ODYSSEA launches second Marinomica monitoring unit off Moroccan coast

The EU-funded ODYSSEA project has launched its second Marinomica mobile marine observation unit with Moroccan partner AGIR and local authorities off the coast of Morocco’s Al-Hoceima National Park in February, continuing the development of the project’s Al-Hoceima Marine Observatory as part of the implementation of its wider goals encompassing the entire Mediterranean basin.

Through the initiative, the partners “have truly been able to open a wide horizon of work in innovative marine sciences for the country,” commented AGIR director Houssine NIBANI.

The launch follows the initial Al-Hoceima glider launch in November 2020, and earlier implementations in the Thracian Sea. They are designed “to provide, for the first time, a wealth of information that will contribute to filling the data gap of the international oceanographic community about the Moroccan coastal and open sea waters in the Mediterranean,” commented ODYSSEA project coordinator Prof. Georgios Sylaios.

Next glider missions will be carried out in Tunisia and Israel. Glider data from these missions will be directly transferred to CMEMS, monGOOS, and the Ocean-Obs.   

The ODYSSEA Marinomica platform is based on a network of nine marine observatories being established across the Mediterranean. The glider observatory units, developed by French ODYSSEA-partner ALSEAMAR, carry state-of-the-art sensors designed to optimise monitoring capacity and give detailed, real-time information on climate change, seaborne micro-plastics, water temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, chlorophyll-a and CDOM concentration.

“The replication potential of the [ODYSSEA] observatories is not only a central concept of ODYSSEA, but a fully sustainable and practical way to tackle at local level threats to the environment and economic growth by joining together world-class tools and local skills,” together with the local partnerships and synergies that they entail, Prof. Sylaios noted with the project’s inception.

The ODYSSEA Marinomica platform launches are being carried out and managed by AGIR in partnership with the full Al Hoceima Marine Observatory consortium, which brings together the Abdelmalek EsSaadi University’s National School of Applied Sciences at Al-Hoceima, Morocco’s Department of Water and Forests, and the National Marine Fishing Research Institute

Marinomica, an oceanographic observation and forecasting platform for predicting tidal developments, created by EU-project ODYSSEA, which is coordinated by the Democritus University of Thrace (DUTH) Department of Environmental Engineering. The Marinomica platform provides visual material and real-time environmental data from across the Mediterranean.