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Who we are and what we do
Member of the Month
Each month, we bring you a deeper look at what our Members do in relation to our three core activities: Marine Research Infrastructures, Marine Knowledge Management, and Marine Science Communication and Outreach.

IOPAN, Poland | December 2018

Baltic Excellence

The Institute of Oceanology of the Polish Academy of Sciences is located in Sopot, Poland and currently, it is the largest marine-oriented research institute in the country. The mission of IOPAN is to seek, understand, and communicate the scientific understanding of the marine environment and the issues related to its protection and sustainable use. The IOPAN scientists and engineers achieve this by carrying out innovative, high-level scientific and technological research that further enhances our understanding of the environment, and provides expertise and new technologies which are then shared with interested parties from the public and private sector. The IOPAN conducts scientific research in the Baltic Sea and in the seas of the European Arctic. The main areas of the IOPAN’s research include:

  • The role of the oceans in climate change and its effects on European seas
  • Natural and anthropogenic variability of the Baltic Sea environment
  • Contemporary changes in the coastal ecosystems of shelf seas
  • Genetic and physiological mechanisms of the functioning of marine organisms; the principles/basics of marine biotechnology

The IOPAN has the right to confer doctoral degrees (since 1993) and associate professor degrees (since 2000) in Earth Sciences (Oceanology). As a result of the Institute’s excellence in science, as of 2018, for the following four years, the Institute has been awarded the highest scientific rank in Poland, the A+ category.

Studying The Nordic Seas For More Than Half A Century

The IOPAN is the successor to the Marine Station, established in Sopot in 1951 by the scientists from Department of Maritime Construction and Ports of the Gdansk University of Technology, which was transferred to the Polish Academy of Sciences in 1953. Three years later, the Sopot Marine Station was incorporated into the Department of Geophysics of the Polish Academy of Sciences, located in Warsaw. In 1971 the Department of Geophysics became the Institute of Geophysics PAN, and the Marine Station rose to the status of the Department of Oceanology of that Institute.

By the end of 1975 the Department of Oceanology in Sopot met the required criteria of sufficient human resources and finances of an independent scientific institution. Thus, in January 1976, the Department was separated from its parent institute and raised to the rank of an independent Department of Oceanology of the Polish Academy of Sciences based in Sopot. As a consequence of further development of the Department’s scientific potential, the Presidium of the Polish Academy of Sciences proposed and the Council of Ministers decided, on 23 December 1983, to call into existence the Institute of Oceanology Polish Academy of Sciences, based in Sopot.

Over 6600 Days At Sea

The IOPAN’s research infrastructure consists of a modern complex of high quality buildings with a total floor area of 5,100 m2. The facilities include a large, modern equipped conference hall (capacity for circa 150 people), three small conference rooms, fully equipped laboratories, including clean-rooms, culturing rooms, an isotope room, among others, as well as the mechanical workshop, which over the years has produced many custom-made tools and instruments invaluable to the laboratory work at the IOPAN and onboard of it research vessel.

An extremely important event in the IOPAN’s history took place in 1985 with the launching of the research vessel RV Oceania, built by the Gdansk Shipyard. In the summer of 1987, Oceania set off on a voyage to the Nordic seas (the Norwegian, Barents and Greenland Seas), initiating a series of annual IOPAN research projects carried out in the Arctic that have continued ever since. RV Oceania is at sea, on average, for over 200 days every year, including around 80 days in the Nordic Seas and the Spitsbergen region (June to August) and calling at 20 foreign ports and covering some 10,000 Nm.

RV Oceania is the only Polish research vessel adapted for a wide range of oceanographic research activities in physics, chemistry, ecology and marine biology in waters all round the world. She is equipped with modern laboratories, state-of-the-art instruments, and the means to perform oceanographic measurements down to a depth of 5,000 m.

