ESONET - European Seas Observatory NETwork. Network of Excellence (NoE). Periodic activity report : version #1 30 June 2009

During the first year, the main ESONET working groups were constituted at WP level and the core groups of each ESONET node were initiated with varying progress. The related activities were starting in WPs and in some regions but not all. Consequently the main general objectives of this 2nd reported period were: - to increase the level of integration on regional nodes by encouraging the involvement of the partners associated with nodes to participate in ESONET activities, for instance by encouraging the submission of proposals for the 2nd call for demo missions. - to encourage the level of integration across ESONET nodes, for instance by preparing a more formal call for exchange of personnel. WP leaders also made efforts to increase participation in their WP activities. - to stabilise the constituted groups by starting the preparation of a permanent structure (VISO) and involving core services, stakeholders and private companies… - to develop long-term strategy on standards implementation. - to update recent advances in marine research, to garner individual inputs from subject experts with ESONET NoE and elsewhere, as well as to investigate science priorities of various organizations from regional to international levels. ESONET activities were amplified during these second year. Preliminary results from different working groups were presented during the second General Assembly in FARO (Oct 2008).  Main achievement regarding integration on ESONET regions (nodes): Jointly WP1 and WP5 created a questionnaire to gather information on existing site survey data, on infrastructure requirements, and on the names of persons in charge of various aspects of planning observatory experiments at each observatory node. Then the compilation of answers and already existing scattered information were used to nominate people into each regional implementation committee, in addition to the two node coordinators, which were nominated at an earlier stage. This summarises the second step towards core group constitution for the ESONET nodes. This stage was successful if we consider that 9 nodes react and that other nodes will be further encouraged to react before the Second All Regions workshop (Oct 2009). This reporting period has seen particular progress regarding the Arctic and Ligurian nodes, and the Call for Demonstration Missions (WP4) has provided an efficient tool for this progress. For the Arctic node, two separate teams had submitted independent Demo-Missions proposals (ARCOONE and MASOX). The ESONET Steering Committee recommended that these two proposals be merged and the resulting project resubmitted to the second call for demonstration Mission (see WP4 report). Following submission and selection of this unified Demo-Mission project, an Arctic workshop was been organised by NIOZ in Texel (Netherlands) the 18-19 Feb. 2009. This workshop involved more than 50 participants and was supported by ESONET. More information can be found on Six demonstrations missions were selected through 2 internal calls (WP4, 2007-2009):  LOOME is monitoring the Hakon Mosby mud volcano;  LIDO demonstrates the interest of acoustic monitoring for geophysical and biological issues on Iberian and East Sicily sites;  MOMAR-DM will implement an autonomous acoustically linked observatory with 2 nodes on active hydrothermal site;  MARMARA-DM will prepare the implementation of an multidisciplinary observatory in the MARMARA Sea;  MODOO in conjunction with EuroSITES, will implemented a pseudo real time monitoring of the water column and of the seabed at the PAP site;  MASOX and ARCOONE were merged and will enhance current monitoring and prepare for the implementation of an Arctic multidisciplinary observatory, which includes the Hausgarten site. The selection of those 6 demonstrations mission is directly enhancing the integration at seven ESONET nodes. For the Ligurian site, the calls for Demo-Mission projects also played a positive role for building the community. The project proposed for this node (MOTTO, 2nd Call of WP4) was not selected for ESONET funding, but the community involved at this node is now clear. Consequently, the regional implementation groups are now defined for each ESONET site and will contribute to the constitution of the Regional Legal Entities planned in EMSO-PP.  Main achievement regarding integration across ESONET regions: A formal call for exchange of personnel between the ESONET members involved in various nodes was launched in September 2008 for a deadline in November 2008. Sixteen proposals were collected. These proposals involve 17 partners altogether, for visits of 2 days to 10 months. Seven projects have a strong methodology and/or technical component. The other projects are focused on observatory science. The selected demonstration missions also participate to across nodes integration: for instance LIDO is acting on Iberian, Sicilian nodes but also on Ligurian one. Most of the partners involved in one node for a demonstration mission are also involved in another. In this way, as well as through the relevant WP leaders, communication and standardization issues will be reinforced.  Stabilisation of the constituted groups: preparation of a permanent structure (VISO) The necessity to establish a permanent structure to sustain ESONET NoE is now well understood by the ESONET community and the preparation of a Virtual Institute (VISO) is on the way. Indeed a workshop is organised in June 2009 in Tromsø (Norway). The VISO Steering Committee is formed, the meeting facilities are booked, and the draft agenda is approved. An invitation to the hydrocarbon industry is pending for participation. Norwegian regional observatory initiatives were linked and a national strategy for observatory sites was implemented including a website.  Development of long-term strategy on standards implementation A preliminary structure of the ESONET data management plan is available. The data management group consisting of representatives from ESONET demonstration sites, Ifremer, WDC-MARE, EuroSITES and SeaDataNet continues to refine it. The ESONET data and information portal is opened and will be extended by information inventories from further tasks. The ESONET Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI), based on OGC standards has an initial design in place and continues to be developed. (WP1b) The contribution to sensor interoperability (WP2) and to the sensor registry is focussing on electrical interface issues as described in standards like IEEE 1451, CanOpen or other field bus systems. Typically weekly telephone conferences with partners from ESONET and interested institutions in Europe (IFREMER, University of Barcelona, Kiel University, University of Aberdeen, Bremen University) and from international institutions (MBARI, NIST, OGC, NEPTUNE Canada) are held to discuss and promote developed concepts. - Specification reports for demonstration actions have been issued concerning sensor interoperability, quality assurance, underwater intervention procedures (WP2). - Two reports on sharing testing facilities were prepared. - Some partners of ESONET are participating to GEOSS activities. Use of deep-sea observatories for specific thematic areas will be add to the GEO roadmap. Many reports were produced (sounds a little vague) and their recommendations will be applied to the six demonstration missions, which are running.  