Environment. A European mission to study marine ecosystems stops near Perpignan

Environment. A European mission to study marine ecosystems stops near Perpignan
Environment. A European mission to study marine ecosystems stops near Perpignan

The Crossing the European Coasts (TREC) expedition, led by the European Molecular Biology Laboratory and Tara Océan, stopped in the Pyrénées-Orientales. This project aims to study coastal ecosystems across Europe. In April, researchers took samples on Argelès beach.

Over the course of a morning, a team of European scientists takes samples of sea water. Their objective: to study biodiversity and coastal ecosystems. Within the team: Thomas Haize, TREC expedition engineer. This mission will “s‘interest in all the chemical and polluting molecules found in water, to have this scan of the marine environment at a precise moment. We’re doing this across Europe for two years.”

The water collected is then transferred to a mobile laboratory before passing through very high pressure filters. A delicate operation that must be done quickly. For preserve DNA as much as possible. We take it and concentrate it in filters which we will cryogenize at -120 degrees. We will concentrate all of this to freeze it as quickly as possible before returning to the laboratory to be analyzed.”explains the engineer.


The mobile laboratory allows data to be collected on site before being transferred to another analysis center.

© Christelle Chabaud / FTV

Volunteers are also part of the team, such as chemistry master’s students. They are attached to the Banyuls laboratory and collect sand samples.

In the laboratory, they look for different pollution and organisms present on the site. This will allow us to have a broad spectrum of what we can find in certain places. Then detect to what extent they are impacted by the changes. The mission will above all be awareness raising.

Largely funded by the European Union in partnership with the TARA foundation, the TREC expedition began in Lorient in April 2023. It will pass through 120 different sites spread across 46 regions of Europe.“LThe goal of this expedition is not to denounce man but to understand the impact of man on the species that live in these environments.develops Thomas Haize.

The results of this immense study will be known within three years.

Written with Henry Villetard de Laguerrie.



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