RV Oceania Technical Data

  • Owner: Polish Academy of Sciences, Institute of Oceanology
  • Harbour: Gdansk
  • Call sign: SQOC
  • Dimensions: 48.9 m / 9.0 m / 3.9 m
  • Displacement: 370 T
  • Main engine: Diesel, 600 kW MTU
  • Bow thruster: 70 HP
  • Generator: 110 kW
  • Masts: 3, each 32 m high
  • Sails: 280 m2, electric setting
  • Cruising speed: 9 knots
  • Maximum speed: 12 knots
  • Crew: 13
  • Scientists: 14
  • Endurance: 1 month
  • Range: unlimited (except polar area in winter)

Contributing to Expand Europe's Knowledge on the Ocean

The IOPAN has always been an important and active partner in significant marine environment projects funded by the 5th, 6th and 7th Framework Programmes of the EU. The Institute is a representative of the Polish Academy of Sciences in the Marine Board of the European Science Foundation, in three international marine excellence networks: EurOcean, MARBEF and Marine Genomics Europe, merged in 2012 into the EuroMarine and a number of other initiatives.

The IOPAN has a great deal of experience in international project coordination, including eight projects within the framework of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism and the Polish-Norwegian Research Fund. Currently, the IOPAN is actively involved - as a partner or a lead partner - in international scientific cooperation activities performed under various programmes, such as BONUS 185, Horizon 2020, and bilateral contracts with institutions in the United States of America and Canada.

The IO PAN is a national oceanographic data centre and thus our data base system includes the following sets:

  • Marine Ecology Database
  • Atlas of Arctic
  • Physics Database
  • Numerical Model Database
  • CTD Data base

The IOPAN participates in the educational process throughout running a PhD program as well as many educational activities for general public, with a special focus on young learners. The goal of the IOPAN’s PhD program on Natural Sciences in the field of Oceanology is to educate a highly qualified young scientific team capable of solving research problems independently.

The PhD program provides high quality doctoral education, access to excellent technical facilities, administrative support and individual scientific guidance leading to an internationally recognized PhD i. Its philosophy is to provide to the students the chance to fully implement their research plans under the guidance of an experienced scientific supervisor as a member of a world-class research team. Apart from encouraging our students’ scientific development we help them build a wide network of contacts in the national and international scientific community. IOPAN’s students will find themselves working in an exceptionally creative and friendly work environment, as it is a top priority for the IOPAN staff to provide our young scientists with the necessary tools and facilities required for them to carry out their research plans. We offer the unique possibility of participating in marine research activities conducted onboard the RV Oceania.

Since 1971, the IOPAN has been publishing a peer-reviewed quarterly journal, Oceanologia, which covers original research results in marine physics, dynamics, optics, chemistry, biology, ecology, geology and genetics. Oceanologia, currently within the Elsevier group, is a journal listed in ISI Science Citation Index Expanded and its Impact Factor for 2017 is 1.614 and 5-Year Impact Factor - 1.585 (Journal Citation Reports® 2017).

A very important field of the IOPAN’s activities is to disseminate knowledge to general public. Therefore, the Institute organizes or takes part in numerous initiatives, including traditional science outreach events and programmes, scientific exhibitions, lectures and presentations focusing on work at sea, science festivals, participation in educational programs and throughout the support for the Sopot Science Association. 

Photos by Agata Weydmann, Kajetan Deja, Piotr Balazy, Stanislaw Weslawski, Tomasz Jankowski, Jerzy Dabrowski.

Learn more about IOPAN at their website.

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CNR, Italy | November 2018

The National Research Council (CNR) is the largest public research institution in Italy. Part of the Italian Ministry of Research, it performs multidisciplinary research in partnership with various national and international universities, research centres and private companies. CNR promotes innovation and competitiveness of the Italian industrial system, enhances the internationalization of the Italian research system, provides technologies and solutions to emerging public and private needs, advices the government and other public bodies, and contributes to enhancing the skills of its human resources.

