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Work Packages involved


Dr.Constantinos Cosmidis, Work Package 7- Leader

WP1: Pressures and Impacts at Basin and Sub-basin Scale

WP1 will identify linkages between pressures and their effects on the marine ecosystems of the Southern European Seas (SES) through data analyses, process studies (experiments and modeling), and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) techniques coupled with numerical analysis.
Targeted studies are designed to determine currently insufficiently resolved mechanisms through which natural and human-induced pressures impact the ecosystems at basin and sub-basin-scale. In order to be able to trace the paths from pressures to impacts, experiments and modelling approaches will show and document leading influences of key elements on the functioning of the ecosystem in each basin or sub-basin, or on the system as a whole. In addition the effect of these pressures will be analysed and assessed in socioeconomic terms.WP1 will thus identify and evaluate basin and sub-basin scale patterns of natural and human-made interacting pressures on the SES ecosystem, study the processes transmitting the pressures to the marine ecosystem, investigate the interactions among natural and human pressures and finally will assess their collective impacts on marine ecosystems through field research and modelling and socioeconomic analysis.

WP2: Pressures and Impacts at coastal level

The goals of WP2 are to identify and evaluate coastal scale patterns of natural and human-made interacting pressures on the SES ecosystem, to study the processes transmitting the pressures to the marine ecosystem, to investigate the interactions among natural and human pressures and to assess their collective impacts on marine ecosystems through field research. WP2 will better characterise the pressures on the coastal areas (depth of 0 to 200 meters) of the Mediterranean and Black Seas, fill gaps in the knowledge of the processes through which human activities induce changes in marine ecosystems and assess their impact in a holistic manner encompassing socio economic appraisal and analysis.

WP3: Upgrade-expand the existing observational systems and fill short term gaps

The purpose of WP3 is to upgrade and expand the present observing capacity in the SES towards the fulfilment of the scientific and society needs with emphasis on the characterisation of present state, and to increase forecasting capabilities for the implementation of MSFD.
The rationale behind the PERSEUS Observing Systems, and therefore its underlying strategy, entails the “enhancement, extension, and harmonization of multi-platform distributed and integrated existing observing systems” that monitor basin, sub-basin and local scales, for long-term periods, that will contribute to filling short-term data gaps with respect to key processes, and providing free streams of oceanographic data. By doing so WP3 will deliver targeted short term observations linked to the needs of WP1, WP2 and the case studies of WP5 (short term gaps); upgrade and development of new observing systems in response to policy and science needs identified by WP1, WP2, WP4, WP5, WP6 (short to medium term gaps); and develop of a long-term monitoring strategy based on the identified needs as well as existing capacities and national commitments.

In these directions, WP3 will combine Observing Systems at different scales (basin, sub-basin, local) using different platforms (profilers & drifters, moorings, gliders and research vessels) to carry out sustained monitoring (SM) and specific Intensive Observation Experiments (IOP) that will be integrated through modelling and data management. This process will also establish unified quality control procedures and assure data availability through clear and strong commitment from all PERSEUS partners.


WP4: Developing integrated tools for environmental assessment

WP4 aims to the development of scientific tools in order to evaluate environmental status of the SES by engaging existing and upgraded modelling and remotely operated monitoring capabilities. The tools to be developed are expected to contribute to the MSFD and to the implementation of a science-based management, aiming towards the achievement of the Good Environmental Status (GES). The WP4 activities which address PERSEUS’ general objectives are based on two broad conceptual approaches: (i) establishing modelling systems in an “Ecosystem end to end” (E2E) perspective; and (ii) addressing the basin and the coastal scale using both the E2E models and upgraded remote sensing capabilities. These techniques will be used on a time span encompassing the first two decades of the 21st century as suggested by MSFD, to: assess models skill trough validation procedures against available reference observations; provide synthetic indices that can indicate the “state” of the environment; and provide an integrated analysis of ecosystem attributes (vigor, organisation, resilience) that will contribute to the criteria relevant to the MSFD descriptors as indicated in the EU directive on “Good Environmental Status”. Work under WP4 is closely integrated with the work in the other WPs and in particular with WP6.

Given the time horizon considered by the project, the numerical models involved in this WP will work on both the hindcast (simulation of recent past ecosystem dynamics) and the prediction (simulation of near future ecosystem dynamics) mode under “Businness as Usual” or policy-based scenarios to be defined in WP6.The ecosystem’s ability to maintain its structure and pattern of behavior in the presence of stress (resilience) will be predicted based on stress scenarios. The work of this task is crucially dependent on the policy scenarios developed in WP6 and their translation into forcing functions for the E2E models. The WP6 scenario will be tested into all E2E models developed in this WP, to evaluate the reaction of the system to changes in environmental policies and/or alternative development paths. This is an important interaction, since the WP6 scenarios to be defined will be quantitatively translated into forcing fields (river runoff, nutrient load from point and diffuse sources, fishing pressure) usable by the E2E models to produce the scenario-based simulations. In turn, WP4, by producing simulation results obtained under the WP6 scenario, will contribute to the assessment effort that will be carried out. In particular, WP4 products will help to assess if and how a particular policy option (associated with a scenario) might or might not be viable for the achievement of GES within the MSFD time horizon. In relation to other work-packages, the End to End models will benefit from the specific process models done in WP1 and WP2.


