ATLAS Newsletter No.2 Now Published

Newsletter 2

The second ATLAS newsletter is now available for you to download by clicking here. The newsletter includes an interview with the Chair of our Advvisory Board, Jake Rice and a spotlight feature on the "Way of the Waves" artistic project which was part of our MEDWEAVES cruise.


Deep down in the Atlantic Ocean: newly deployed high-tech sensors gather long-term biogeochemical data

The Royal Research Ship Discovery crew recently deployed high-technology biogeochemical sensors onto existing 'Overturning in the Subpolar North Atlantic Program' (OSNAP) moorings in the Rockall Trough in the north Atlantic Ocean. By taking continuous measurements in this important yet remote location, the sensors will contribute much needed long-term biogeochemical data to further our understanding of the interactions occurring in our ocean.

You can read more about this by downloading our Press Release Here


Testing new oxygen sensors (combined with sensors to measure temperature, salinity and pressure) at SAMS' Scottish Marine Robotics Facility, alongside two of its gliders © Estelle Dumont.

The Oceans Conference

This high-level United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development was convened at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 5 to 9 June 2017, coinciding with World Oceans Day, to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14. David Johnson, Ronan Long, Jake Rice and Murray Roberts were all in attendance with ATLAS featured in two side events:

Deep-sea Science for Sustainable Development organised

This was organised by The Deep-Ocean Stewardship Initiative (DOSI), in partnership with the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Tonga to the United Nations, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) and IUCN. Speakers included Hon. Semisi Fakahau (Minister for Agriculture and Food, Forestry, and Fisheries, Kingdom of Tonga), Professor Nadine le Bris, (Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris), Kristina Gjerde (IUCN), Dr Judi Gobin (University of West Indies) and Harriet Harden-Davies (University of Wollongong/DOSI). Murray also presented at the event on behalf of ATLAS “Increasing scientific knowledge and developing capacity for sustainable management of North Atlantic ecosystems”.

Ocean Acidification: What can we do about it?

This session was chaired by Gemma Harper Deputy Director for Marine and Chief Social Scientist for Defra Group, UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Speakers included Cristiana Pașca Palmer (Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity), Vladimir Ryabinin (Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and Assistant Director General of UNESCO), Carol Turley OBE (Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Co-Coordinator UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme), Yoshihisa Shirayama (Executive Director, JAMSTEC), Martina Stiasny (BIOACID, GEOMAR and the University of Kiel), Libby Jewett (Co-Chair, Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network, NOAA) and David Osborn, Director, Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre, IAEA, Monaco. Murray also presented in this session “A focus on deep water ecosystems across the Atlantic – a multidisciplinary, international approach”.

Project Team at the UN c Murray Roberts

Key Lessons from European Maritime Day

On Thursday 18th May, ATLAS joined together with the INSITE programme to hold a workshop as part of European Maritime Day. The workshop aimed to address data issues pertinent to specific blue growth challenges such as oil/gas decommissioning and marine renewable installation.

What did we learn?

1) Emerging marine industries in sea basins across Europe would benefit from the lessons learned during North Sea decommissioning and the need to take into account the full lifecycle of the structure.
2) Feasibility studies for a variety of maritime industries can produce a wealth of data, even if the project did not take place. However, this needs to be gathered and stored in a central data repository before it is lost.
3) Physics and chemistry datasets are significantly easier to standardise and produce data products from compared to biological data.

What needs to be done?

1) Environmental data sets need to be future proofed by thinking about potential future uses and in practice collecting marine environmental data at the highest possible resolution.
2) Standardise collection techniques for time series data to allow comparisons to be made across years and datasets.
3) Consideration of mapping the North Sea basin and making it a freely available public asset.

EMD 2017 c



Niall McDonough (Executive Secretary of the European Marine Board): Decommissioning and blue growth: the need for data-driven management

Richard Heard (INSITE Programme Director): The INSITE Programme: A Successful Industry-Science Partnership

Mark Johnston and Mel Netherway (BP plc): Challenges and benefits of marine environmental baselines

Chelsea Bradbury (Marine Data Advisor, Crown Estate): Offshore Renewables – Unlocking a Wealth of Information

Silvia Camporeale (Researcher Università Bicocca Milano – CRIET for the Italian Ministry of Economic Development) and Valter Martinotti (Project Manager RSE of the "Safe and Sustainable Decommissioning" project for the Italian Ministry of Economic Development): Multi-propose off-shore platforms: from traditional mining to a blue growth opportunity

Chair: J. Murray Roberts (University of Edinburgh, Project Coordinator, ATLAS)

More details on the INSITE programme can be found here:

Surviving in a Deep-Sea Desert – Uncovering the Functioning of Cold-Water Coral Reefs in the Deep Ocean

Blog intro by cruise leaders Gert-Jan Reichart & Dick van Oevelen

The deep seafloor harbours one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on our planet: cold-water coral reefs. Like their tropical counterparts, cold-water corals (CWCs) form structurally complex habitats that support a diverse and productive reef community. It is still paradoxical how such a rich ecosystem can thrive in the deep sea, an environment that is typically considered to be food limited. A group of scientists, funded by NWO (VIDI program) and the EU (, collectively target this paradox during the present cruise with the Dutch research vessel Pelagia. They will visit Rockall Bank (West of Ireland) which has amongst the highest abundance of cold-water coral reefs in the world.

