose it have been classified and analysed. Tiny organisms are collaborating in huge numbers for maximum impact, absorbing CO2 and releasing O2 back into the atmosphere. What are they, how do they function, and why does it matter?


EMBL's Eric Karsenti joins Ban Ki-Moon on Tara's bow. 

In one of the most ambitious scientific endeavours of our time, researchers under the leadership of Eric Karsenti – founder of EMBL’s Cell Biology and Biophysics Unit and Tara Oceans’ Scientific Director – have collected more than 30,000 oceanic samples from climate-relevant spots across the globe. Researchers at EMBL Heidelberg and the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) are now analysing these probes to answer one of the most existential questions of our time: How can we prevent further damage to the Earth’s and the ocean’s ecosystems?

We ask you to join the team and contribute to keeping our planet habitable and healthy for future generations. Curious to learn why a laboratory in Heidelberg should be involved in ocean research? Read more.

The Plankton Chronicles

The Plankton Chronicles Project is a short documentary series combining art and science, revealing the beauty and diversity of organisms adrift in the currents. The project was started in the context of the Tara Oceans Expedition and the Observatoire Oceanologique de Villefranche-sur-Mer (OOV).