Created 18/11/2019
18 Nov
The Tara Oceans mission reveals variations in plankton biodiversity and activity from the equator to the poles.

New results from the Tara Oceans expedition, led by a collaboration between the Tara Ocean Foundation and teams from the CNRS, EMBL, CEA, Sorbonne Université and Université Paris Science Lettres between 2009 and 2013 show that the diversity and functions of planktonic species in the global ocean change dramatically according to latitude.

Tara Oceans reveals variations in plankton biodiversity and activity from the equator to the poles


The first results of the 2009-2013 Tara Oceans expedition provided the scientific community with a solid baseline describing plankton variety and interactions in tropical and temperate ocean regions. Now, two research studies — one led by Lucie Zinger and Chris Bowler, at the ENS - PSL and CNRS in Paris; the other by Shinichi Sunagawa, at the ETH Zürich, Switzerland — together with Tara Oceans consortium scientists, are taking one step further by incorporating new data from the Polar Circle circumnavigation, carried out in the Arctic Ocean in 2013. These are planetary-scale sets of sequencing and imaging data developed at Genoscope (CEA) and the Marine Biological Station in Roscoff and Villefranche/Mer (CNRS and Sorbonne Université). Published on the  14th of November  in Cell, these results show that planktonic species are distributed unevenly and may adjust differently to environmental conditions between the equator and the poles. These findings are expected to have strong ecological, environmental and economic implications, in the event of a rise in ocean temperature above a certain threshold. 



Press release

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F.   M. Ibarbalz et al., Global trends in marine plankton diversity across kingdoms of life, Cell (2019), G.    Salazar et al., Gene expression changes and community turnover differentially shape the global ocean metatranscriptome, Cell (2019),

J. Claudet et al., A roadmap for using the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development in support of science, policy and action, One Earth (2019),[1]

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