April 17th 2024 | 5:34

Capital of the world

Itsasmuseum shelters the TREC Expedition on its scientific journey along the European coasts

Laura Rangel Ybarra

October 11, 2023 | 7:26 am

Bilbao, a city that has always maintained an intimate relationship with the sea, becomes the host port for the expedition TREC, a project that will sail along the European coasts for two years, exploring biodiversity and marine ecosystems and analyzing the human impact on them.

An Expedition with a View to Conservation

The expedition TREC (TRaversing European Coastlines) is not simply a journey, but a mission with a clear and defined purpose: to understand how marine organisms interact with each other and with their environment at a molecular level. The information collected during this journey will be crucial to understanding and eventually protecting our seas and oceans.

TREC embarks on this adventure with the management of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), in collaboration with the Tara Ocean Foundation, the Tara OceanS Consortium and the European Marine Biology Resource Center (EMBRC). In addition, it has the support of national research institutes, such as the Plentzia Marine Station of the University of the Basque Country.

An Event that Unites the Scientific and Political Community

The official welcome to the expedition took place at the Itsasmuseum Bilbao dock, where Jon Ruigomez, director of Itsasmuseum, and Edith Heard, Director General of EMBL, along with other dignitaries and scientists, expressed their enthusiasm and support for the project.

Romain Troublé, executive director of the TARA Europe Foundation, shared insights about the importance of ocean research and how projects like TREC are vital for marine conservation. Nicolas Pade, executive director of EMBRC – ERIC, and eva ferreira, rector of the UPV/EHU, also contributed their perspective on the importance of international collaboration in marine science.

Bilbao: A Symbolic Starting Point

Bilbao, being the first stop of this scientific expedition on the peninsula, symbolizes a hopeful starting point for this two-year mission. The city, with its rich maritime history and commitment to sustainability and science, represents a beacon of support for initiatives that seek to understand and protect our oceans.

The expedition will embark on a journey that will not only shed light on the mysteries of our oceans, but will also serve as a reminder of the human impact on marine ecosystems and the urgent need to act for their conservation.


The arrival of the TREC expedition to Bilbao marks not only a milestone in marine scientific research, but also a reminder of our collective duty towards ocean conservation. International collaboration, research and action are crucial to understanding and mitigating our impact on marine ecosystems, and projects like TREC are a step forward in this vital direction.


1. What is the main objective of the TREC expedition? The expedition seeks to understand biodiversity and marine ecosystems and the human impact on them, exploring how marine organisms interact at the molecular level.

2. Why was Bilbao chosen as the first stop of the expedition? Bilbao, with its strong maritime history and commitment to science and sustainability, symbolizes an auspicious and supported beginning for TREC's mission.

3. How will the information collected during the TREC expedition be used? The data and insights collected will help scientists and conservationists better understand marine ecosystems and develop strategies for their protection and conservation.

4. Who are the main collaborators and participants in the TREC expedition? TREC is directed by the EMBL and has the collaboration of the Tara Ocean Foundation, the Tara OceanS Consortium, the EMBRC, and the participation of national research institutes such as the Plentzia Marine Station of the UPV/EHU.

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