Project Description



The Porcupine Abyssal Plain is vast plain situated at a water depth between 4000 and 4850 m. This site has being been studied for over 30 years. It is positioned between the North Atlantic current and the Azores Currents and it is crossed by clockwise and anticlockwise swirls and eddies. Its seabed hosts a rich living community, that is sampled and photographed. The combined monitoring data sets capture short-term (daily-seasonal), longer-term trends (climate driven) and episodic events (e.g. spring bloom) and the data contribute to the Europe-wide move toward good environmental status of our seas.

EMSO scientific disciplines: physical oceanography, biogeochemistry, marine ecology

General information

Location: North East Atlantic Ocean, abyssal plain
Distance from land: 300 miles
Max water depth: 4850 m
Date 1st deployment:
Supported by: United Kingdom
Operated by: NOC
Status: running (updated November 2017)
Regional Team Leader: Sue Hartman, NOC

Scientific objectives

Study the connections between the lower atmosphere, water column and seafloor at a deep ocean site in the Northeast Atlantic, understanding ecosystem function especially related to carbon sequestration dynamics.

Description of the infrastructure

The observatory has one surface metorological buoy (air and 1m depth) and a subsurface sensor frame (30 m depth) that measure many biogeochemical variables. A PAP-3 mooring has sediment traps at various depth to 3000 m depth. A bathysnap (4850 m depth) takes seabed images.