ESONET - European Seas Observatory NETwork. Network of Excellence (NoE). Periodic activity report : revision #1

Type Contract report
Date 2008-07-04
Language English
Ref. Project contract n°036851
Author(s) Puillat IngridORCID1, Rolin Jean-Francois1, Person Roland1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Ifremer, France
Abstract The Network of Excellence ESONET started on 1st March 2007. The kick off meeting was held in Brest on 21-22-23 March 2007.
Long term monitoring of environmental processes related to ecosystem life and evolution, global changes and geohazards, is now recognized as a necessary by the scientific community. To better understand geophysical, biogeochemical, oceanographic and biological active phenomena scientists need long time series of data coming from the deep sea and the seafloor at key provinces in the world. The objective of ESONET NoE is to prepare at European level the implementation of a network of deep sea observatories around Europe.

The structures of ESONET have been constructed during the first year through the main meetings (Kick off meeting & All Regions Workshop n°1 (WP1), Bremen Best Practices Workshop (WP2) and Training workshop (WP7)) and the first call for Demonstration missions (WP4 & 3). Integrating groups have been constituted across these different events and activities for Esonet nodes, Interoperability and standardisation issues, data management, industry and SMEs... The associated main conclusion are following:

During the Kick off and General Assembly held in Brest in 21, 22, 23 March 2007, Esonet objectives have been presented and the need for integration actions have been highlighted. Eight thematic parallel sessions were organized in order to launch the networking (about EMSO, EUROSITES,…), seven parallel sessions launched the WP. It was accompanied by talks by reference speakers, members of the Steering Committee, and EC officer.
The first ESONET All Regions Workshop has been organised in Barcelona by CSIC and remotely by IPGP and IFREMER from 5th until 7th of September 2007. This workshop allowed for a presentation of each prospective node and all the proposals for Demonstration missions. We also invited senior representatives of the principal internationally sea observatory initiatives (USA, Canada and Japan), to give talks on both science and technological aspects. The meeting lasted 2 ½ days and we devoted two sessions to panel discussions on scientific and technological issues. The meeting was successful, with over 112 attendants from 53 partner institutes and SMEs.
The identification of at least a contact person for each prospective node of the ESONET observatory network has been conducted during this meeting. These contact persons will serve as the seed for the constitution of the future regional entities for each observatory site. Some regional groups are almost completed, especially when a demonstration mission has been selected. The group constitution should have been enhanced by the exchange of personnel foreseen during the first year, but even if a general call has been launched no true answer has been received. Indeed the community started to show its real interest in exchanging personnel only after the demonstration mission selection. As a corrective action a general and structured call for personnel exchange is underway.

The “Best practises” workshop has been structured into 5 sessions that covered interfacing, underwater intervention, data management, scientific demands and existing infrastructure issues. For each session the corresponding group has been built up and are working on their topic. The idea is to make efficient use of existing knowledge and come up with concepts that are sustainable within future observatory infrastructures.
ESONET is striving to play a strong role in the field of standardisation and interoperability. This applies not only on the data but also on the device level. The goal is rather ambitious but by focussing on some topics a template can be given for other areas. This approach has been persistent through all 5 sessions.

General conclusion:
During the discussions it became obvious that a common vocabulary has to be established at least for the most basic terms. Two examples shall be given. The first is about the definition of the term observatory:
“Observatory is a permanent infrastructure providing a certain number of services to underwater instruments, allowing their long term operation. The list of services includes: energy supply, data transmission to/from shore or to/from a vessel, time distribution, etc.”
With this definition it should be clear how observatories differ from stations or moorings dedicated to time series. It is the service aspect that is most important to observatory systems. Within data management there is the idea of a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) which actually means that standard data services are made available to the user community. This concept has to be transferred down to the hardware level.
The second example is about the definition of Best Practices:
“Best Practices can be defined as the most efficient (least amount of effort) and effective (best results) way of accomplishing a task, based on repeatable procedures that have proven themselves over time for large numbers of people. Best Practices have evolved from benchmarking”
This definition describes why Best Practices are important for observatories. With a shared use of a permanent infrastructure a consensus has to be achieved on how to operate service and maintain the infrastructure. However, Best Practices are not meant as a static but a rather an evolutionary concept which means that certain procedures are improved over time.

