Caring about the future

EMSO-PT - European Multidisciplinary Seafloor Observatory - Portugal
Coordinator - Miguel Miranda
CESAM Responsible researcher - Marina R. Cunha
Programme - Portugal 2020
Execution dates - 2017-07-01 - 2021-12-31 (54 Months)
Funding Entity - FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia; FEDER - Fundo Europeu de Desenvolvimento Regional
Funding for CESAM - 253787 €
Total Funding - 9018838 €
Proponent Institution - Instituto Português do Mar e da Atmosfera (IPMA)
Participating Institutions
Universidade de Aveiro
Universidade de Lisboa
Agência Regional para o Desenvolvimento da Investigação, Tecnologia e Inovação (ARDITI)
Centro de Ciências do Mar (CCMAR), UAlg
Centro de Investigação Tecnológica do Algarve (CINTAL)
Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental (CIIMAR)
Estrutura de Missão para a Extensão da Plataforma Continental (EMEPC)
Fundação da Faculdade de Ciencias da Universidade de Lisboa (FFCUL)
Fundação Gaspar Frutuoso
Centro de Ciências do Mar e do Ambiente (IMAR)
Instituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores, Tecnologia e Ciência (INESC-TEC)
Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto (ISEP)
Universidade da Beira Interior (UBI)
Universidade de Évora (UÉvora)
Universidade do Porto (UP)

Project Description

The deep-sea floor ecosystem, one of the largest on the planet, is poorly monitored. Challenges related to direct or indirect anthropogenic actions can only be dealt with if long lasting seafloor and water column observatories networks of biotic and abiotic sensors are deployed to allow for continuous monitoring of the ocean. Worldwide, several initiatives address deep-ocean and water column monitoring (DONET-Japan; Neptune-US, Neptune-Canada). EMSO is the European initiative that contributes to this global system. It is already an ERIC (European Research Infrastructure Consortium) approved by the EU in 2016 and Portugal is one of its five funding members. EMSO is a large-scale European Research Infrastructure, networking fixed point, deep sea multidisciplinar observatories, with the scientific objective of real-time, long-term monitoring of environmental processes related to the interaction between the geosphere, biosphere, and hydrosphere. It is a geographically distributed infrastructure at key sites in European waters, spanning the Arctic, the Atlantic, and the Mediterranean, up to the Black Sea. It Will be in place by the end of the decade.

EMSO identifies eight main scientific questions where advances are foreseen:1) Dynamics of tectonic plates and magmatic systems; 2) Climate and greenhouse gas cycling; 3) Ocean productivity and ocean dynamics;4) Marine mammal and fish stocks;5) Non-renewable marine resources; 6) Episodes, events and catastrophes;7) Origins and limits of life;8) marine ecosystems dynamics. All these topics are dependent on long-term, continuous observations, able to capture significant episodes as they occur.

So far, the Portuguese participation in EMSO has been focused on the Azores and Cadiz nodes, in cooperation with France (Azores) and Italy (Cadiz) using two of the few available technological solutions for long term seafloor monitoring (ASSEM and GEOSTAR). The ultimate goal of EMSO-PT is to organize the Portuguese contribution to the EMSO network. In the mainland, two sites will be considered, one deep (Cadiz) and another shallow (North Portugal). The site to be developed in North Portugal will be a test bench for emerging monitoring strategies. In the Azores, two main areas have been the focus of EMSO-PT: LuckyObs, mainly driven by the French colleagues and the CondorObs focused on seamount ecosystems. EMSO-PT observatories will merge “off-the-shelf” technology, which will ensure that they will meet the International standards, with novel approaches (based on networked, autonomous observation platforms) that will contribute to more sustainable monitoring operations and will create the basis for the development of new marine products and services, creating value and qualified jobs.

EMSO is the sub-sea segment of COPERNICUS. An open data policy compliant with the recommendations being developed within the GEOSS will allow shared use of the infrastructure and the exchange of scientific information and knowledge

Project webpage

CESAM members on this project
Ana Hilário
Luciana Génio


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