Research Project ODYSSEA
Implementation of policies and an interface for environmental protection and risk management requires a strong base of knowledge and predictive ability derived from observation data. Today, these observation data are still very fragmented, or even missing, in certain parts of the Mediterranean, especially in the southern part. For some of the data, it is difficult to access and use the data, in part due to many initiatives and systems and lack of uniformity between the different platforms.
The goal of the project is to develop an extensive, cost-effective, systematic and “friendly” integrated platform that combines a network of observation and forecasting systems throughout the Mediterranean Basin, both in the open sea and in the coastal area. ODYSSEA will provide primary data and demand-driven data services, including forecasts, from all Mediterranean countries through a single, open public portal for different groups and end users. The network will extract its data from the numerous databases operated by EU agencies, public authorities, research institutions and universities of the European Union, the Mediterranean and non-EU countries and will serve as a “roof” platform for monitoring stations and networks in the Mediterranean (eg Copernicus, GEOSS, Goos, EMODNet, ESFRI, Med-OBIS, GBIF, AquaMaps, atlas, MAPAMED, national and other databases). In addition, data collection and accessibility will be identified and bridged through the development and operation of nine regional monitoring stations and civil science networks. By doing so, ODYSSEA will increase and facilitate the accessibility of existing data, as well as expand the coverage over time and space of observational data in the Mediterranean. In addition there will be processing of secondary information and new information services for end users. The platform is designed to support the conservation of biodiversity, forecasting and risk management and emergency situations in the coastal and ocean areas to meet the demands of a wide range of groups and end users. Special emphasis will be given to coastal areas where there is great human pressure and areas of ecological or socio-economic significance. End users and stakeholders will be involved from the first day of the project in the design, development, operation and maintenance of the platform as well as data collection. Moreover, databases will be organized according to the requirements of end users in order to fulfil their needs for special and accurate information. The platform will continue to be operated and maintained by a dedicated industrial partner after the end of the project period.
Ecoocean’s main tasks in the project include:
- Development and operation of the Israeli monitoring station (in cooperation with a body operating a monitoring station such as Haifa University, Ministry of Environmental Protection or others). It is important to note that the intention is not to create duplication of information and monitoring efforts, but to complement existing information and accessibility gaps.
- Coordinating civil science networks throughout the Mediterranean.
- Training of all Mediterranean station operators in marine sciences, by methods of assimilation through workshop / workshops in cooperation with the Mediterranean Explorer Vessel.
- Assistance in locating existing information in the database.
- Assistance in institutionalizing the connection and assimilation among decision makers and end users (customers of the platform and those who are supposed to take responsibility for the monitoring stations after completion of the project).
- The consortium consists of 29 partners (8 academic partners, 3 technology companies, 7 information and computer services developers, 6 NGOs, 2 policy experts and 2 entities involved in the management of this complex project).
- From 14 countries (Greece, Turkey, Israel, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Egypt).
- Duration of project: 5 years.
- Total budget: over € 8 million.