Scientific Programs



From June 2017, research teams from the European program, JPI Oceans, will take part in the Odyssey and will use the Race for Water vessel to carry out their studies. Established in 2011, JPI Oceans is a strategic program coordinating marine research among European member states and associated countries. Among the joint initiatives launched by JPI Oceans, the “Ecological Aspects of Micro plastics” program brings together four projects covering the plastic debris, including EPHEMARE (managed by Prof. Ricardo Beiras) and WEATHER-MIC (managed by Dr. Annika Jahnke and Dr. Hans Peter Arp).


The WEATHER-MIC project, led by Dr. Annika Jahnke (UFZ Leipzig, Germany) and Dr. Hans Peter Arp (NGI Norway), aims to study the degradation of micro plastics in the marine environment.

Team: Dr. Hans Peter Arp of the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute, and up to four other scientists will navigate on the Race for Water to take samples.

Samples for research: Sediments / Planktons /Sea water.

Sampling area: samples taken in Cuba with 3 NGI scientists and 6 Cuban scientists led by Professor Carlos Alonso-Hernández of the Centro de Estudios Ambientales de Cienfuegos (CEAC).



Lead by Prof. Ricardo Beiras (University of Vigo, Spain), the EPHEMARE project studies the ecotoxicological effects of micro plastics on marine ecosystems (pelagic and benthic).

Team: Scientists from  the University of Vigo (Spain), and the University of Marche (Italy), the CNR-ISMAR Insitut (Italy), the Antwerp University (Belgium), as well as the University of Bordeaux (France)

Samples for research:  Sea water/ Planktons / Fishes (marine organisms) / Sediments

Sampling area : sampling carried out in Bermuda and in Guadeloupe on 2 areas.


 The Plankton Planet project takes the pulse of plankton biodiversity and studies the health of our ocean on appropriate spatial-temporal scales through an innovative volunteer program. It is supported by scientists from the French Scientific Research Institute ( Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique – CNRS) and the Tara-Océans organization. For this program, citizen sailors harvest marine plankton during their sailing journeys. The samples are then analyzed by international experts in oceanography back at the Roskoff laboratory (Brittany).  

Project Coordinator: Dr. Colomban de Vargas (director of the Roskoff laboratory and the Plankton Planet project), and Dr Calixte Berger (Manager of the Plankton Planet Project)

 Team: up to 6 scientists on board for three to four weeks. Estimated late 2017 – 2018

 Study: High-definition imagery of plankton, 3D rendering of plankton.


Sampling of plastic particles by the Race for Water team from Chile to French Polynesia for the “Plastisphère” project in 2018 

A voluntary scienti c project will be conduct- ed aboard the Race for Water vessel within the context of the “Plastisphère” project by Dr. Linda Amaral Zettler and Dr. Erik Zettler, both researchers at the NIOZ, the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research. This project aims to explore the communities associated with plastics in the South-East Paci c, a zone which has seen little sampling to date in terms of plastic pollution.
The “Plastisphère” project will concentrate on the DNA analysis of the organisms attached to the plastic particles to determine the entire microbial community living on these pieces of plastic. The Race for Water team will collect a set of data to contribute to this project through samples taken during the passage from Chile to French Polynesia. The samples collected will be conserved aboard before being analysed at the NIOZ.