Caring about the future

HERMIONE - Hotspot Ecosystem Research and Man’s Impact on European Seas
CESAM Responsible researcher - Marina R. Cunha
Programme - European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme, ENV.2008. Deep-sea Ecosystems. Contract nº 226354
Execution dates - 2009-04-01 - 2012-09-30 (42 Months)
Funding Entity - EU - FP7
Funding for CESAM - 90722 €
Proponent Institution - NERC-NOCS, UK
Participating Institutions
Universidade de Aveiro
NERC-NOCS, UK; IFREMER, France; NIOZ, The Netherlands; Univ. Barcelona, Spain; HCMR, Greece; IFM-GEOMAR, Germany; CNR-ISMAR, Italy; AWI, Germany; Univ. Tromso, Norway; National Univ. Ireland, Ireland; Friedrich-Alexander Univ. Nurenberg-Erlangen, Germany; Univ Gent, Belgium; CSIC, Spain; CoNISMa-ULR Ancona, Italy; MPG Germany; CNRS, France; IH, Portugal; Jacobs Univ., Germany; MARUM, Germany; Cardiff Univ, UK; IMR, Norway; Goeteborgs Univ, Sweden; Univ Southampton, UK; KNAW-NIOO CEME, The Netherlands; Univ Aberdeen, UK; Univ Liverpool, UK; SAMS, UK; Univ. Pierre et Marie Curie, France; IORAS, Russia; UNEP_WCMC, UK; Univ Açores, Portugal; MEDIAN, Spain; ArchimediX, Germany;
UThessaly, Greece; Univ. College Cork, Ireland; NMAPlymouth, UK; Aquario di Genova, Italy;

Project Description

The Hermione Project sets out to investigate ecosystems at critical sites on Europe's deep-ocean margin. Even these remote areas are being affected by man, either through the indirect effects of climate or directly through exploitation of deep-sea resources. Urgent questions need to be addressed such as what will be the impact of climate change on deep-sea ecosystems? What changes are expected in deep-sea ecosystem functioning? How do species interconnect between isolated communities? What are the direct effects of man's impact and how can we adapt or mitigate these so as to use oceans in a sustainable manner? Answering these questions will require complex experiments combined with long-term monitoring of sensitive environments. This project will address issues raised in the EC foresight document "The Deep-Sea Frontier Science challenges for a sustainable future". HERMIONE will build on the success of previous projects such as HERMES but will tackle new areas, for example to provide essential information on ecosystem dynamics at potentiaç long-term observatory sites, and in Arctic areas where climate change will be more pronounced. Other topics of interest include cold water cascading in the Mediterranean, driven by cold winter winds that may lose their impacts as climate warms, leading to reduced ventilation of deep Mediterranean waters. In addition, we need to investigate seamounts as potential areas of high biodiversity that are under threat from bottom trawling and we also need to relate the cold seep communities to those living in hot vents on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.Four key scientific objectives have been identified. These follow a logical progression from investigating the physical dimensions of ecosystems, to understanding how they function and interconnect, to studying how they are impacted by man, and how this project can contribute to their conservation: 1) to investigate the dimensions, distribution and interconnectivity of deep-sea ecosystems; 2) to understand changes in deep-sea ecosystems related to key factors including climate change, human impacts and large-scale episodic events; 3) to understand the biological capacities and specific adaptations of deep-sea organisms, and investigate the importance of biodiversity in the deep-water ecosystem functioning and 4) to provide stakeholders and policy makers with scientific knowledge to support deep-sea governance aimed at the sustainable management of resources and the conservation of ecosystems

Project webpage

CESAM members on this project
Ana Hilário
Henrique Queiroga
Luciana Génio
Post-Doc Grant holder


CESAM Funding: UIDP/50017/2020 + UIDB/50017/2020 + LA/P/0094/2020