WP5 : Basin-wide promotion of MSFD principles

WP5 will work to identify, develop and promote tools and methods to assess environmental status across the SES basins with emphasis on non-EU countries, in accordance with the principles and objectives of the MSFD. The state-of-the-art methodology will facilitate the basin-wide promotion of the MSFD and shall establish common understanding and joint approaches to ensure coherence and consistency throughout the SES. The objectives are to increase the capacity for ecosystem state assessment, definition of Good Environmental Status, monitoring and finally for management based on the MSFD descriptors, i.e. to provide tools for the application of MSFD principles in non-EU countries of the SES through networking between EU and non-EU countries. WP5, together with WP6, will provide decision makers with a scientific basis needed in order to set common environmental targets for the SES ecosystems.

In selected EU case study areas the approaches of the MSFD assessments will be reviewed and analysed focusing on the use of available data, and the methodologies and/or principles used in the different areas and spatial scales, clarifying also knowledge/data gaps. This first step will lead to the development of the assessment elements for the non EU countries examining how quantitatively characteristics, i.e. monitoring data, are being transformed into assessments according to EU criteria. The extracted elements will then be applied on datasets collected for this purpose from the non-EU study areas under the guidelines produced by this WP. Finally, the assessment elements will be refined for the purpose of a basin-wide application, in close collaboration with stakeholders towards the application and communication of the MSFD assessment elements in non EU areas through an iterative process involving all stakeholders. The methodological standards that will be developed will ensure consistency and allow comparison between EU and non-EU countries, and enable the basin-wide promotion of the principles and objectives put forward in the MSFD. This methodology is interwoven with the work of the rest of the WPs as it’s one of the focal points of the project.

The WP5 methodology will constitute a standardized process that will be endorsed in relevant assessments conducted also under WP1 and WP2. Eventually, commonly accepted tools, will allow harmonized assessments and enable comparison of the environmental status across the SES marine sub-regions. Identified knowledge/data gaps will be tackled by subsequent activities dealt under the ‘experimental’ WPs (WP1-WP4) both in EU and non EU areas. under WP1, WP2, WP3 and WP4)The work will benefit from modelling efforts in WP4 providing an improved understanding of ecosystem functioning, elucidating possibly the extent of impacts on ecosystem functioning and relevant ecosystem services, which will also contribute to future needs arising by the further implementation of the Directive. Another main synergy will be with WP6 since the PERSEUS adaptive policy framework (APF) that will be developed in WP6 will be applied on the four EU case studies of WP5 to ensure convergence ability and evolution efficiency that will, therefore, enable adequate suitability for policy planning at various scales in support of reaching a basin-wide GES.


WP6: Adaptive policies and scenarios

The overall intent of WP6 is to bridge the gaps between scientists and policy-makers, while remaining policy relevant and avoiding prescriptive endeavours. In the framework of WP6, PERSEUS will thus develop, through a participatory approach, an Adaptive Policy Framework (APF), which will assist policy-makers in facilitating and preparing the future implementation of adaptive policies and management schemes in view of a better governance of the human-made pressures in the Mediterranean and the Black Seas. These policies and management schemes will aim to achieve or maintain Good Environmental Status while enabling the sustainable use by present and future generations of marine goods and services. The APF will be developed and tested on the four PERSEUS Pilot Cases, and will then be applied across the whole SES basin level.

The APF has two components: the PERSEUS APF Tool Box and the Stakeholder platforms.The PERSEUS APF Tool Box is a specific decision support system based on a scenario planning approach to support management schemes will draw on the characterisation of present and future pressures in socio-economic terms to facilitate elaboration and ranking of adaptive management schemes and policies. Stakeholder platforms with relevant experts and decision-makers will be involved from the onset in the construction process to suggest priorities on integrated policy-making. Their opinion will be synthesized for communication and integration among the main actors and infrastructures that promote Sustainable Development of the SES. To achieve these WP6 will work along 4 interrelated and consecutive tasks: State of play, Stakeholder dialogue, APF Tool development, Implementation and Lesson learned.


