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.
Inspired by this growing problem, the Tara Ocean Foundation's newest endeavour, Mission Microplastics, will study the nature of the plastic pollution entering the ocean from the European mainland.
From June to November 2019, scientists aboard Tara will sample the microplastics flowing from the estuaries of 10 of Europe’s major rivers, using superfine microplastic-collecting nets.
Several of these stopovers will bring the vessel close to EMBL’s sites around Europe. During Tara’s time in port, EMBL will be holding events such as visits to the schooner and talks and press conferences about EMBL’s visionary fundamental research and technology development in the life sciences.
"As the largest cohesive ecosystem on Earth, the oceans can provide us with insights that are crucial not only for the preservation of mankind, but also of our planet", says Edith Heard, EMBL Director General. "EMBL will continue working to gain these vital insights in future, together with the Tara Ocean Foundation and the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), among others."