After a three-year global expedition, the international team that has been studying plankton sample has been able to elaborate “the most complete description yet of planktonic organisms to date.”
They have found thousands of organisms which they believe are in a great majority, new to science. They have found 35,000 species of bacteria, 5,000 new viruses and 150,000 single-celled plants and creatures. These organisms are vital as they make up 90% of the mass of all of the ocean’s marine life, produce half of the oxygen we breathe and are the base of any food chain.
This expedition, known as the Tara expedition, took place between 2009 and 2013. The project cost about 10 million and the Tara schooner sailed 30,000 km around the world in order to successfully carry out the expedition. The scientists observed how he different organisms interacted and even found out that lots of the organisms, especially bacteria, are sensitive to temperature.
As a result of this study they have released one of the largest databases of DNA available, at least within the scientific community. Keeping this in mind, you should know that they have only analysed about 2% of the entire collection of samples they collected during the expedition. So this database is only the beginning of a much bigger one.