Tara Oceans: towards global ocean ecosystems biology

Shinichi Sunagawa, Silvia G. Acinas, Peer Bork, Chris Bowler, Silvia G. Acinas, Marcel Babin, Peer Bork, Emmanuel Boss, Chris Bowler, Guy Cochrane, Colomban de Vargas, Michael Follows, Gabriel Gorsky, Nigel Grimsley, Lionel Guidi, Pascal Hingamp, Daniele Iudicone, Olivier Jaillon, Stefanie Kandels, Lee Karp-BossEric Karsenti, Magali Lescot, Fabrice Not, Hiroyuki Ogata, Stéphane Pesant, Nicole Poulton, Jeroen Raes, Christian Sardet, Mike Sieracki, Sabrina Speich, Lars Stemmann, Matthew B Sullivan, Shinichi Sunagawa, Patrick Wincker, Damien Eveillard, Gabriel Gorsky, Lionel Guidi, Daniele Iudicone, Eric Karsenti, Fabien Lombard, Hiroyuki Ogata, Stephane Pesant, Matthew B Sullivan, Patrick Wincker, Colomban de Vargas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

177 Scopus citations


A planetary-scale understanding of the ocean ecosystem, particularly in light of climate change, is crucial. Here, we review the work of Tara Oceans, an international, multidisciplinary project to assess the complexity of ocean life across comprehensive taxonomic and spatial scales. Using a modified sailing boat, the team sampled plankton at 210 globally distributed sites at depths down to 1,000 m. We describe publicly available resources of molecular, morphological and environmental data, and discuss how an ecosystems biology approach has expanded our understanding of plankton diversity and ecology in the ocean as a planetary, interconnected ecosystem. These efforts illustrate how global-scale concepts and data can help to integrate biological complexity into models and serve as a baseline for assessing ecosystem changes and the future habitability of our planet in the Anthropocene epoch.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)428-445
Number of pages18
JournalNature Reviews Microbiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - May 12 2020
Externally publishedYes


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