Our study areas

The HERMIONE project set out to investigate ecosystems at critical sites on Europe‚Äôs deep-ocean margin, including the Mediterranean, NE Atlantic and part of the Arctic Ocean. Even these remote areas are being affected by man, either through the indirect effects of climate change or directly through exploitation of deep-sea resources. Study sites ranged from the Arctic Ocean to the eastern Mediterranean (see map below), encompassing the key ecosystem hotspots such as those found at cold-water coral reefs, chemosynthetic environments, and those associated with seamounts and submarine canyons.


The HERMIONE study sites were selected on the following basis:

  • the Arctic because of its importance in monitoring climate change;
  • Nordic margin with abundant cold-water corals, extensive hydrocarbon exploration and the HMMV natural laboratory;
  • Celtic margin with a mid-latitude canyon, cold water corals and the long term PAP monitoring site;
  • Portuguese margin with the highly diverse Nazare and Setubal canyons;
  • seamounts in the Atlantic and western Mediterranean as important biodiversity hotspots potentially under threat;
  • Mid Atlantic Ridge ESONET site to link cold seep to hot seep chemosynthetic studies;
  • Mediterranean cold water cascading sites in the Gulf of Lions and outflows of the Adriatic and Aegean Seas.

The HMMV, PAP, MAR and central Mediterranean sites link to the ESONET long-term monitoring sites and will provide valuable background information.