Scientific activities

ESONET project has started with fragmented disciplinary fields (ocean circulation, climate, biology, seismology, sedimentology, bio-acoustics, geophysics). Some occasional ad-hoc experimented cooperations have been already developed. Enhancement of the integration process and promotion of multi-disciplinarity will be achieved by building bridges between the different actors (scientific and engineering) and between the different workpackages, in order to eventually define the most adapted generic technology and scientific packages. WP3 will organize inter-disciplinary workshops which, by meeting scientific question and technical solutions, will lead to concrete and well-founded proposals for optimally designed observatories.

Scientific objectives

ESONET scientific objectives shall be continuously updated as new results become available, and they shall be further developed and clarified beyond the results of the preceding ESONET projects.

Scientific objectives will be updated by a prominent group of expert scientists reporting to the Scientific Council and to the Strategic Committee. Results and updates will be disseminated to the scientific community in a number of ways: through the organization of workshops, by the regular update of the ESONET Web Site and by an ESONET Newsletter. One major effort of WP3 will be to make sure that everybody within ESONET NoE shares the same level of information regarding the latest technological and scientific developments. At present, a number of regional networks sites have been proposed as prospective ESONET nodes. WP3 will clearly address the question of scientifically based priorities of the sites, in order to avoid dispersion of efforts for structuring the future European Observatory Network. Workshops and forums of discussion will be organized to examine the arguments of each different site and define a long-term strategy for site implementation.

Generic science modules

During the last decades, a continuous effort has been conducted by the academic research, the industry and the military to develop specific technologies for deep sea floor observations, including moorings, boreholes, seismic packages, cameras, optical devices and acoustic systems. Tremendous improvements of specific instrumentation systems have been made and reliability and modularity get better, paving the way for the development of generic technology. For example, the establishment of standard MetOcean measurements on and in the water column in a number of sites will directly contribute to marine climate change monitoring and geohazard and tsunami warning systems.

Thus, development of generic technology shall be achieved while taking into account scientific requirements and needs. This will be done through the production of specifications that clearly rely on ESONET scientific objectives.

Specific science modules

In addition to the generic science modules, some specific modules are needed for monitoring purposes. Their maturity must be evaluated.

The networking activities of ESONET NoE in Europe, the close relationships with industrial companies and underwater monitoring networks in North America and Japan (WP1), associated with standardization activities and quality assessment of instruments (WP2) will indicate new solutions in term of methodology and technology. It will provide opportunities to benefit from specific equipments with limited costs. Some of these equipments, if well suited regarding scientific objectives of ESONET network, will be selected to be implemented on one or two sites (ESONET NoE is not allocated budget for development).

Some examples are given here-below:

  • floats profiling along mooring lines or subsea winches,
  • acoustic monitoring for mammals or fish echosounding from moorings,
  • experiments with “CORK” instrumentation in ODP boreholes,
  • new chemical monitoring using spectrometry (Laser Raman or Mass Spectrometry),
  • high definition television,
  • AUVs operating from docking stations,
  • crawlers,
  • pollution of monitoring sensors,
  • acoustic monitoring of seismic events in the SOFAR channel,
  • new algorithms for Tsunami detection.

Expected outputs are the following:

  • Specify scientific questions and processes (physical, chemical, biological, geological) to be addressed.
  • Define the set of parameters to be measured for each phenomenon of interest and parameters to assist a sustainable management of European seas.
  • Demonstrate the scientific relevance of the collected dataset and the technical feasibility of the proposed methodology.
  • Demonstrate the relevance of the site proposed for implementing the monitoring facility.
  • Propose site and question adapted acquisition method and instrumentation.
  • Disseminate results on the reliability of existing, enhanced or eventually new underwater monitoring components.
  • Demonstration and inter comparison of existing modules on cabled test sites.
  • Specify new generic and site specific scientific modules.