The Atlantea Expedition

Contributing to the worldwide understanding of one of the most fundamental bases of life : plankton 

SCIENTIFIC CHALLENGE: The study of plankton 

Plankton is the lung of planet Earth. It is also at the very base of the food chain, feeding us !


Marine biomass represented by plankton


Planetary oxygen provided by plankton


Anthropogenic CO2 absorbed by plankton

But this essentiel aquatic microbiome forms a very fragile, sensitive and reactive set, which is proactive to climate change, that we therefore must study, in order to understand it and preserve it. 

Nautical miles traveled during Expedition Atlantea

Or 37’040 km to follow the North-Atlantic current, while following the plankton movements within the tropical and polar zones.

Mission Atlantea will have for main objective to map the impact of environmantal pressure factors, in particular those linked to human activities, on plankton and its links with the rest of the food chain. The sailboat will be equiped with an on-board laboratory in order to put into pratice scientific protocoles enabling us to measure plankton on microscopic and macroscopic scales.

TECHNICAL CHALLENGE : The on-board laboratory

To reach these research goals, we will have to sample sea water through filters allowing us to harvest plankton of which the size varies between 0.22 μm and 10 μm ! They will then be preserved durig long periods of time during which the quality of the samples must not degrade. 

Take up the challenge thanks to frugal state-of-the-art equipment!

These technical challenges are met with the resources aboard a small sailboat – limited in terms of volume, energy and scientific equipment – while guaranteeing simple and low-risk manipulations and protocols. The development of these technical solutions takes place at EPFL, il collaboration with 2 programs: GenoRobotics and Plankton Planet, which have a great amount of expertise in the development of so-called ‘frugal’ field instruments and protocols.

EDUCATIONAL MISSION : Raising awareness

Around the desire to open science and the preservation of the marine environment to as many people as possible and to demonstrate the power of frugal science, academic, student, educational and marine forces will be united. 

Bringing science and consciences together through the respectful support of local awareness-raising networks! 

Stopovers will be an opportunity to participate and encourage local networks that share our desire for respectful and accessible acquisition of knowledge of our most magical treasure: the ocean.

More details on our methods and our interventions will be coming soon. Follow the progress on our social networks so you don’t miss a thing!