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

IMG_0207

Ask Sail: How Far to Ease Out?

Q: When sailing dead downwind (assume 22 knots of wind), if the main is eased out to 90 degrees relative to the wind (perpendicular to the wind) are roughly the same forces applied to the sail as to the sail if it isn’t quite out all the way, say, 75 degrees to the wind? My ...read more

200803

Video: A Close Look at the AC75

The AC75 rule crafted for the upcoming 36th America’s Cup was intended to be open to multiple interpretations, and the result has been four very different designs. Coupled with the fact the AC75 is unlike any other boat that has ever come before, the current Cup cycle is fast ...read more

TSP-FB-DEI

US Sailing Invites Public to Diversity Panel

On Tuesday, August 4, US Sailing’s Leadership Forum is hosting a town hall style conversation to help individuals and organizations achieve diversity, equity and inclusion goals. The conversation will be centered on providing practical guidance for conducting outreach and best ...read more

LarryPardey

Eight Bells: Larry Pardey

Canadian-born mariner and author Larry Pardey will be remembered by his friends and fans as a generous spirit who inspired thousands of readers to become sailors and sailors to become adventurers. Whether building his own boats, circumnavigating twice sans engine or stretching ...read more

The-Sailing-Museum-Floorplan

New Sailing Museum Announces Exhibits

The Sailing Hall of Fame-America’s Cup Hall of Fame joint venture to bring a new sailing museum to Newport is moving ahead full steam. Fittingly but unsurprisingly, they’ve announced the name “The Sailing Museum” for the institution to be housed in the historic Armory building. ...read more