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EU-ATLAS: A trans-Atlantic assessment and deep-water ecosystem based spatial management plan for Europe

Funding Programme:

European Commission


Completion Year:


Contact Person(s):


J Murray Roberts (murray[dot]roberts[at]ed[dot]ac[dot]uk)

GENERAL CONTACT: (EU-Atlas[at]ed[dot]ac[dot]uk)

COMMUNICATION & PRESS: (atlas[at]aquatt[dot]ie)

Implementation Period:
Specific Funding Programme:

Horizon 2020

About the Project:

ATLAS will provide essential new knowledge of deep ocean ecosystems in the North Atlantic. This ambitious project will explore the world of deep-sea habitats (200-2000 m) where the greatest gaps in our understanding lie and certain populations and ecosystems are under pressure. The four overarching objectives of ATLAS are to:

• Advance our understanding of deep Atlantic marine ecosystems and populations

• Improve our capacity to monitor, model and predict shifts in deep-water ecosystems and populations

• Transform new data, tools and understanding into effective ocean governance

• Scenario-test and develop science-led, cost-effective adaptive management strategies that stimulate Blue Growth

The results of the project will inform and facilitate stakeholder agreement on relevant science-led marine policy and regulation to ensure good ecosystem management and sustainable resource exploitation. It will also contribute to the European Commission’s long-term “Blue Growth” strategy to support sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors as a whole.

Work Package 6 is dedicated to Maritime Spatial Planning. With the increasing number of stakeholders and activities occurring on the high seas, managing and planning across such open spaces is more important than ever. Fully integrated spatial planning products on basin and regional scales allow stakeholders to explore, and respond to, various scenarios of ocean dynamics and cross-sectoral Blue Growth. The Monitoring and Evaluation of Spatially Managed Areas framework is being used to develop an adaptive Atlantic Marine Strategic Planning approach within ATLAS.

Key objectives relevant to MSP:

  • Case Studies are used to understand the impact of different governance regimes across the Atlantic basin
  • Harmonised approaches to mapping, habitat classification, ecosystem goods and services valuation, and impact assessment in support of the Atlantic Strategy
  • A framework for joint public/industry data collection to ensure industry EIS/EIA (Environmental Impact Statement/Assessment) compliance is achieved in a more cost-effective manner

Project Partners

  • The University of Edinburgh (UEDIN)
  • Aarhus Universitet (AU)
  • IMAR - Instituto do Mar (IMAR)
  • Secretária Regional do Mar, Ciência e Tecnologia (DRAM)
  • British Geological Survey (BGS/NERC)
  • Gianni Consultancy (GC)
  • Institut Francais de Recherche pour
  • L’Exploitation de la Mer (Ifremer)
  • Marine Scotland (MSS)
  • Universitaet Bremen (UniHB)
  • Iodine (Iodine)
  • Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)
  • Dynamic Earth (DE)
  • University of Oxford (UOX)
  • University College Dublin (UCD)
  • University College London (UCL)
  • National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG)
  • University of Liverpool (ULIV)
  • University of Southern Denmark (USD)
  • The Arctic University of Norway (UiT)
  • Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS)
  • Seascape Consultants (SC)
  • Seascape Belgium (SBE)
  • Instituto Español de Oceanografía (IEO)
  • University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW)
  • AquaTT UETP CLG (AquaTT)
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)