DYFAMED station

Location of DYFAMED station
Location of DYFAMED station

Why observing here?

The DYFAMED (Dynamics of atmospheric fluxes in the Mediterranean Sea) station is located in the north-western sector of the Mediterranean Sea (Ligurian Sea) approximately 45 km south-east of Nice, France, in 2350 m of water.

Location of the DYFAMED station Credits : http://www.obs-vlfr.fr/sodyf/

The central part of the western basin of the Mediterranean Sea constitutes a homogeneous system isolated from direct coastal inputs by rivers but receives significant atmospheric input from deserts of the North Africa and from the industrialized countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

Saharan Dust blowing off North Africa ; image acquired on October 13, 2001 Credit : Provided by the SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE

At this site, the seasonal succession of hydrological conditions induces production systems varying from mesotrophy (area with an intermediate level of productivity) in spring to oligotrophy (area with low nutrients content, thus low primary production) in summer and fall.

Due to the low presence of clouds in the western Mediterranean, satellite imagery like SeaWifs is routinely used to monitor phytoplankton productivity around the observatory.

The selected site is of particular interest for the following reasons:

  • the central part of the basin is protected coastal inputs by the presence of a coastal current, but receives significant atmospheric input from the deserts of North Africa and from the industrialized countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea;
  • anthropogenic influences are likely to produce a rapid ecosystem response, since the site is close to industrialized zones;
  • it is an open-sea site (2350-m depth) close to the Oceanographic Observatory of Villefranche (3 hours) and inside a 125km2 area declared as a scientific zone. Moreover, the DYFAMED station is located in the same area than the meteorological buoy 'Bouée Côte d’Azur' from the French national meteorological service Météo France.

View ot the Marine Observatory of Villefrance (France) Credits : L. Coppola

Scientists or technicians in charge of the observatory

12
Laurent Coppola
scientific researcher PI

Name of their institution

Observatoire Océanologique de Villefranche-sur-Mer, France

Distance from shore

28 nautical miles (3h from Nice with the CNRS research vessel Tethys II)

Max depth

2350 m