Highlights from the Tara stopovers in Rome, Marseille, and Barcelona
On 12 September, Tara sailed into the Porto Turistico in Ostia, Rome, at the mouth of the Tiber, against a backdrop of blue skies and Italian sunshine. During the three-day stopover, scientists from EMBL Rome organised multiple public outreach activities, including group tours of the boat and a hands-on workshop to build a fluorescence microscope. There was also a scientific conference to discuss the links between the study of the oceans and life on Earth, a press conference, which was well attended by Italian journalists, and a reception for EMBL Rome stakeholders.
Finally, it was time to pull anchor and sail on to the next stop: the atmospheric port of Marseille. From 27–30 September, Tara was docked in Marseille harbour. Visitors on board included EMBL alumni and friends who were attending the EMBL in France event. Romain Troublé, Executive Director of the Tara Ocean Foundation, hosted a press conference, where Yannick Schwab, Head of the Electron Microscopy Core Facility at EMBL, spoke about EMBL’s links with Tara, and about research at EMBL Grenoble.
The next stop was Barcelona, where Tara was docked within view of the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB) from 4–9 October. The stopover coincided with the PRBB’s annual open day on 5 October, when EMBL Barcelona and the five other biomedical research institutes housed in the PRBB open their doors to the public for a day of talks, tours, and activities. There was a Tara focus to EMBL Barcelona’s offerings this year, with samples of aquatic organisms imaged at EMBL’s Mesoscopic Imaging Facility on display.
Tara is now in the final weeks of Mission Microplastics, which is scheduled to conclude with the boat’s arrival in Lorient, France, on 23 November. It’s the end of the voyage, but for the scientists involved, the collection of samples is just the start of their work. Now to analyse the data!