Traversing European Coastlines

An expedition to study coastal ecosystems and their response to the environment, from molecules to communities

A scientific voyage to address environmental challenges

With TREC, we embark on a journey through European coastlines to explore the biodiversity and molecular adaptability of microbial communities as well as key selected organisms. We focus on coastal habitats as they are the richest in species biodiversity and they also often present the highest levels of pollution. 

By combining the expertise and infrastructure of EMBL and our multiple European partners, TREC aims to initiate a new era of coastal ecosystems exploration. The goal is timely and ambitious – to observe, model, and understand the effects of changing environments on organisms and communities, at the cellular and molecular levels.

TREC is a flagship project of Planetary Biology, one of the transversal themes launched by EMBL’s new Programme “Molecules to Ecosystems” 2022-2026.

We want to address major issues of human and planetary health:

Measure the amounts and study the effects of organic and inorganic pollutants.

Survey biodiversity loss and monitor the impact of invasive species.

Identify carbon fixation pathways and develop new harnessing strategies.

Measure the impact of global warming and acidification on ecosystems; study molecular adaptations.

Explore symbioses to understand molecular mechanisms of organismal interactions.

Identify new antibiotics, track antimicrobial resistance spread, and design control strategies.


Learn more about the expedition and our activities


Discover the scientific projects driving the expedition

Mobile Service

Find out how TREC and local research projects will be supported through EMBL’s new mobile service


Scientific workshops and courses for the researchers

10 Jul 2024

Leveraging expertise across EMBL services

A scientific workshop on flow cytometry was organised at EMBL Rome, taking advantage of the presence of the Advanced Mobile Laboratory, the biggest unit of EMBL’s mobile lab fleet.

17 Jun 2024

TREC in Italy – sampling from coast to coast

For almost two months, Italy was the stage for the TREC expedition, with a rich programme of events organised across the country attended by the public, scientists, schools, and high-level political s…

22 May 2024

Exploring diversity in cell division

New research by EMBL scientists shows how different modes of cell division used by animals and fungi might have evolved to support diverse life cycles.