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WP8 Infrastructure & Synergies
WP leader: Angelo De Santis, INGV, Italy
The deep seafloor is our main source to discover and reconstruct the climate change history and its effects on the ecosystems. The successful discovery and scientific achievement are strongly dependent on the availability, accessibility and novelty of the ocean technology and infrastructures and thus requires the continuous innovation in marine engineering and knowledge transfer from a wide range of technical disciplines such as robotics, communications, energy to scientists, and then to policymakers.
Marine technology has strongly evolved over the past decades and has been offering Science new tools to achieve advances. As example, deep-sea vehicles (ROVs, AUVs, crawlers, etc.) are now key tools for the exploration of the deep ocean realms as well as drill ships (see WP7 above), which can provide long records into the past. With DV Chikyu, the scientific community has a platform of industry-standard, which is capable of Riser coring and which hosts various biological and geochemical ultra-clean laboratories (www.jamstec.go.jp/chikyu/eng/index.html). Moreover, since developments in industry run in parallel, the science community has benefited from a mature industrial supplier base and has been able to progress towards greater depth and higher reliability regarding new sensor systems for physical, chemical and oceanographic in situ measurements. In this regard, the recent development of long-term, multi-parameter seafloor observatories has replied to a major challenge - the acquisition of long-tem time series in deep waters – which in essence represents the fourth dimension to what academic research has established as a 3D understanding of the biosphere and geosphere. The fourth dimension, i.e. temporal variability, is critical for many processes affecting ecosystems and life on Earth, for instance the episodicity of fluid flow, rates of active tectonics, recurrence intervals of seismic hazards and landslides, and ecosystem life cycles.
Specifically, the European scientific community for long-term observation and state-of-the-art deep-sea technology has been involved in several important initiatives in FP6 and will continue to under FP7. Development of European seafloor observatories with multi-disciplinary capabilities has been pioneered under the EC-funded GEOSTAR project. Recent major technical advances have been made in the EC projects ASSEM and ORION-GEOSTAR-3 (a deep-sea geophysical, oceanographic and environmental network; see OMARC report) and EXOCET/D. Experience in underwater cable connection by submersibles and ROVs has been gained by the deployment of neutrino arrays in the Mediterranean, such as NESTOR (Ionian Sea SW of Peloponnesus, Greece), ANTARES (Ligurian Sea, off Toulon, France), and NEMO (Ionian Sea, East of Sicily, Italy). Larger European projects addressed deep seafloor observatory networks, presently represented by the FP6/FP7 NoE ESONET and FP7 EMSO projects. ESONET NoE helps the networking and integration of scientific and technological approaches to establishing multidisciplinary deep-water cabled observatories at various temporal and spatial scales around Europe from the Arctic Sea to the Black Sea. In parallel with ESONET, the EMSO-PP project (European Multidisciplinary Seafloor Observatory - Preparatory Phase) will study, select and establish the governance and the management structure, and will analyse the costs of developing and maintenance of the EMSO European Research Infrastructure, listed in the ESFRI roadmap. Finally, important international research programmes already exist in North America (NEPTUNE cabled network) and Japan (DONET cabled network), and collaboration with these programmes has been established already to allow cross-fertilisation of ideas and technological approaches and strengthen and coordinate the role of European experts in this field.
The DS3F proposal will contribute to set the preconditions to fulfil the crucial technological and infrastructure needs of the deep-seafloor scientific community. In particular, WP8 Infrastructure & Synergies (in situ measurements, observatory science, data base) will favour the cooperation and synergy of the major Infrastructure Stakeholders and Deep Seafloor Scientific Community in Europe within the DS3F initiative, and the elaboration of guidelines for the infrastructure development, access and utilisation in relations to: - ships and research vessels (together with WP7), deep-sea vehicles and equipment - drilling facilities (i.e. borehole monitoring; see WP7) - long-term observatories/platforms for in situ measurements (threshold and continuous). In addition, WP8 will assist in the development of advanced seafloor sampling technologies (rocks, sediments, fluids, microbiota) and the efficient use of European infrastructure (research vessels run by governmental funding in various countries, local networks, etc.; see e.g. EUROFLEETS) for a sustainable study of deep-sea and subseafloor ecosystems.
List of WP8 participants (Level 3)