Maritime Forum

Maritime Forum Themes


Progress meeting for ur-EMODNET preparatory actions

Event date:
24/11/2009 - 09:15 to 17:00
Table of Contents

    The aim of the ur-EMODNET progress meeting on 24 November was to monitor progress and to ensure that the different thematic assembly groups of the network had a common understanding of what was required. To help the Commission evaluate the projects, a number of members of the Marine Observation and Expert Group, MODEG, were present. A representative of the Black Sea Commission also provided useful feedback.

    Those present were Jean-François Bourillet (MODEG), Peter Burkill (MODEG), Trine Christiansen (EEA), Simon Claus (Biology), Natalie Coltman (Landscapes), Hans Dahlin (MODEG), Yann-Hervé De Roeck (MODEG), Jean-Noël Druon (JRC), Alessandra Giorgetti (Chemistry), Lars Hansen (MODEG), Francisco Hernandez (Biology), Neil Holdsworth (MODEG), François Le Corre (MODEG), Volodymyr Myroshnychenko (Black Sea Commission), Ilaria Nardello (MODEG), Jacques Populus (Landscapes), Lesley Rickards (Chemistry), Dick Schaap (MODEG), Iain Shepherd (MARE), Lees Vandepitte (Biology), Henry Vallius (MODEG), Matteo Vinci (Chemistry) and Anders Windelin (Chemistry).


    An impact assessment has now been completed and a Communication on marine knowledge will be adopted by the Commission in early 2010. This will cover a wider scope than EMODnet in order to provide stakeholders with a complete view of how the Commission intends to resolve the difficulties with marine data access identified in the public consultation.


    The hydrography lot is proceeding according to plan using the regions defined by VLIZ for the boundaries between seabasins. Each grid in the digital terrain model will include layers for average, minimum and maximum depth as well as standard deviation and the number of survey points

    GEBCO has recently decided to start working on metadata for its data resources. Following the SeaDataNet and EMODNET Hydrography presentation at the GEBCO Bathymetric Science Day (November 2009) it was agreed that acooperation in the field of metadata standards between GEBCO and SeaDataNet would be beneficial. This will be implemented by participation of a number of the EMODNET consortium partners in the GEBCO working group.

    The first portal will be open to the public in May 2010.

    The scale of the coastline mapping is not defined in the specifications and may vary from country to country. It would be useful to establish a standard scale in order to arrive at an agreed list of coastline lengths for EU coastal states.

    The 500 metre resolution for digital terrain modeling built from hydrographic data is not sufficiently fine for most applications but is useful for developing methods and for establishing a working relationship with data suppliers. The sophisticated database for handling topographic data and metadata, being built using Oracle, may be over--sophisticated for the present contract but it will b able to incorporate future developments easily.


    Administrative hold-ups had delayed the start of the geology project but it is now going according to plan. The project will be seamless with the land-focused project One-Geology and uses Geo-Seas standards for metadata. All these are compatible with INSPIRE.

    The difference in sea-bed data types between countries is an issue. Some use sampling, others use remote methods (multibeam etc) with no ground-truthing. Some use a mixture of both. This is of course dependent on the project itself as data are collected for different purposes in different projects. Some ships have multi-beam; other ships single-beam, ROV, still cameras or other different kinds of samplers. Different countries (and institutes) have different traditions. What has most impact is the classification methodology. Data produced using different classification have to be harmonized during the ur-EMODNET. However this was known before the project took place and is being dealt with.

    Draft sediment layers will be produced by February 2010, ahead of schedule, in order to meet the timetable of the marine habitats project. The final versions will be produced in summer 2009 as planned.


    An inventory of data is being collected for the sea-regions in question – North Sea, Mediterranean and Black Sea. In all cases there are far more measurements of nutrients than any other parameter and none have been found so far for pharmaceuticals. The particular parameters chosen were:

    pesticides dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane DDT
      hexachlorobenzene HCB
    anti-foulants tributylin TBT
      triphenyltin TPT
    pharamaceuticals oxytetracycline  
    heavy metals mercury Hg
      cadmium Cd
      lead Pb
    hydrocarbons anthracene  
    radionuclides tritium H3
      caesium 137 Cs137
      plutonium 239 Pu239
    fertilisers nitrate NO3
      phosphate PO4
    organic matter organic carbon C
      organic nitrogen N


    The heterogeneity of the measurements is a major challenge. The DIVA software will be used to generate maps showing spatial distribution of chemicals but it is essential that users can access the original measurements as well with sufficiently detailed metadata, giving confidence to the QA/QC applied (e.g. assessed precision).


    The biological project is based on work done in EurOBIS and the Framework Programme projects MarBEF and BIOMARE. The biological parameters to be monitored have not been chosen yet. This will be done once the inventory is complete and the gap analysis finshed.

    It is a major challenge to geolocate all the observations. Some just indicate "Mediterranean". The number of observations per year peaked in 1995 and descended rapidly thereafter. Two reasons were suggested for this – delay caused by researchers wishing to publish before releasing the data and the break-up of the Soviet Union.

    All were invited to attend a data products workshop on 25 and 26 February in Oostende where a prototype portal will be presented.


    The objective of the broad-scale habitats mapping is sometimes misunderstood. It does not concern the water column and neither does it consider biological species so possibly marine landscape might have been a better title. The aim is to classify the European sea-bed using a standard method and EUNIS classifications for all sea-basins. This would be impossible using survey data so the landscape is deduced from parameters such as sediment type and light reaching the bottom.

    Collecting all the data and deciding which data are most appropriate is a challenge. For instance decisions need to be made as to whether habitats are most affected by the average wave energy or the maximum.

    A first portal will go live in February 2010.


    MODEG agreed to reflect on the presentations and provide comments in their next day's meeting.


    The maritime forum is a growing web-site that is partly open to the public. However stakeholders may login and provide comments. Those engaged in the preparatory actions should register and ask to join the "Ur-EMDNET" group. This will allow them to see more content on the web-site and to upload information about events.

    The URL of the maritime forum is on:

    presentations for this meeting are on

    EMODNET Logos

    Different designs for an EMODNET logo have been proposed. A final choice will be made before Christmas


    The next meeting of the ur-EMODNET preparatory action projects will be 25 May, 2010 in Copenhagen.