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Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 7:11am

Research Vessel Stops In Savannah

A French operated research schooner stopped in Savannah Friday.

The vessel Tara has been traveling for more than two-years studying marine plankton.

It's the first attempt to make a global study of the basic building block of the marine ecosystem.

Cathy Sakas of NOAA's Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary says, the researchers plan to share their findings with area universities.

"This is really a wonderful opportunity for the scientific community in Savannah to engage with the French scientific community that's on board the Tara," Sakas says.

While the schooner won't be available for public tours, city officials plan to welcome the ship when it docks on River Street.

The crew's objective for their six-days in Savannah is to raise awareness about how climate change effects every corner of the world's oceans.

Tara Expedition's executive director Sy Rotter says, the boat stops every 200-300 hundred miles, but it was not a casual decision to dock in Savannah.

"We chose to bring the ship into Savannah because of the great interest evidenced in marine biology and marine exploration by the Savannah Ocean Exchange," Rotter says. "This is a unique organization in this country, in the United States."

The Savannah Ocean Exchange was formed in 2010 to bring attention to environmental issues and unite worldwide organizations to find solutions.

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