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Hotspot Ecosystem Research and Man's Impact on European seas (HERMIONE)
Start date: 01 Apr 2009, End date: 30 Sep 2012 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The HERMIONE project is designed to make a major advance in our knowledge of the functioning of deep-sea ecosystems and their contribution to the production of goods and services. This will be achieved through a highly interdisciplinary approach (including biologists, ecologists, microbiologists, biogeochemists, sedimentologists, physical oceanographers, modelers and socio-economists) that will integrate biodiversity, specific adaptions and biological capacity in the context of a wide range of highly vulnerable deep-sea habitats. Gaining this understanding is crucial, because these ecosystems are now being affected by climate change and impacted by man through fishing, resource extraction, seabed installations and pollution. To design and implement effective governance strategies and management plans we must understand the extent, natural dynamics and interconnection of ocean ecosystems and integrate socio-economic research with natural science. The study sites include the Arctic, North Atlantic and Mediterranean and cover a range of ecosystems including cold-water corals, canyons, cold and hot seeps, seamounts and open slopes and deep-basins. The project will make strong connections between deep-sea science and user needs. HERMIONE will enhance the education and public perception of the deep-ocean issues also through some of the major EU aquaria. These actions, together with GEOSS databases that will be made available, will create a platform for discussion between a range of stakeholders, and contribute to EU environmental policies.
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