Observation Systems for the Marine Mediterranean Environment

Environment and marine resources management, in particular coastal areas management, requires increasingly advanced scientific and multidisciplinary information according to both European Directives (eg Marine Strategy Framework and Habitat Directive) and to national legislation. Any intervention on the marine environment (ports construction, cabling, coastal defenses, drainage, etc.) requires verification that human activities have no impact on priority habitats. European Directives call for a management and protection system of the marine environment, which must be respected and kept under control, as provided for example for the management of Sites of Community Importance.

The implementation of knowledge tools for a correct application of the MSFD is among RITMARE objectives, therefore achieving the ability to ensure a proper assessment of "Good Environmental Status", proposing at the same time methodological and technological solutions to meet the needs of development and environmental sustainability.

In Italy nowadays observation systems, in situ and remote, are largely independent; individual elements are often are part of observational networks at European level developed to meet the needs of particular disciplines and/or specific end users. The complexity of natural and anthropogenic processes that occur in the marine environment and management problems arising therefrom, and the high-level competition on the European Community projects, now require a more comprehensive and integrated national observational systems and a more efficient management.

In order to allow Italy to gain a strategic role at the European level in this field, move from existing observational systems (understood as autonomous platforms, instruments and measurement protocols) to the concept of 'integrated network' and 'observers' is a priority. This would also include the integration of observational network with marine forecasting systems, in order to ensure an advanced monitoring and forecasting system. The development of such integrated systems, which is crucial for the proper management and security of both coastal areas and open sea, however, poses a number of challenges in terms of technology and science. The importance of emerging sensors is emerging not only physical but also bio-geo-chemical, as well as the use of autonomous or remote instrumentation: these new realities involve the development of new platforms, sensors and data acquisition and communication systems, opening new markets and new industrial products.

The subproject aims to strengthen and credit the Italian observing system in Europe integrating, as far as possible, various national scientific, industrial and institutional components (especially ISPRA and Civil Protection) and also creating infrastructure edge products, offering at the same time to the domestic industry the opportunity to create new products and expand into new markets. Additionally, the subproject defines requirements, methodologies and technologies that ensure data quality and significance, defined as the ability to represent and interpret ecosystem characteristics and changes, and to analyze its trends. SP5 therefore has a strong connection with SP2, the functional aspects of environmental monitoring in the evaluation of fishery resources, SP3, monitoring the coastal zone, SP4, the implementation of tools that can improve the study of abyssal areas and open sea.

  • WP1 - Design of integrated and multi-platforms observatories consisting of observation networks, fixed and mobile stations, opportunity ships

  • WP2 - Observational systems based on remote sensing data 

  • WP3 - Italian scientific network of fixed sites for sea observation

  • WP4 - Forecasting marine systems

  • WP5 - Autonomous tools

SP Leader Alessandro Crise - OGS