The research schooner Tara, which provides samples and data to the scientific community worldwide to learn more about the impact of climate change on ecosystems, will make a port call in Savannah on January 20-26, 2012. This call is part of an ambitious project entitled Tara Oceans.
Tara Oceans is the very first attempt to make a global study of marine plankton. Marine plankton is the only ecosystem that is almost continuous over the surface of the Earth. 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. Studying plankton is like taking the pulse of our planet.
During their six-day port call, a number of events have been planned to raise environmental awareness among the general public, and particularly young people. Among the many activities scheduled are:
- On January 19th, there will be a phytoplankton collection stop in NOAA Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary..
- On January 19th, 7pm, a scientific seminar will be presented by Romain Troublé, Secretary General and Operations manager of Tara Oceans at the NOAA Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary..
- On January 20th, a flotilla of local vessels (research, recreational, government, commercial, etc.) will accompany Tara into port. Cannons fired from two historic forts, Fort Jackson et Fort Pulaski, will welcome the flotilla as it approaches on their trip up river. The Mayor and City Council, as well as state and local dignitaries will welcome the crew at Savannah’s historic City Hall.
- During the weekend, the ship’s crew will engage the public dockside with an overview of their programs and projects.
- Monday to Wednesday, the ship’s crew will welcome pre-registered groups of students from Chatham, Effingham and Bryan counties aboard the vessel.
- A series of scientific seminars are also scheduled: Monday at 3pm Skidaway Institute of Oceanography (10 Ocean Science Circle (30 minutes drive from Savannah) where the crew will briefly present their research projects. On Tuesday, from 3pm to 5pm, a scientific seminar will take place at Savannah State University (Student Union, Activity Room C (second floor) - 3219 College St)
- Early on January 26th, TARA will depart for New York.
Update 01-31-2012 - pictures of the event