Maritime Forum

Maritime Forum Themes


Third meeting of ur-EMODNET thematic assembly groups

Event date:
29/11/2010 - 09:00
Table of Contents

    This was the third joint progress meeting of the ur-EMODnet preparatory actions. It was attended by: The meeting was attended by

    Michael Angelidis UNEPMAP, Audrey Baconnais-Rosez OSPAR, Vittorio Barale EU Commission-JRC, Jean-Marie Beckers MODEG, Sükrü Besiktepe MODEG, Antonio Bode MODEG, Jean-François Bourillet MODEG, Andy Cameron JNCC, Trine Christiansen EEA, Simon Claus MODEG, Natalie Coltman JNCC, David Connor EU Commission ENV, Hans Dahlin MODEG, Gerben de Boer MODEG, Raf Deroo EU Commission DG MARE, Yves Desaubies MODEG, Nic Flemming MODEG, Juliusz Gajewski MODEG, Helen Glaves British Geological Survey, Lars Hansen MODEG, Neil Holdsworth MODEG, David HYDES NOC, Joni Kaitaranta (Helcom),Gaëlle Le Bouler EU Commission DG RTD, Abigail McQuatters Gollop (Sahfos), Cherith Moses MODEG, Volodymyr Myroschnychenko Black Sea Commission, Jacques Populus IFREMER, Lesley Rickards MODEG, Dick Schaap MODEG, Angela Schäfer MODEG, Iain Shepherd EU Commission DG MARE, Stefania Sparnocchia MODEG, Terje Thorsnes MODEG, Vasilis Valavanis MODEG, Henry Vallius MODEG, Leen Vandepitte VLIZ, Matteo Vinci OGS Italy.

    The objective was to review progress in the ur-EMODnet thematic assembly groups and to facilitate better mutual awareness by the project partnerships of work done in their sister partnerships.



    The aim of this project is to collect and distribute data relating to topography – bathymetry, coastlines and underwater objects such as wrecks. The coastline data was obtained directly from the 1:250,000 scale United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Global Self-consistent, Hierarchical, High-resolution Shoreline Database (GSHHS).

    The greatest part of the effort is focusing on providing access to survey metadata and in creating a digital terrain model with quarter of a degree resolution.

    The metadata catalogue of surveys is based on principles developed under the SeaDataNet project. Some of the data are directly downloadable but other data are only available on request from the owner. Requests to all data providers are handled through a common interface.

    Many hydrographic offices prefer to handover digital terrain models generated by themselves to EMOdnet rather than the survey data on which they were based.

    Cooperation with other ongoing mapping exercises is mixed. Agreements with the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO) and the Mediterranean Science Commission (CIESM) have been fruitful. However the large amount of data on UK waters held by the Coastguard Agency and HR Wallingford has not been made available. Discussions are ongoing.

    Significant efforts are being made to tag the digital terrain model with indications of the data's accuracy and origin.

    Clearly a further jump in resolution is required if the data are to meet most users' requirements but a process has now been started that creates a mechanism for the many different data holders to work together.



    The thematic assembly group for geology is building its infrastructure to compatible with both the ther EMODnet group and also the OneGeology Europe effort which is doing similar work for Europe's dry land geology. Nearly all the national geological surveys in the project sea basins are participating so much of the work is in standardizing nomenclature and ensuring continuity across borders.

    Work on sediments was finished early in order to support the work of the seabed habitats team. However work on other layers especially minerals and rates of sedimentation and erosion is proceeding more slowly.

    OSPAR are unable to provide all the data on minerals – oil and gas – that they had used for their quality status report. The Group will ask ICES whether any data that they hold are available,

    The data on rates of sedimentation and erosion is being obtained from models whereas the Experts would have preferred measured data.



    The thematic assembly group on chemistry has succeeded in gathering a considerable amount of data. However much still remains. In some areas, such as the Black Sea, the group managed to gather data from research organizations who monitor the open waters but not from environmental agencies who monitor nearer the coast.  

    Nevertheless it is challenging to provide overall presentations of data that are highly heterogeneous. The approach being tested is to assemble pre-processed views of the data – either as a time series, as a function of distance along the coast or as a set of polygons or grid.

    Information from other lots, particularly sediment grain size is useful as this has an impact on the sediment measurements.



    The Biology lot is based on the EurOBIS database which was an initiative of the MarBEF NoE (Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning Network of Excellence). EurOBIS is one of the regional nodes of OBIS. OBIS  was established by the Census of Marine Life (CoML). The World Register of Marine Species WoRMS is used as a taxonomic backbone for (Eur)OBIS

    Considerable amounts of data have been added to the database since the project began but as is the case with the other thematic groups, some effort is needed to persuade holders of data to release them.

    Following discussions at the previous meeting, work has been done to render the data more amenable to estimates of abundance or biodiversity through standardised descriptions of sample size.

    Some commercial fish are included in the database. However EMODnet is not focusing on fish at this stage of the project in order not to overlap with work ongoing within the Data Collection Framework. It is the Commission's intention to progressively align the two initiatives

    Physical Habitats


    The thematic group for physical habitats has not only produced an extremely useful product – harmonized data layers for physical habitats across the Baltic, North Sea , Celtic and Western Mediterranean but has also acted as testbed for data produced within the EMODnet project and by other providers.

    For instance the analysis has shown that salinity data from MyOcean is rather a coarse resolution, 2km, for purposes of habitat identification. Data is needed near coastlines and in estuaries. Certain relationships – for instance between seabed energy and habitat types and between physical habitats and biological species - need further exploration.

    Great efforts have been made to derive confidence in the map layers. Three different methods have been used. Work to identify stakeholder satisfaction is underway and will be reported in the final report which is due shortly.

    Feedback from Marine Conventions

    presentation from OSPAR

    The four marine conventions attending the meeting praised the work of the thematic assembly groups. There is much work to do but it is on the right track. Points made were that:

    1. The different thematic groups have slightly different approaches. These could be made more consistent
    2. There is a need to improve the process for absorbing new data

    Closing Remarks

    The second interim reports are due shortly. Punctuality is expected. In 2011 the draft final reports are due. These must be delivered in time in order to meet the evaluation schedule.

    Thematic assembly group

    Deadline for draft final report


    25 March 2011

    hydrography 2

    27 May 2011 (first interim report)


    16 May 2011


    6 April 2011


    15 March 2011


    27 May 2012 (first interim report)

    The next meeting will be held in early June 2011