Specific conclusions:
 As a conclusion from the session on instrument qualification it has been stated that instrument qualification can be achieved by defining procedures, interfaces, and related workflows for this process. Best practices means in this case to map existing procedures from other domain into ocean sciences. For quality assurance and control this means to formalise and assure the implementation of the following steps (design, testing, integration, installation and commissioning of the according system).
The concept of the sensor registry and interface standardisation are the key issues to make the observatory interoperable. The registry delivers the necessary information to set up web services that allow for the implementation of an interoperable, service ori¬ented architecture. A similar approach will be pursued for other registries like for testing facilities.
In this context also the ISO 17025 standard for calibration of laboratory instruments will be evaluated.
 For the session on underwater intervention different tasks have been identified to efficiently enhance interoperability in future observatory underwater intervention. The results will be the basis of the specification report for subsea intervention.
 The following has been concluded for the data management session:
1. A conceptual flow chart for ESONET Data Management has been defined
2. Three working groups with distinct but related objectives in order to recommend best practices to the Data Management Council has been created.
3. A calendar of tasks has been defined.

 As a conclusion for the scientific needs in regard to generic and specific instrument packages the following points have been identified:
 There is a need to compile recommendations from other programs, create a survey, and to write a report with the expert groups recommendations regarding an SSP (standard scientific package).
 Compile standard sensor related information from other programs., .

 With existing infrastructures like the ANTARES and NEMO/SN1 observatories in the Mediterranean Sea a work plan as a Best Practices recommendation has been developed that take the following issues into account:
 installation work for deep sea systems
 maintenance needs;
- bio fouling cleaning;
- corrosion status check for some sensors;
- cabling system check;
 reliability and continuity needs in terms of data recording/transmission.
 vulnerability against external fault causes;
 environnemental contrains/installation permit;
 availability of a shore station close to the deployment point.

It has to be kept in mind that ESONET is not an isolated activity but has to be seen as one component of the in situ ocean observation system. ARGO with its 3000 floats deployed is operational since 2003 and is already contributing water column data regularly to the ocean science community. It is obvious that future ocean observatories which has a focus on processes in the deep sea has to coordinate their data sharing policy with other programs like ARGO, MERSEA/MYOCEAN and the newly started EuroSites project.

