Tara Expeditions Foundation Returns with Coral Reef Data

Author:
Publish date:
Tara studied these fragile ecosystems to better protect them from pollution and climate change

Tara studied these fragile ecosystems to better protect them from pollution and climate change

In late October, the research schooner Tara returned to Lorient, France, after spending two and a half years collecting and studying samples from coral reefs in the Pacific, home to 40 percent of the world’s reefs. In the course of the voyage, Tara went through the Panama Canal to Japan, New Zealand then to China, collecting over 36,000 samples from 32 reefs along the way. Comprised of coral reef biologists, geneticists, oceanographers, reef fish and plankton specialists, bioinformaticians and doctors, the team hopes to eventually pinpoint optimal conditions for reef health and understand the adaptive abilities of the organisms in these ecosystems. This information will, in turn, be used to bolster future rehabilitation and conservation efforts.

It should come as no surprise that the team’s findings also suggest the world’s oceanic ecosystems are very much under attack. Interestingly, damage to the reefs was unevenly distributed and initial observations note that certain sites, like the Chesterfield Islands, were relatively intact while other sites, like the Samoan Islands, sustained heavy damage due to climate change.

This uneven damage suggests that both local and global stress factors are to blame for reef destruction. In some ways, this is good news in that, while no single community can reverse the global damage, smaller scale cleanup projects can still have a big impact on local reefs. At press time, the researchers are still analyzing their findings, however, they are already recommending the following six strategies for individuals, marine businesses and lawmakers who want to make a difference:

• Improve waste management, especially for plastic

• Limit the impact of agriculture, livestock breeding and associated effluent

• Prevent deforestation to stabilize soil and thereby prevent runoff sedimentation on the reefs

• Ban or restrict the most destructive fishing practices

• Prioritize the environment when developing heavy coastal infrastructures like dikes and industrial ports

• Involve and educate local populations, leading them to preserve their natural environments.

For more on the Tara voyage and the crew’s findings, visit oceans.taraexpeditions.org/en

January 2019

Related

QuarterdeckBuildingWatercolor

Bitter End Yacht Club 2.0

Amid the widespread devastation caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria when they swept across the northern Caribbean in September 2017, the destruction of the iconic Bitter End Yacht Club on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands was particularly keenly felt by sailors. The ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com The back door Satisfied with your headsails? So was I, until one day I took a long, hard look up the luff of my genoa, making sure I inspected the leeward side as well. The sail had plenty of life ...read more

02-Lydia12-01

Losing Sight of Shore

I arrived on the docks of Beaufort, North Carolina, in late April with two backpacks filled with new gear—everything I’d need for my first offshore passage. Though I’d been sailing for 16 years, graduating from dinghies to keelboats to a J/122, I’d spent my time racing and, in ...read more

Squall

The Face of a Squall

They are the worst of times, they are the best of times There’s a fabulous line from an old Paul Simon song that I often sing to myself while sailing: I can gather all the news I need from the weather report. It is part of the magic of sailing, this ancient process by which we ...read more

ntcktshtrstk

Cruising Southern New England Waters

One of the most wonderful childhood vacations I can remember was back in 1971 when my best friend invited me to his family’s summer home on Nantucket Island. For a 10-year-old kid, this was a thrilling trip for many reasons, not the least of which was the fact it was also my ...read more

IMG_8287GR16Mykonos

Cultural Charters: Mykonos

In last month’s column, I covered the amazing mix of cultures that have called the Dalmatian Coast home over the centuries. Croatia cruising is like a smorgasbord of intertwined centuries, and the islands are a movie set. A little farther south, though, you’ve also got Greece, ...read more

cookinglead

Cruising: No Oven? No Worries

Many cruising boats, especially smaller ones, don’t have a conventional oven. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have all the baked foods you want, from bread to brownies to breakfast rolls to casseroles and even a roast chicken. All it takes is the right bit of gear and a ...read more