During this research expedition, they will deploy instruments in the water column above the reef for one year to study the processes that govern the delivery of organic matter towards the deep reefs. In addition, they will use targeted sampling of reef organisms by the remotely operated vehicle Genesis ( to determine how much and which food sources these organisms are utilising.

  • You can also follow our scientists on this cruise via Twitter: @NIOZatSea 
  • You can follow the NIOZ@Sea cruise blog HERE 
  • You can track&trace RV Pelagia HERE

The Future of our Seas: European Maritime Day 2017

European Maritime Day is the annual meeting point for Europe's maritime community to network, discuss and forge joint action. The EMD 2017 conference and exhibition will be held on 18-19 May 2017 in Poole. 

ATLAS has combined with the INSITE project to host a workshop "Blue Growth Data Challenge Part 2: Offshore Energy Case Studies". At the heart of marine environmental management is a sound scientific understanding built upon robust data sources. However, both emerging and long-established Blue Growth sectors face challenges in accessing environmental data that unifies commercial, academic and government information. Issues surrounding data to support blue growth are now particularly pertinent for the North Sea as the basin is in a period of transition as the oil and gas industry enters its decommissioning phase. This workshop will address key issues in the provision, analysis, application and long-term storage of marine environmental data relevant to oil and gas decommissioning and the growth of marine renewables. Drawing from the experiences of researchers in the INSITE and H2020 ATLAS projects together with industry expertise, participants will discuss the challenges and opportunities of providing holistic open-access environmental data to all stakeholders in the marine environment. This workshop follows on from the Blue Growth Data Challenge Part 1: Engaging Industry.

This will take place on Thursday 18 May from 17:00 – 18:30 at the Lighthouse Conference and Arts Centre in Poole.

To find out more click here 

ATLAS 2nd General Assembly 24 – 28 April 2017 

Last week the ATLAS Consortium gathered in Mallorca for the ATLAS 2nd General Assembly. This brought together over 65 interested individuals from all areas of the project: scientists, policy makers, communicators and social scientists. Jake Rice also chaired the ATLAS Advisory Board meeting on Thursday 27th, providing invaluable feedback to the ATLAS Consortium on the progress of our first year and future challenges needing to be addressed. We also welcomed representatives from our sister projects SponGES and MERCES, as well as the FP7 Project, DEVOTES who demonstrated their NEAT tool which the ATLAS team will be testing as part of WP6. It was safe to say the days were long and a huge amount of scientific advances were covered, but we also had a well-earned rest with a field trip to the wonderful Cabrera Archipelago National Park

Click on the link below to access all the presentations from the meeting.

ATLAS 2nd General Assembly Conference Schedule

IMG 1973


ATLAS First Science Policy Panel held in Brussels, 23 March 2017

On March 23 ATLAS held its first Science Policy Panel at the European Parliament, Brussels. This was organised by our Work Package 7 leads, Seascape Consultants, and brought together members of the ATLAS consortium from policy, science and industry to present what we have learned and achieved in the first year of our project.

Participants from ATLAS included Dr Sybille van den Hove (Iodine, Chair), Prof. Murray Roberts, (University of Edinburgh, UK - ATLAS Coordinator), Dr Paul Snelgrove (Memorial University, Canada, Dr Covadonga Orejas (Instituto Español de Oceanografia, Spain) Dr Telmo Morato (IMAR/University of the Azores, Portugal), Gareth Parry (Woodside), Anthony Grehan (NUI Galway) and Prof. David Johnson (Seascape Consultants, UK).

Policy 1 Policy 3 Policy 5

Policy 2 Policy 4 Policy 6

Presentations from the meeting are available to download:

Prof. Murray Roberts: Overview of the ATLAS Project

Dr Paul Snelgrove: A View from Across the Pond

Dr Covadonga Orejas: Following the Mediterranean path through the Atlantic: the MEDWAVES cruise

Dr Telmo Morato: Using past data to inform future management

Gareth Parry: Common goals: Industry perspective on collaboration in the Atlantic

Prof. David Johnson: Bridging the great divide: making connections between science and policy

ATLAS Newsletter Edition 1 now available on Zenodo

Access your copy the first ATLAS Newsletter here:

Coral connections threatened by climate change

A new ATLAS related publication has been published by the Royal Society 

 Images from the 2012 Changing Oceans Expedition (RRS James Cook cruise 073) funded by the UK Ocean Acidification programme (NERC, DECC, Defra).

Image from the 2012 Changing Oceans Expedition (RRS James Cook cruise 073) funded by the UK Ocean Acidification programme (NERC, DECC, Defra).

Read more: Coral connections threatened by climate change

ATLAS featured on Euronews

On 14th November 2016 the MEDWAVES cruise was featured on the Futuris programme on Euronews "A technological eye on the future of our seas and our agriculture"

Euronews Image

You can watch the full report here

Deep Atlantic: Scientists Launch Ocean Mission

On 17th June 2016 ATLAS was featured on BBC news to celebrate the launch of the project.

You can watch the full report here

ATLAS Launched

ATLAS Group Photo

The ATLAS Project was officially launched at the 1st ATLAS General Assembly from the 13 - 15th June 2016 at the ECCI in Edinburgh. You can find the agenda from the meeting, as well as the Trans-Atlantic Discussion meeting held on 16th June below:

1st ATLAS General Assembly meeting,13-15th June 2016, ECCI, Edinburgh

Trans-Atlantic Discussion 16th June 2016, 16th June 2016, ECCI, Edinburgh