The Tara Pacific expedition 2016-2018

© Tara Expeditions Foundation

2016 - 2018

The research schooner Tara left her home port of Lorient on May 28th 2016 to sail nearly 100,000 km around the Pacific Ocean for more than two years.

The interdisciplinary team of scientists aboard, coordinated by the CNRS and the Scientific Centre of Monaco (CSM), will examine in a new way the biodiversity of coral reefs and their evolution in response to climate change and human activities.




According to Serge Planes, CNRS researcher and scientific director of the expedition, “Tara Pacific will explore each reef‘s hidden biodiversity – genomic, genetic, viral and  bacterial – in order to compare it with the biodiversity of the surrounding body of water. Our goal is to get a real idea of ​​the overall diversity of a coral colony.”

Besides the state of health of each reef and its biodiversity at different levels, the scientific team will focus on the capacities of resistance, adaptation and resilience of the reef ecosystems. A last aspect of our study will focus on the potential applications of coral biology to medical research.

This expedition is unique in that it will cover such a huge geographical area – the Pacific Ocean – where over 40% of the world’s coral reefs are concentrated. A study on this scale has never before been accomplished.

From east to west and from north to south, Tara will criss-cross the Pacific Ocean to explore the hidden diversity of coral reefs and gain a better understanding of their capacity to adapt to climate change. From the Panama Canal to the archipelago of Japan (2016-2017), from New Zealand to China (2017-2018), the schooner will traverse 11 time zones of the world’s largest ocean, and visit the most remote islands and reefs.



Key figures

– 2-year expedition from 2016 May to 2018 September
– 30 visited countries
– 70 stopovers
– 100 000 km of sailing
– 40 archipelagos will be studied
– 10 sites will be subject to specific studies
– 35 000 samples in 2 years
– around 100 scientists involved, from 8 different countries
– 23 institutions and research laboratories


Follow the expedition

• Live from the boat, with the articles from the Logbook and the interactive map of Tara’s track:

© Cameron Beccario /

• In pictures, with our regularly updated media library.

• In videos, on our Youtube channel, or below:



More information about the Tara Pacific expedition:

- Scientific objectives
Involved scientists
Scientific instruments