AlterECO 2

Long term monitoring off Dogger bank in the North Sea by NOC, UEA and SAMS gliders

  • Public Mission
  • Inactive
  • PI: Matthew Palmer
  • Part of AlterECO
  • Began on 2018-02-07 (163 days ago)
  • Last Updated 2018-07-20 03:53:47
  • Ongoing

AlterEco aims to develop improved capability for measurement and monitoring of marine ecosystem functioning and environmental status on shelf seas through the delivery of a modular experimental framework centred on marine autonomous systems, specifically submarine gliders and surface Wavegliders.

To develop a comprehensive understanding of ecosystem functioning, and subsequently environmental or ecological status, requires an understanding of natural physical, chemical, and physiographic factors integrated with anthropogenic impacts and activities. Ecosystem stressors however range from inter-annually varying, large-scale hydro-climatic forcing to the microbial food web, complicated by a continual interaction of physical-biogeochemical interactions, and so holistic assessment is practically impossible. There are however numerous key parameters that provide valuable insight into the stressors on and consequences of ecosystem health that have led to attempts to describe environmental status. The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), for example, describes environmental status using 11 descriptors, 29 criteria and 56 indicators, which member states refer to for assessment of marine waters and good environmental status (GES). EU Member State budgets for monitoring are however tightly squeezed and so statutory monitoring must deliver maximum insight into environmental status with minimum expenditure. This constraint has led to a general focus on individual statutory indicators rather than the required combination of descriptors that enable holistic assessment (Borja et al, 2013), a reality that is similarly replicated for OSPAR and WFD statutory requirements.

Much of our current understanding of shelf sea ecosystem function is dependent on fixed point observations and cost-limited ship surveys, bolstered by sporadic research projects that are often limited to single process studies. These traditional methods struggle to provide a comprehensive understanding of the interaction between stressors on ecosystem functioning that are required to effectively assess ecosystem health. A new approach is required that employs more cost-effective methods to regularly monitor key parameters over large areas of UK shelf seas such that the mechanistic functioning of ecosystems can be understood and environmental and ecological status assessed. This project aims to address this with the following key deliverables; i) to utilise the latest autonomous technology to provide high temporal and spatial resolution of meso and sub-mesoscale processes to better understand the impacts of inter-annual variability on the functioning of the shelf sea ecosystem, ii) to provide the tools necessary for informing operational forecast models of the stressors on and consequences of the environmental status of shelf seas, which together will provide iii) a modular, integrated framework for an efficient, diagnostic monitoring regime for continental shelf seas that is globally transferable.

Vehicle Activity

Vehicle Deployed Recovered Last Update
sg510 (Orca) 2018-02-07 (163 days ago) None 2018-07-20 03:53:47 (about 1 hour ago) No Public Data Available
Stella 2018-02-07 (163 days ago) by scaw 2018-05-08 (73 days ago) by scaw ‐ End of Mission 2018-05-08 12:41:43 (73 days ago) No Public Data Available
OMG-1 2018-03-07 (135 days ago) by micsmart None 2018-05-09 14:37:17 (72 days ago) No Public Data Available
sg620 (Melonhead) 2018-02-08 (162 days ago) by scaw None 2018-07-11 15:57:08 (9 days ago) No Public Data Available

cefas noc pml sams uea uliverpool