News articles

Hi!  My name is Emma, I am the new ATLAS project Officer at Dynamic Earth and I’m part of Work Package 9 (Dissemination, Knowledge Transfer and Outreach). As part of my role at Dynamic Earth, I’ll be developing and designing educational materials based on the outcomes of ATLAS.  Last month, I was lucky enough to get to attend the Science Uncovered Oceans Night at the Natural History Museum in London.  It was part of European Researcher’s Night and I got to chat to loads of fascinating people in the EU café including people working on ocean currents, the SponGES project and even the medical effects of micro-plastics.  I also got to hear the amazing story of Hope, the Blue Whale skeleton which has replaced ‘Dippy’ the Diplodocus.  There was a brilliant mix of things to see and do from a range of organisations as well as the Museum’s collections.  It has certainly given me plenty of great ideas of how to get the highlights of ATLAS research out to the general public!

ATLAS is hosting a workshop at the 4th Atlantic Stakeholder Conference next week in Glasgow. The ATLAS workshop will illustrate how decision-making scenarios for ocean governance can be developed through better understanding of social challenges, better environmental mapping, climate change monitoring, as well as analysing existing and emerging human activities. The objective of the workshop is to provide participants with a holistic overview of the data gathering process within ATLAS.

Marine related research, policy and industry representatives came together to discuss effective North-South Atlantic Ocean collaboration during a session on “Trans North Atlantic Research and Prospects for South Atlantic Partnership”, which took place immediately before the high-level ministerial and scientific event “A New Era of Blue Enlightenment” on 12 July 2017 in Lisbon, Portugal. 

The EU Horizon 2020 project ATLAS, along with sister projects SponGES, and MERCES, organised the session hosted by Prof Ricardo Serrão Santos, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP). The session reconfirmed commitment on international marine scientific research efforts, in both the North and South Atlantic. Presentations also noted efforts by regional fisheries management organisations to implement the United Nation’s General Assembly (UNGA) resolutions on managing high seas fisheries to protect and conserve deep-sea ecosystems and species.

Georgios Kazanidis (University of Edinburgh) was delighted to attend the First MERCES Annual meeting (20-22 June 2017, Heraklion-Crete) to present an overview of ATLAS at the Open Science Session. Workpackage leaders Anthony Grehan (NUI Galway) and Telmo Morato (IMAR UAz) were also in attendance as both are also involved in the MERCES project.

MERCES is one of ATLAS’ sister projects (the second being SponGES) and is on the restoration of different degraded marine habitats, with the aim of: 1) assessing the potential of different technologies and approaches; 2) quantifying the returns in terms of ecosystems services and their socio-economic impacts; 3) defining the legal-policy and governance frameworks needed to optimize the effectiveness of the different restoration approaches. Specific aims include: a) improving existing, and developing new, restoration actions of degraded marine habitats; b) increasing the adaptation of EU degraded marine habitats to global change; c) enhancing marine ecosystem resilience and services; d) conducting cost-benefit analyses for marine restoration measures; e) creating new industrial targets and opportunities.

PrepCom4, the fourth and most likely final meeting of the Preparatory Committee for ocean biodiversity established by the United Nation’s General Assembly (UNGA), will convene from 10-21 July 2017 at the UN Headquarters in New York. This session aims to finalise a set of substantive recommendations to inform negotiations on a legally binding instrument on the “conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ)” under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), UNGA resolution 69/292 from 2015.

Preparing the CTD (equipment for measuring Conductivity, Temperature, Depth) for sampling. Picture courtesy of Edda Heinsman, Nemokennislink.

During April 2018, ATLAS researchers from NIOZ boarded the RV Pelagia for a two-week expedition to Rockall Bank as part of the Netherlands Initiative Changing Oceans (NICO). Freelance journalist Edda Heinsman joined the expedition, and shares her experience.

This high-level United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development was convened at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 5 to 9 June 2017, coinciding with World Oceans Day, to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14. David Johnson, Ronan Long, Jake Rice and Murray Roberts were all in attendance with ATLAS featured in two side events

A special session “Cold-water corals in a changing ocean“ has been organised at the European Coral Reef Symposium by Cova Orejas, Christine Ferrier-Pagès, Stephanie Reynaud & J. Murray Roberts. This conference will be held in Oxford, UK, from the 13th to the 15th December 2017.

The abstract deadline is June 30 and all conference details & the abstract submission system can be found here:


ATLAS combined with the INSITE project to host a workshop "Blue Growth Data Challenge Part 2: Offshore Energy Case Studies" at European Maritime Day 2017.

Rockall Bank: Scleractinian corals (Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata) encrusting sponges (spongorites sp) and gorgonians.

April 24th - May 11th 2017

Blog intro by cruise leaders Gert-Jan Reichart & Dick van Oevelen

The deep seafloor harbours one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on our planet: cold-water coral reefs. Like their tropical counterparts, cold-water corals (CWCs) form structurally complex habitats that support a diverse and productive reef community. It is still paradoxical how such a rich ecosystem can thrive in the deep sea, an environment that is typically considered to be food limited. A group of scientists, funded by NWO (VIDI program) and the EU (, collectively targetted this paradox during their recent cruise with the Dutch research vessel Pelagia. The cruise visited Rockall Bank (West of Ireland) which has amongst the highest abundance of cold-water coral reefs in the world.

In April 2017, the ATLAS Consortium gathered in Mallorca for the ATLAS 2nd General Assembly. This brought together over 65 interested individuals from all areas of the project: scientists, policy makers, communicators and social scientists.

On March 23 ATLAS held its first Science Policy Panel at the European Parliament, Brussels. This was organised by our Work Package 7 leads, Seascape Consultants, and brought together members of the ATLAS consortium from policy, science and industry to present what we have learned and achieved in the first year of our project.

Coverage in "The Scotsman" for Dr Alan Fox and co-authors paper "Sensitivity of marine protected area network connectivity to atmospheric variability".

On 14th November 2016 the MEDWAVES cruise was featured on the Futuris programme on Euronews.

On 17 June 2016 ATLAS was featured on BBC news to celebrate the launch of the project.