A 70,000-mile research voyage around the world has led to the discovery of 1.5 million new species of plankton, among other findings.
"Nobody has ever done this on the scale that we have before," said the project's scientific coordinator, Dr. Chris Bowler. "We will be analyzing results in the lab for a number of years. The task now is to understand the physical and climactic constraints that have created these ecosystems. How much is pollution affecting them, how much is temperature change affecting them?"
The number of plankton species the 15-scientist group found was more than double the amount of species previously known to exist. Bowler also said their research showed more than 50,000 plastic fragments per square mile within the Atlantic alone.
"We thought that areas like the Antarctic were pristine, being isolated, far away from humanity," he told CBS News. "The fact that we found plastic debris down there -- in terms of tens of thousands of pieces -- is very sad, because this will hang around for thousands of years."
ITN News' report on Tara Expeditions's findings, posted Wednesday on You Tube, can be seen below.