ESONET NoE, according to the DoW, supports also pilot experiments at sea and site surveys that help to define the monitoring strategies and the most appropriate parameters to be measured in order to meet the scientific objectives. The pilot experiment are implemented in the Demonstration Missions (DMs). DMs are considered means to strengthen the integration process of the ESONET NoE scientific and technological community bringing at high level of excellence the technology at different development phases, implementing the standardisation and interoperability of the different platforms from the consortium. DMs are also aimed at acquiring relevant scientific time-series. They will be an input for integrated studies, common workshops and a raw material to demonstrate the integration of data management.
Four DM proposals were approved for funding in January 2008:
1. MARMARA-DM : The goal of the present demonstration mission is to contribute to the establishment of optimized permanent seafloor observatory stations for earthquake monitoring in the Marmara Sea, as part of ESONET NoE.
The Marmara Sea (MS) offers the ideal location for seafloor seismogenic observations directed towards risk assessment, because of the following reasons:
• High deformation rates (20 mm/y) resulting in active submarine processes that are measurable on short time scales,
• more than 15 millions people are under the threat of seismogenic hazard in the whole Marmara Region.
• Numerous fluid vents and related features have been discovered along the MS fault system. The MS is thus a unique area to test hypothesis on the relations between strike-slip deformation, seismic activity, fluid flow and gas expulsion within the active fault zone.
• logistics are favored by the proximity to the coastlines (only 5 to 30 km), which make cost-effective and realistic the establishment of permanent seafloor observatories.
2. LIDO DM: LIDO (Listening to the Deep Ocean environment) proposes to establish a first nucleus of a regional network of multidisciplinary sea observatories by associating 2 Esonet regions for the long-term monitoring of earthquakes and tsunamis and the characterisation of ambient noise induced by marine mammals (Bioacoustics) and anthropogenic noise.
3. The MoMAR-D (Monitoring of Mid Atlantic Ridge) project will address all the tasks connected to the implementation of a sear observatory:
• To study the temporal variability of active processes such as hydrothermalism, ecosystem dynamics, volcanism, seismicity and ground deformation.
• To deploy a multidisciplinary acoustically linked observing system, with satellite connection to shore,
• To integrate the partners’ observation means around an existing and proven, non cabled, long term sub sea monitoring infrastructure.
• To demonstrate the overall management of this system during 1 month even if its operation will actually continue during 12 months.
4. LOOME DM (Long term Observation On Mid volcano Eruption) is a networking action for the long-term observation of a major site of methane emission from the deep European margin, the Håkon Mosby Mud Volcano (HMMV). The HMMV is a cold seep ecosystem located on the SW Barents Sea slope off Norway, in an area with a history of seabed slides and tsunamis, and under exploitation for hydrocarbon resources and fisheries. The Barents Sea slope is a target area for sustainable management and monitoring of global change effects. A main goal of the project is the integration of existing technology to establish in a first phase an autonomous non-cabled observatory dedicated to the seafloor seismicity, sedimentology (temperature and pore pressure measurements), chemical profiling, sonar detection of gas flares, methane measurements and bottom water hydrography, together with the study of colonization patterns, community structure and biodiversity.

The main problem encountered for this activity was due to the delay in reviewing the proposal by some referee. As corrective action three new reviewers have been charged to the review. This has no major consequence on the selected proposals.

This work package utilizes and builds on the outputs of the ESONIM SSA which final report has been delayed. As a consequence the Economic implementation models activity incurred a similar delay but a WP5 meeting has been especially organized in March 2008 in order to speed up the actions. As result the corresponding deliverable is postponed to month 18 instead of 12. This is not a critic situation as EMSO PP officially started at mid April 2008.
This work package is also in charge of the joint reply to infrastructure initiatives, as a result two projects have been selected for funding, one lead by CSIC and one lead by NERSC. A significant effort has been driven to prepare the EMSO PP proposal that has been selected too.
The long term funding strategy is strongly linked with the socio economic considerations: links are reinforced with petroleum companies like (Statoil, BP) and SMEs are represented by the PESOS group.

The main objective of outreach and training is the development and support of comprehensive interdisciplinary programs for research, education and public outreach and strengthen educational possibilities for students of all ages.
The first educational and training workshop was held from 27th to 28th January 2007 at Jacobs University Bremen (JUB), where some 18 ESONET students and 12 ESONET lecturers participated.
Three used computer terminals were purchased, newly painted and equipped with 30 m of internet cable and a web cam, which can be deployed into an aquarium at three European aquaria of high public attractiveness.
An issue of "ESONET News” (WP6) - Europeans observe the deep sea" was produced every 3 months. It was prepared in digital form and distributed to a large mailing list. Each issue, with 8 pages, was also printed to be distributed in international meetings

After one year, ESONET community is recognized at national, European and international level for instance through invitation in seminars.The activity of promotion of the long term commitments on subsea observatory infrastructure have lead to the submission and the negotiation of an ESFRI supported Infrastructure FP7 project: EMSO (European Multidisciplinary Seas Observation) Preparatory Phase. Thanks to the joint efforts of ESONET for networking tasks and EMSO PP for infrastructure preparation, one may be confident that the necessary commitments for the construction of subsea observatories in Europe will reach the decision phase.
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Puillat Ingrid, Rolin Jean-Francois, Person Roland (2008). ESONET - European Seas Observatory NETwork. Network of Excellence (NoE). Periodic activity report : revision #1. Project contract n°036851.