Update of recent advances in marine research In the framework of the WP3 scientific objectives were updated taking in account all major science areas and recent scientific issues in marine science associated to time-series and observatory research. This was performed, in part, in the framework of the scientific objectives workshop held in Faro in October 2008 attended by a prominent group of expert scientists from different EU projects, reporting to the Scientific Council and to the Strategic Committee. To ascribe the development of generic technology to the scientific requirements ESONET is working to design the science modules: a generic one for commonly used instruments in marine science, like a CTD, and the specific ones that are specific to a research field to be added as needed to meet the science objectives. This year a provisional generic science module was specified so that the specifications could be available to other work packages for data management (WP1), interoperability (WP2) and implementation strategy (WP5) concerns. The availability of rather specialised sensors, sensor systems, and platforms have been investigated and documented, but because there are now many systems being used in deep-sea international research, regular updates will be done.  Implementation strategies Implementation strategies are now well advanced (WP5). Implementation is considered for 2 kinds of observatories/sites, corresponding to the two WP5 working groups – Generic Cable site and Standalone site. An initial report to EMSO on implementation strategies has been submitted and the first meeting of ESONET NoE and EMSO took place. Other reports are available contributing to the various aspects of the implementation strategies: cooperation between research organizations, cooperation between organizations involved in developing technologies, and links with commercial companies. A Legal, Ethical & Environmental (LEE) database has been set up to assemble the relevant legal and best practice documents (International, EU, national, local). It also provides a homogeneous atlas describing the ESONET sites and all parameters needed for environmental assessment and permits (WP1 & WP5). A meeting with the oil industry was held in Brussels on November 26th 2008. The agenda of the meeting was to identify common areas of interests (geographical, scientific or technical domains). Twenty-six participants attended the meeting, including representatives of the EC, ESONET NoE and EMSO PP, Shell, BP, Total, DELOS, including the Coordination Team. The link between ESONET and MyOcean Marine core services of GMES was enhanced as P. Bahurel was invited to join the ESONET General assembly meeting held in Faro. An outline of activities and links with GMES are incorporated in the Core Services Report. The coordination team wrote a support document that will be presented to the core services: MyOcean project for the Marine core service and PREVIEW project for the Emergency Response Core Service. WP3 has also begun a dialog with members of the Marine Core Service team focused on working towards identifying the ESONET and EMSO potential contributions to the GMES organization.  Communication and outreach Three issues of ESONEWS letter were prepared and broadly distributed. Most of the partners are regularly participating in high level conferences and outreach events. A great list of bibliographic references is claimed under ESONET (see annex of the report). The ESONET-NoE public outreach network consists of 3 aquaria (Lisbon, Brest, Heraklion) that will inform and educate the public with regard to ESONET-NoE goals and scientific and technological achievements. Web cameras are already installed. A web-portal for school age users is online. Several outreach and training activities are offered: Outreach pages are translated into 14 EU languages. The system is online and embedded into the ESONET Education pages. The main ESONET web site has been improved:  Main problems met and solutions undertaken The importance and diversity of activities carried out within the WP1 led to the split between a new WP1 devoted to regional integration and exchange of personnel and WP9 dedicated to data management. Conclusion This report reviews the activities of the Network of Excellence ESONET after two years of existence. More than 381 people (215 researchers, 134 engineers and technicians, 32 students) participated in this second year activities of the network. This number will further grow in the coming months with the selection of two new demonstration missions (MODOO and MASOX-ARCOONE) and the possibility for associate members to participate in the networked activities. The first year was mainly devoted to the launching of the network and the resolutions of the many administrative and operational issues raised by partners about the operation of a network of excellence. Most of them, despite having participated in projects Europeans were unaware of the specific contract needs of a network of Excellence. This induced some delays in the launching of a limited number of activities while most of the activities were conducted as planned. Delays, which occurred in the first year have been eliminated and all the deadlines in the contract are met. Indeed, the start of demonstration missions during the first years has greatly boosted the network. All DMs contribute to the activities of all WPs. Exchanges of personnel proposed are mainly related to a demonstration mission. At a wider level than the ESONET Community, the observatories initiatives are assembling through a word wide International Association of Sub-Sea Observatory Operators (IASSOO) and an agreement is circulating between NEPTUNE Canada, OOI, and DONET for signature.

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Puillat Ingrid, Lietard Cecile, Rolin Jean-Francois, Person Roland (2009). ESONET - European Seas Observatory NETwork. Network of Excellence (NoE). Periodic activity report : version #1 30 June 2009. Ref. Project contract n°036851.

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