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Hotspot Ecosystem Research and Man's Impact On European Seas

From the polar waters of the Arctic to the warm seas of the Mediterranean, Europe has almost 90,000 km of coastline. Underneath the waves our seas are home to some of the most spectacular ecosystems on Earth. Ecosystems such as cold-water coral reefs and hydrothermal vents support a huge diversity of life that is both beautiful and alien, but also vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and human activities.

The HERMIONE project is focused on investigating these and other ecosystems, including submarine canyons, seamounts, cold seeps, open slopes and deep basins. Scientists from a range of disciplines are researching their natural dynamics, distribution, and how they interconnect. We also want to find out how they contribute to the goods and services we rely on, and how they are affected by natural and anthropogenic change.

A major aim of HERMIONE is to use the knowledge gained during the project to contribute to EU environmental policies. The information can be used to create effective management plans that will help to protect our oceans for the future.
Hermione objectives:

  1. To investigate the dimensions, distribution and interconnection of deep-sea ecosystems;
  2. To understand changes in deep-sea ecosystems related to key factors including climate change, human impacts and the impact of large-scale episodic events;
  3. To understand the biological capacities and specific adaptations of deep-sea organisms, and investigate the importance of biodiversity in the functioning of deep-water ecosystems;
  4. To provide stakeholders and policymakers with scientific knowledge to support deep-sea governance aimed at the sustainable management of resources and the conservation of ecosystems.

Further Information

Project Duration
Project Duration
April 2009 - March 2012