Work Packages

ATLAS coloured puzzleATLAS will provide the first coherent, integrated basin-scale assessment of Atlantic deep-water ecosystems and their Blue Growth potential.

To achieve this ambition, ATLAS will employ innovative methods and integrate data in new ways across WPs.

By unifying its research from physical oceanography (WP1) through ecosystem function (WP2), biodiversity (WP3) and connectivity (WP4), the ATLAS consortium sets out a uniquely data-led science plan as the foundation for its socioeconomic (WP5), spatial planning (WP6) and policy integration (WP7) activities.

Multi-way dialogue with stakeholders (WP6 and WP9) will transfer ATLAS outputs into policy-making to create a new platform informing both Blue Growth and research agendas (WP7).

ATLAS will disseminate knowledge and data through systemic EU and global data infrastructure (WP8), and complement this with pan-EU and international public dissemination and outreach (WP9). 



WP1 Ocean Dynamics Driving Ecosystem Response [lead SAMS]

The foundation of ATLAS is improving our understanding of ocean circulation in the Atlantic. Atlantic ocean currents not only connect deep-sea ecosystems, but move vast quantities of heat, salt, and energy across the Atlantic basin. As the Earth’s climate changes we need to understand how this affects the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) and what implications this will have for ecosystem functioning, biodiversity, and genetic connectivity.

WP2 Functional Ecosystems [lead NIOZ]

ATLAS is providing ground-breaking new predictive models to allow us to map ecosystem functioning, species and ecosystems at management relevant spatial scales, and how these will adapt in a future of rapidly changing climate, carbon flux and deep ocean resource exploitation.

WP3 Biodiversity and Biogeography [lead IMAR-UAz]

ATLAS is studying the biodiversity and biogeographic patterns of sensitive deep-water ecosystems and species, forecasting changes to these under future climate change scenarios, and strengthening the evidence base for Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VMEs), Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs) and High Seas Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

WP4 Connected Resources [lead IFREMER]

Adaptive management needs new models to identify critical source areas of marine genetic resources, including those that could be exploited under Blue Growth.  Policies also need to maintain basin and regional connectivity, and fully understand the vulnerability of genetic resources to N Atlantic circulation change and human activities.  ATLAS will conduct the largest and best-integrated assessment of deep Atlantic ecosystem connectivity ever undertaken.

 WP5 Valuing Ecosystem Services and Blue Growth Potential [lead UIT]

Adaptive ecosystem-based planning should include socioeconomic assessment of ecosystem provisioning, regulatory and cultural services at basin and regional management scales.  By providing a full socioeconomic understanding of deep-water Atlantic ecosystems, ATLAS will provide firm foundtations to evaluate and balance Blue Growth and conservation scenarios.

WP6 Maritime Spatial Planning [lead NUIG]

Fully integrated spatial planning products built on basin and regional scales are needed to allow stakeholders to explore, and respond to, alternate scenarios of ocean dynamics and cross-sectoral Blue Growth.  THe MESMA (Monitoring and Evaluation of Spatially Managed Areas) framework will be used to develop forst adapative Atlantic MSP approach, and applied in Case Studies spanning the deep waters of the EU, US, Canada and ABNJs (NAFO and NEAFC regulatory areas) against the backdrop of potential climate change.

WP7 Policy Integration to Inform Key Agreements [lead SC]

A new adaptive ecosystem-based MSP methodology and modelling tools for monitoring and predicting changes in ecosystems and marine resources must reach high level policy-makers to translate science through policy to practice and so balance Blue Growth with ecosystem preservation.  ATLAS develops an integrated plan to engage Policy makers through strategic project partnership and dialogue throughout its lifetime.

WP8 Open Science Resources for Stakeholders [lead UniHB]

The aim of WP8 is to improve the discoverability and reusability of Atlantic ecosystem-based research outputs (scientific data and journal publications) by science, policy and industry stakeholders.  ATLAS builds upon exisiting databases and archives including EMODnet, the European Marine Observation and Data Network.

WP9 Dissemination, Knowledge Transfer and Outreach [lead AquaTT]

The concept behind WP9 is that effective external communication, dissemination and optimal knowledge transfer of ATLAS must lead to the widest exploitation of its research outputs: these should include contributing to the Atlantic Action Plan initiatives on Ocean Literacy and further support development of the European Research Area and the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance.

WP10 Co-ordination and Management [lead UEDIN]

Supporting all activites, WP10 provides overall co-ordination for ATLAS and manages project reporting through a dedicated ATLAS project management office.  WP10 will convene the ATLAS project Steering Committee and Advisory Board.

The ATLAS Consortium

The ATLAS consortium of 24 beneficiaries consists of 12 universities, 5 small and medium sized enterprises (SMES), 3 government agencies and 4 national research centres.  Beneficiaries are drawn from Denmark, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal (incl. Azores), Spain, the UK and USA and have been carefully selected to give ATLAS the trans-Atlantic reach and vision it needs to deliver its objectives. The Canadian Government's Department of Fisheries and Oceans will act as a third party providing in kind contributions across the project.

ATLAS has also created a network of 15 Associate Partners to give it additional depth and breadth across sectors from research to industry and policy making in Europe and North America.

1. University of Edinburgh UEDIN
2. Aarhus University Aarhus University logo
3. IMAR, University of the Azores AzoresIMARMAREUAC
4. Regional Directorate of Sea Affairs, Azores Regional Government Flag of the Azores svg
5. NERC-British Geological Survey bgslogo1000
6. Gianni Consultancy
7. French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea  logoIFREMER
8. Marine Scotland Science MSS
9. University of Bremen logo bremen
10. Iodine
11. Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research nioz
12. Our Dynamic Earth dynamic
13. Oxford University  oxford
14. University of College Dublin dublin
15. University College London ucl logo
16. National University of Ireland, Galway  NUI
17. University of Liverpool  liverpool
18. University of Southern Denmark denmark
19. University of Tromsø tromso
20. Scottish Association for Marine Science  sams
21. Seascape Consultants  seascape
22. Spanish Institute of Oceanography SIO
23. University of North Carolina Wilmington UNCW house teal
24. AquaTT Limited AquaTT new 2007