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New podcast episode: chasing coccolithophores along the Patagonian shelf

Flora Vincent, chief scientist on board of Tara ©Marin Leroux, polaRYSE & Fondation Tara Ocean

Every year there are phytoplankton blooms which take place around the Patagonian shelf and shelf-break, this bloom is so big that you can see it from space!

What are these phytoplankton and why is it important to study them? What was it like to be on board Tara during this part of the Mission Microbiomes? Did they actually find the coccolithophores, the phytoplankton responsible for the bloom?

To know more about these organisms and what was involved in finding them along the shores of South America, we spoke to Flora Vincent.

Flora is a researcher who was with the Weizmann Institute as she embarked on Tara but has since set up her lab within the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Germany to carry on studying a particular type of marine microorganisms, the protists.

She was the chief scientist in this leg of the Mission Microbiomes, Tara Ocean Foundation's latest expedition, as the boat followed the Argentinian coast from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia. Flora shares with us her experience onboard as they set off to study a bloom of coccolithophores. From collaborating with the Argentinian Hossay schooner, to chasing the bloom around the ocean and making bets to guess how many they would find… Flora relates her journey and the memories she made along the way and she also tells us about Ana Maria Gayoso, to whom this leg was dedicated.

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