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EMB Working Group on Deep Sea and Ocean Health kicks-off

On 8-9 February 2023, the new EMB Working Group on Deep Sea and Ocean Health met for the first time during the kick-off meeting held at the InnovOcean site in Ostende (Belgium) and online. The meeting was chaired by Sylvia Sander, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung Kiel (GEOMAR, Germany) and Christian Tamburini, Institut Méditerranéen d'Océanologie (MIO, France).

The deep sea covers most of the habitable volume of the Ocean and is the home for a myriad of unique and endemic species, habitats and ecosystems such as hydrothermal vents and seamounts, many of which still need to be discovered and understood. Given the complexity and scale of the deep-sea environment, it appears from the literature that studies often focus on limited regions, parameters or species, and broader perspectives have not been published. However, the deep sea remains a mystery. We still have little knowledge on what is living there, the processes involved, how the different components interact, and how human impacts and climate change are affecting this environment.

The new EMB Working Group will take stock on the messages from previous EMB publications on this topic, the Position Paper 22 "Delving Deeper: Critical challenges for 21st century deep sea research" from September 2015, and its accompanying Policy Brief 2 "How can we achieve sustainable management of our deep sea through integrated research?" from November 2015. In addition, it will take an overarching view, to outline what the current state-of-the-art is, and what the next steps need to be for sustainable development in terms of scientific research and governance of the deep sea.

The Working Group members are:

  • Chair: Sylvia Sander, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung Kiel (GEOMAR), Germany 
  • Co-chair: Christian Tamburini, Institut Méditerranéen d'Océanologie (MIO), France
  • Roberto Danovaro, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Italy
  • Sabine Gollner, Koninklijk Nederlands Instituut voor Onderzoek der Zee (NIOZ), The Netherlands
  • Bleuenn Guilloux, La Rochelle Université, France
  • Henk-Jan Hoving, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung Kiel (GEOMAR), Germany
  • Igor Isajlović, Institut za oceanografiju i ribarstvo (IOF), Croatia
  • Bhavani Narayanaswamy, Marine Alliance for Science and Technology Scotland (MASTS), UK
  • Ellen Pape, Universiteit Gent, Belgium
  • Marzia Rovere, Istituto di Scienze Marine del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR-ISMAR), Italy
  • Miguel Semedo, Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental (CIIMAR), Portugal
  • Pedro Vélez Belchí, Instituto Español de Oceanografía (IEO), Spain


EMBCP support – Maike Nicolai (GEOMAR)

Observer: Sarah de Rijcke, Fluid Knowledge, Leiden University


The working group will develop a Future Science Brief, expected to be published in 2024.

You can find out more about this working group here.