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Morgane Ratin, a scientist from Roscoff aboard Tara: “A professional, human and personal experience”




After the poles or the Pacific, what is the current mission of the Tara research vessel?

Understanding the world of marine microorganisms and its diversity: microalgae, photosynthetic bacteria, viruses… These microscopic organisms, the microbiome, constitute the first link in the food chain and deliver half of the oxygen we breathe! We are also studying the interaction of plastics with these organisms. The mission started a year ago. Our part targeted the coccolithophores which form massive blooms visible from space: the blooms. The boat left Buenos Aires on December 4, 2021 and we arrived in the wind, in Ushuaia, on December 28. We worked along the drop off of the Argentinian continental shelf, 250 miles from the coast.

I like sailing, taking part in maneuvers, doing night shifts… It’s adventure!

Does this mission already deliver lessons?

To understand how the blooms are triggered, develop and end, we made the bet to let the boat drift above the body of water, after detection by satellite. It was ambitious but we could see that this approach is possible!

In Roscoff (29), you are a research engineer in the marine plankton ecology team. What was your job aboard Tara?

I sampled the microorganisms. I used a rosette (which allows water to be taken at different depths) and mesh nets of different sizes. The samples will then be analyzed by specialized scientists (DNA, imaging, etc.).

Morgane Ratin is part of the Tara Ocean team. On the photo: Guillaume Bourdin (on his left) and, on the right, Constanze Kuhlisch, Flora Vincent; Michel Flores and, behind, Captain Samuel Audrain (Marin Le Roux / polaRYSE / Tara Ocean Foundation)

This is your second mission on Tara. What motivates you ?

These are amazing opportunities that don’t come up 10,000 times in a lifetime! It is a professional, scientific, human and personal experience. And, as a scientist, there is also the idea of ​​making a small contribution to the exploration of living things …

For Tara, you have to be a bit of a sailor, right?

Tara is a mythical boat (it is the Antartica of the explorer Jean-Louis Étienne). It’s crazy when you think of all the people who have followed one another, all the regions of the globe that he has crossed… I love sailing trips, participating in maneuvers, doing night shifts… C ‘ is the adventure!

Morgane Ratin, a scientist from Roscoff aboard Tara: “A professional, human and personal experience”
“These are amazing opportunities that don’t come 10,000 times in a lifetime! As a scientist, there is also the idea of ​​making a small contribution to the exploration of living things… ”, confides Morgane Ratin, a scientist from Roscov on board the schooner Tara (Marin Le Roux / polaRYSE / Tara Ocean Foundation)

What is your observation on the state of the oceans?

We have seen plastics everywhere, like plastic bottles on the surface. On the high seas, we have come across boats in poor condition, all rusty, fishing in an environment that is not regulated.

There was a real billig on board! It’s not easy to turn pancakes with the movements of the boat: you had to anticipate!

Fourteen on a boat, like everyday life?

Everyone participates in life on board: cleaning, serving meals, washing dishes. There were musicians among us, so we had a great evening with music. With a debutant trumpeter. And, there was a real billig on board! It’s not easy to turn pancakes with the movements of the boat: you had to anticipate!

How does being on the other side of the world during the holidays feel?

Before leaving, we condition ourselves… and we prepare the gifts in advance! Thanks to the internet, I was able to keep in touch with the family. On board, everyone made a gift for another, drawn at random, using what was available on a boat. We were very inventive: origami, gift vouchers, comic books, recycling for second use, like jacket pockets that become toilet bags.




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