Over 3600 Days At Sea

During the last decade, CNR Marine Scientific Networks conducted scientific cruises totalling 3600 days at sea. These cruises conducted on-board the research vessels G. Dallaporta, Urania, Maria Grazia and Minerva Uno, saw the completion of the huge amount of surveys, from bathymetric surveys to maintenance operations. The scientific value of these activities can be summarized in the projects funded with a total contribution of about 5 Milion euro.

CNR research vessels were not limited in their use to the institute's researchers. Scientific cruises from Italian and international universities, public and private research institutions were also hosted in the context of various scientific collaborations. Also, intensive training activities were conducted, involving more than 1300 students. CNR's scientific cruise programme for 2018 is available here.

CNR operates the R.V. G. Dallaporta, built in 2001 and 35 meters long. It is equipped with state-of-the-art scientific and bridge on-board instrumentation, mainly for the study of maritime fishing and marine environment conditions. It can accommodate up to 8 crew members and 12 researchers.

CNR operates the R.V. G. Dallaporta, built in 2001 and 35 meters long. It is equipped with state-of-the-art scientific and bridge on-board instrumentation, mainly for the study of maritime fishing and marine environmental conditions. It can accommodate up to 8 crew members and 12 researchers. 

Some local units of the CNR marine research institutes manage smaller local/coastal research vessels, that generally carry out research close to their home ports in the Mediterranean Sea:

  • RV Boreana - 10.00 m    long
  • RV Cerruti - 14.50 m long
  • RV Furetto - 10.00 m
  • RV Litus - 10.20 m
  • RV Luigi Sanzo - 15.00 m
  • RV Tecnopesca II - 16.30 m

An Observation Network in the Mediterranean

The Italian Fixed-Point Observatory Network (IFON) integrates well-established coastal and ocean infrastructures (buoys, platforms, moorings, mast platforms, etc.), most of them providing real-time multidisciplinary monitoring for a number of marine and atmospheric variables.

One of the goals of the Italian Flagship Project Ricerca Italiana per il mare (RITMARE) is to create a common, validated IFON database able to fulfil both public and private demands, including validation of remotely sensed data and numerical models, environmental planning and management, and time-series analysis of climate and oceanographic data. IFON includes:

  • Acqua Alta Oceanographic Tower
  • Location (GPS): 45° 18' 51.29" N - 12° 30' 29.69" E
  • Height: actual 12.55 m s.l.m.m. (future 14.55 m s.l.m.m.)
  • Decks surface (within the main pillars): 35 m2
  • Installation depth: 16 m
  • Distance from the coast: about 8 nautical miles
  • Housing facilities: 5 people in complete autonomy for about 1 month
  • Research connections: LTER - Long Term Ecological Research Network
  • Equipment: Real time transmission and communication capabilities; ICT infrastructures; Biological laboratories; Housing facilities; Electrical supply by photovoltaic panels and wind turbines connected to lithium batteries and diesel generators.
  • Recorded time-series: meteo (air temperature and pressure, wind speed, gust and direction, RH, precipitation); ocean (pCO2, temperature, salinity, dissolved Oxygen, fluorescence, turbidity, current speed and direction, sea level height, wave height, period and direction, images)

CNR is committed to the dissemination of the research activities within the scientific community and the general public, as demonstrated by the publication of the measured data in an open data perspective and by the release of the smartphone application Ismar-Data.

The tower is equipped with several webcams that can be accessed through this link.

The project also provides access to a 39-years monitoring programme on directional wave data.

An Open Sea Laboratory

The W1-M3A observing system is one of the most important infrastructures of CNR and it is part of the network of deep ocean European observatories. The open sea laboratory is moored in the middle of the Ligurian Sea, inside the area known as the Cetaceans' Sanctuary on the route between Genoa and Cape Corse, about 80 Km off the coast of Liguria where the water depth is about 1200 m.

