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Organisme marin
Planktonic life is critical for the planet, yet so much about it is still unknown. This is why the FFEM is supporting the Tara Oceans scientific programme, promoting the development of models and indicators for the observation, understanding and management of marine biodiversity, based on the planktonic system.

Almost 98% of the oceans’ biomass comprises planktonic organisms (viruses, bacteria, protists, zooplankton etc.), drifting with the currents. Planktonic life is essential to mankind, since it not only forms the basis of our food chain but also absorbs 50% of terrestrial CO2.

As the planet’s climate is undergoing radical change, it is essential to better understand the biodiversity of plankton, its dynamics, its abilities to adapt and the resilience of this ecosystem to combat any physico-chemical changes in the oceanic waters.

Which is why the FFEM is supporting the Tara Oceans expedition, the first planet-wide study of marine plankton, in order to strengthen the future capabilities of the Global South in the governance and management of the oceans.


The project has four components:

  • Extending the research activities of Tara Oceans and initiating the creation of new models and indicators based on observations of plankton and its correlations with marine ecosystems.
  • Developing an international programme for structuring research into ocean life based on the experience of Tara Oceans, and involving the Global South to help progress their abilities to act in this area.
  • Leveraging scientific results with multilateral institutions in the ocean governance processes currently underway at the UN.
  • Publicising the importance of marine ecosystems, particularly in areas beyond national jurisdictions, in tandem with the Tara expeditions.
  • Establishing a low resolution map of ecosystem structure and the biogeography of organisms, from viruses to fish larvae.
  • Developing new dynamic estimating models for the global distribution of planktonic organisms in terms of total mass and species complexity.
  • Creating spaces for dialogue between the Tara Oceans project scientists and the institutional representatives and expert groups working on the challenges of development and climate change.
Exemplary and innovative characteristic

The added value and innovation of this project, supported by the FFEM, lies in the fact that no previous marine ecosystem observation programme has ever had the amount of models and data now available today to really investigate planktonic systems.

Project start date
Project end date
Project grant date
4 years
Duration of funding
Africa, South America, Europe, Pacific
Financing Tool
9 900 000 EUR
Amount of the program
2 000 000
Amount of FFEM funding
In progress
Tara Ocean Foundation
French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation (MESRI)
Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition
Institution responsible
Tara Foundation
private sector and other finance