Wet Rocks and European-wide Ripples... by Carol Cotterill

Maps of wet rocks might not seem like a growth area, but BGS are currently the lead partner in the geology theme of one such multi-national endeavour. The EMODnet (European Marine Observation and Data Network) Geology project covers an area of ~11 million km2, has a budget in excess of €5 million to date and draws on expertise from every geological survey with a marine department across Europe, in a pan-European collaboration.

EMODnet Seas covered in this pan-European project

EMODnet encompasses many diverse areas relating to our seas, with Alan Stevenson from BGS Edinburgh chairing the team from 36 organisations. The project provides access to harmonised map interpretations covering areas such as seabed sediment types, coastline migration and erosion, aggregate resources and geological events (e.g. landslides and earthquakes), across an area spanning from Iceland to the Black Sea, and the Mediterranean to the Baltic seas.
Much like casting a stone into the water, the impact ripples from the EMODnet project are expanding ever outwards, influencing the scientific community, industry and governments across Europe:
    EMODnet International Geology Map. 1:5 million scale
    EMODnet has helped to raise government awareness of the importance of our marine environment and Europe’s seas and seabed resources, bringing together multi-national activities under one project with a common goal
  • Collaborations on a Europe-wide scale are producing the first seamless interpretations across the whole marine area
  • EMODnet is accessing “hidden” marine data resources, and making the outputs publicly available
  • EMODnet activities ensure that local, national and international organisations have the best resolution datasets to ensure good management, long-term sustainability and investment into our marine resources and habitats
  • The maps produced underpin academic and also commercial use of our waters, stimulating a new understanding of our regional seas.
The challenges with leading such a multi-national project are numerous, but the benefits far outweigh any of the difficulties – including finding a venue that can accommodate the 70 members of the project team who attend meetings twice a year! The EMODnet programme deals not only with geological information, but also includes biologists, hydrographers, oceanographers, habitat mappers and other science disciplines. Working together not only helps to improve understanding between the science disciplines, it presents a single source of a variety of information that benefits anyone with an interest in Europe’s marine environment
For any further information on EMODnet, please contact Alan Stevenson (agst@bgs.ac.uk) or see the EMODnet website (http://www.emodnet-geology.eu/)

By Carol Cotterill