WP7: Concept of an innovative research vessel

PERSEUS will develop the concept of an innovative small research vessel which will be used for scientific and operational purposes to survey accurately and efficiently shallow waters: coastal areas, estuaries, ports and navigation channels, areas in which current vessels are difficult to operate. PERSEUS will first evaluate the operational as well as the scientists’ specific needs in monitoring such areas. Taking these into account the concept will be formulated. Special attention will be given to the novel propulsion systems used such highly sensitive and shallow areas, as well as to green technologies. In addition, the possibilities of integrating different technologies in one innovative system of navigation and dynamic positioning will be examined in order to develop a new conceptual system of very precise dynamic positioning. Finally, a 3D detailed model of a vessel with low draft that can operate with very precise innovative dynamic positioning and novel propulsion systems in the shallow areas will be produced. PERSEUS will go a step further and develop the documentation to evaluate the economic feasibility of constructing the new vessel and its estimated future operational cost.

WP8: Training and Capacity Building

Work Package 8 includes the training activities, which aim to increase the capacity of the consortium, especially in issues where lack of expertise currently exists. The wider sense of capacity building will applied through this WP, which goes beyond the training of individuals, and extends to the transfer of technology as well as to assisting countries in developing capacities related to the objectives of PERSEUS. Additionally, WP8 will address the need for both EU and non-EU states to adopt a common framework and regional approach with regards to (i) environmental policy development; (ii) common monitoring practices and (iii) use of common assessment tools.
Training of post-graduate students and young scientists will be in the form of two summer schools, while three training courses for professional personnel have also been planned. All training activities within this framework will also be linked to existing national and international initiatives. Finally, another important activity within this WP is the short training visits of scientists, students and technicians to selected Institutes, thereby activating a personnel training visits scheme among partners. The visits aim to train individuals, as well to transfer knowledge and allow sharing and diffusion of technological expertise. Both the host centres and applicants will be selected through an application call process.

The two summer schools open to young PERSEUS scientists, will be held in Romania and Greece in 2013 and 2014 respectively, addressing the needs of EU and non-EU countries to work on MSFD-related subjects. Furthermore, and regarding training, three courses, open to both PERSEUS and non-PERSEUS partners, will be held in Cyprus, Russia and Malta. The first training course (to be carried out in 2 stages) will be devoted to the training for the application of the Continuous Plankton Recorder (MedCPR) between the UoP and the CyI. A second training course on coastal issues will be organised, coupled with national initiatives and in co-operation with SIO-RAS, in Russia, in 2013.Tthe third course for stakeholders will be held in Malta in 2015, in relation to WPs 5 & 6, offering training to environmental agencies’ personnel in order to help them improve the conduct of their operations using existing and new data, as well as tools specifically developed in PERSEUS, in compliance with the MSFD targets.


WP9: Communication, Outreach & Information Management

Overall, WP9 aims to communicate the project’s purpose, work scope and results to all stakeholders (policy and decision-makers, the scientific community, environmental organisations, the media and the general public), while undertaking specific actions to engage policy/decision-makers and the scientific community in dialogue on how the PERSEUS findings can provide the scientific basis for introducing a new framework of adaptive policies and management schemes. Another important aspect of this WP will be to develop and maintain the PERSEUS oceanographic information system, in order to coordinate actions of the Consortium related to data rescue, observation and modelling, to implement common standards and effective mechanisms for the collection, quality control and availability of PERSEUS data, and to provide user-friendly and immediate access to them.

Concerted efforts within this WP will help to bridge the gap between scientists and the public on issues of GES, by undertaking media actions and developing outreach activities such as the Jelly Watch and Litter Watch. WP9 will, effectively, provide an outreach guide to help raise public awareness on the behaviours that need to change in order to contain human pressures on marine waters and support GES.
Communication tools for policy-makers, scientists and environmental organisations, will be produced, including the PERSEUS website, publications such as newsletters, a project poster and fact sheets, plus audio-visual products and other promotional materials.
Special web applications tools will be developed and displayed on a specific section of the website, devoted to the WP6 APF. The content will be developed under WP6, whereas WP9 will develop and maintain a Web Knowledge Base on the ‘State of Play within the Southern European Seas’ (SES) and a Web-based Interface of the APF Tool Box, which will help to familiarise policy-makers with the APF. Finally, an additional tool for policy/decision-makers is the web GIS information platform to set up different scenarios on how to handle various issues regarding marine environmental management and policy.

Finally, WP9 will provide a PERSEUS Policy Brief as well as a ‘Clean Seas Communication & Outreach Best Practice Guide’ for use by EU & non-EU countries in their respective communication programmes, to target best practices in creating public awareness and stakeholder involvement. As a basis for the best practice guide, an issues paper will be developed on the main human pressures impacting marine waters in the Mediterranean and Black Seas and what specific behavioural changes are required by which actors to ensure marine waters are within sustainable levels.


WP10: Project Management

WP10 will provide effective and comprehensive project coordination and management through the Coordinator and the PERSEUS Management Office (MO). Some of the tasks under this work package include project communication, both internal and to the wider community, administrative tasks, contract management, financial monitoring, preparation and delivery of deliverables, preparation of periodic and final reports, organisation of project meetings and the management of any contingencies. All information on WP10 can be found under the Management Structure.