Over a period of three years, a two-mast schooner will journey from the Mediterranean to the Arctic Ocean and back, a distance of 150,000 kilometers. Anyone with thoughts of an extended vacation is sorely mistaken — the Tara Oceans oceanographic expedition is the reason for this trip. Tara Oceans is being supported by well-known organizations such as the environmental program of the United Nations. More than 100 researchers from 50 scientific institutes have a common goal: an in-depth analysis of the oceanic ecosystem.
The members of the expedition expect to collect vast quantities of data which will then be evaluated in numerous labs around the world. Oceanographers, biologists, geneticists and physicists are working together to combine examinations from 12 research fields. They are gathering data from countless water samples at varying depths which will be used for numerous purposes, including the clarification of possible effects of climate change on ocean life.
For example, the examination of microorganisms is planned which requires support from Jena: three microscopes from Carl Zeiss are on board for the long journey. As an official sponsor of the expedition, the company is providing not only high-quality microscopes, but also lenses, cameras and image analysis software. The seven seas await — here’s to fair winds and following seas.
November 3, 2009