EuroSITES Open Ocean Observatories

Visit the observatories and learn more about them!

Stations map PAP CIS Station M ESTOC TENATSO DYFAMED W1-M3A E2-M3A W1-M3A FluSO Poseidon-Pylos ANTARES


Deep ocean observatories are fixed at one point in the ocean, far away from coastal influence. They continuously measure properties of the seawater such as temperature, salinity and carbon dioxide, but also biological activity such as algal growth.


Without the help of man, data are recorded and captured continuously every few hours for weeks, months and even years at a time. The data are then transmitted by satellite to the research centres around the world or stored inside the sensors until they are picked up by scientists venturing out to sea.


This continuous flow of data enables scientists to understand natural patterns and fluctuations such as seasonal cycles. It also allows them to follow everyday variation, to detects episodic events (such as algal blooms) and long-term changes (such as increasing seawater temperatures).


These important amounts of data collected over long periods of time are also used to produce more accurate computer models to predict future changes.


Observatories are typically made of a single column of strong wire stretching from the sea surface to the sea floor. Several scientific instruments and sensors are attached in clusters like mini constellations all the way down. Some equipment including landers can also be positioned on the seafloor.