In the framework of “Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week”, Institut français is proud to present “Tara Oceans”, two photographic exhibitions by Tara Expéditions and University College Dublin – UCD. “The secret world of plankton” exhibition will be held at Saadiyat Public Beach, Abu Dhabi, from January 20 to February 8, 2014.


Tara Expeditions is a French non-profit organization active since 2003 in favor of the environment. A legendary boat built for extreme conditions, Tara is the platform for high-level scientific research missions. Initiated by agnes b and Etienne Bourgois, Tara Expeditions developed from their passion for the sea, and their humanistic, engaged vision.

Tara’s expeditions study two major scientific themes: the world’s oceans and climate change. In collaboration with scientific institutes, the expeditions contribute concrete results on these topics.


® F. Latreille – Tara Expeditions

2009/2012: Tara Oceans, a global view

From September 2009 to March 2012, Tara Oceans was the very first attempt to do a global study of marine plankton – the planet’s ecosystem, composed of tiny organisms such as viruses, bacteria and algae.

At the end of Tara Oceans expedition (2009-2012), the TAOMI imaging platform has taken several thousands of images. Two photo exhibitions featuring part of the photographs taken during the expedition have been organized. The first presented at Saadiyat Public beach is a presentation of 50 planktonic species taken by 25 optical engineers. The other exhibition currently held at Monte-Carlo Beach Club is about the inhabitants of coral reefs and features photo taken during the coral legs of Tara exhibition.

Tara Oceans is the very first attempt to make a global study of marine plankton, a form of sea life that includes organisms as small as viruses and bacterias, and as big as medusas. The goal is to better understand planktonic ecosystems by exploring the countless species, learning about  interactions among them and with their environment. Marine plankton is the only ecosystem that is almost continuous over the surface of the Earth. Studying plankton is like taking the pulse of our planet.

Recently, scientists have discovered the great importance of plankton for the climate:    populations of plankton are affected very rapidly by variations in climate. But in turn they can influence the climate by modifying the absorption of carbon. In a context of rapid physico-chemical changes, for example the acidification observed today in the world’s oceans, it is urgent to understand and predict the evolution of these particular ecosystems.

Finally, plankton is an astonishing way of going back in time – a prime source of fossils.  Over the eons, plankton has created several hundred meters of sediment on the ocean floors. This allows us to go back in time, to the first oceans on Earth, and better understand the history of our biosphere.

35_23_Phronima - Amphipod_NorthPAC_Luis_Gutierrez_Herredia_UCD_Tara_OCeans_2011

® Luis Gutierrez Herredia – UCD and Tara Oceans, 2011

Institut français also presents many related public programs, including lectures by scholars, film discussion series, and school and college class tours.

All the parallel events are free and open to all.


A movie by Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Michael Pitiot

Produced by Hope and Tara Expéditions, with the support of Omega

Monday 20 January 2014


Sea Lounge, Monte-Carlo Beach Club, Saadiyat

Attended by Romain Troublé, Secretary General of Tara Expeditions with Q&A

Wednesday 29 January 2014


Lycée Louis Massignon

Muroor, Abu Dhabi


Saturday, January 25


Saadiyat Public Beach

Discovering the local marine environment: Dugong and marine turtles

A lecture on the beach by Dr Himansu Sekhar Das, Unit Head – Marine Threatened Species and Habitats Terrestrial & Marine Biodiversity, Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi

2 :30pm

Saadiyat Public Beach

Discovering the local marine environment: Dolphins in UAE

A lecture on the beach by Dr Ada Natoli, PhD and Project director of UAE Dolphin Project

> Saturday, February 1


Saadiyat Public Beach

Coral Reefs of the Arabian Gulf: A Natural Laboratory for Climate Change Research

A lecture on the beach by Dr. John Burt, Associate Professor of Biology and head of the Marine Biology Laboratory at New York University Abu Dhabi.