On 26 February 2024 in Sion (VS), the Swiss Polar Institute (SPI) and Tara Ocean Foundation held a joint workshop focused on presenting the drifting scientific observatory/laboratory, Tara Polar Station, and on exploring synergies between the two organisations and their respective scientific communities. The collaborative workshop concluded with both parties formalising their agreement with a Memorandum of Understanding.

Presentation of Tara Polar Station during the afternoon workshop. © 2024 Swiss Polar Institute

The joint workshop allowed ample time to introduce the upcoming Tara Polar Station as a platform for multiannual programmes to observe and study seasonal cycles and long-term trends in the Arctic Ocean. Currently under construction, the drifting platform will be able to welcome a crew of 12 to 20 persons on board including scientists and engineers, for research oriented on biology and interactions with the atmosphere, sea ice and the ocean. With its 18-month autonomy and low carbon footprint, this laboratory/observatory will offer novel research perspectives to Swiss-based scientists working in atmospheric science or on ocean microbiomes for example and aiming at improving the global understanding of the Arctic.

From left to right: Romain Troublé (Tara Ocean Foundation Director), Frederik Paulsen (SPI Foundation Board Member) and Danièle Rod (SPI Executive Director). © 2024 Swiss Polar Institute

The afternoon event was also the occasion to formalise the collaboration between the SPI and the Tara Ocean Foundation. Already a member of the scientific consortium of the Tara Polar Station programme since 2018, the SPI signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Tara Ocean Foundation, for mutual support in future projects aligned with both organisations’ portfolios of activities, such as targeted funding instruments, facilitated access to research infrastructure, and production of outreach material. The signing parties were represented by Romain Troublé (Tara Ocean Foundation Director), Danièle Rod (SPI Executive Director) and Frederik Paulsen (SPI Foundation Board Member). The signing concluded the workshop, opening new avenues for innovative and environmentally responsible research.

The participants continued the exchange during the aperitif following the workshop. © 2024 Swiss Polar Institute

About the Tara Ocean Foundation

The Tara Ocean Foundation — first public interest foundation in France dedicated to the Ocean — has two main missions: exploring the Ocean to better understand it and sharing scientific knowledge about the Ocean to raise public awareness. For 20 years, the Foundation has been supporting innovative Ocean science, in partnership with world-leading research centres, to study marine biodiversity, as well as observe and anticipate the impacts of climate change and pollution. Faced with the urgent need to make the protection of the Ocean a common responsibility, the Foundation raises public awareness of the challenges facing the Ocean, educates young generations, facilitates international cooperation and mobilises policymakers.
Thanks to its Special Observer Status at the United Nations, the Foundation actively participates in crucial decisions in favour of the Ocean. Studying and protecting the Ocean means taking care of the global health of our planet and our future.

More information: www.fondationtaraocean.org