The W1-M3A observing system is composed by two sub-systems, a large spar buoy (known as Oceanographic Data Acquisition System - ODAS - Italia 1, is 51 meter long and weights 12 tons) and a sub-surface mooring acquiring data from the ocean interior under the buoy and communicating with the main buoy by means of an acoustic link. The ODAS Italia 1 buoy represents the only example in Europe and one of the few in the world of a spar meteo-oceanographic buoy. The payload of the W1M3A observing system provides:

  • near real-time atmospheric data and bio-geochemical measurements in the euphotic zone (0-100m)
  • physical data from the upper thermocline (0-500m) down to the sea bed.

To access the data obtained by W1M3A please click here

A Wide Range of On-Land Facilities

Along the many research facilities that CNR owns within Italy, there are several fully equipped to support various research activities related to marine sciences, including:

Ready To Go Below Sea Level 

The glider Teresa is an autonomous underwater vehicle, able to operate along vertical sections to monitor the water column up to 1000 m depth. Equipped with a CTD probe and fine structure sensors, it moves through the water column recording hydrological properties and turbulence measurements through continuous cycles of immersion-emersion. Its vertical movement is particularly favorable for turbulence measurements, obtained with both fast-response shear probes rather than thermistors. Part of the data are transmitted via satellite to data centre when the glider comes to the surface for positioning.

 CNR's ISSIA Marine Robotic Lab studies and develops heterogeneous cooperative aerial, surface and underwater robots for marine and maritime applications. Current research topics include:

  • cooperative navigation, guidance and control
  • cooperative mission control
  • modeling & identification of underwater robots
  • automatic characterisation of the operating environment
  • design of innovative marine robotic platforms

  1. Contributing to Expand Europe's Knowledge on the Ocean

In its nearly one hundred years of existence, CNR has coordinated and supported countless marine research initiatives focusing on marine areas way beyond the Mediterranean Sea surrounding Italy. Here are some examples of ongoing projects: 

BLUEMED - Coordination and Support Action for the coordination of marine and maritime research and innovation activities in the Mediterranean

CEASELESS - Copernicus Evolution and Applications with Sentinel Enhancements and Land Effluents for Shores and Seas

DANUBIUS-PP - Preparatory phase for the pan-european research infrastructure Danubius–RI “the international centre for advanced studies on river-sea systems — Danubius-PP

EVER-EST - European Virtual Environment for Research - Earth Science Themes: a solution 

3Ccar - Integrated Components for Complexity Control in affordable electrified cars 

JERICO - NEXT - Joint European Research Infrastructure network for Coastal Observatory – Novel European eXpertise for coastal observaTories 

SLATE - Submarine LAndslides and Their impact on European continental margins 

MUSES - Multi Use in European Seas 

DUPLEXWASTE Duplex Stainless Steel for Urban and Industrial Waste Water

CLAIM - Cleaning Litter by developing and Applying Innovative Methods in European seas

TARTALIFE - Reduction in mortality of sea turtles in professional fishing

EFFICIENTSHIP - Demonstration of an innovative ORC module to improve the efficiency of European fishing vessels

MARINET2 - Marine Renewables Infrastructure Network for emerging Energy Technologie)

CNR also established a Memorandum of Understanding with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Supporting Open Access

CNR has a structured data collection network operating in real-time on the Italian seas. Also, CNR manages or collaborates in different prediction systems of the sea and wind condition. These forecasting systems, available online and providing real-time data, are used not only for transportation and fishing navigation, but also during sailing race events and other sports and recreational events.

To learn more about the CNR units that currently have open access programmes please click here.

CNR is committed to convert the outcomes of its research into information, services and products that serve to bring science closer to society. Here are some examples of recent initiatives:

Less Plastic, More Mediterranean

  1. In 2017, CNR took part in a campaign on-board the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior. The initiative resulted in a report about microplastics in seawater and the trophic chain along the Italian Coast, which can be found here.

Prospecting Ocean

Coinciding with the launch of the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia: TBA21–Academy, CNR presented an investigative exhibition by the filmmaker and photographer Armin Linke exploring contemporary challenges facing our oceans. Drawing upon rare footage of the deep-sea and interviews with leading scientists, policymakers, and legal experts, the exhibition scrutinized the aesthetics of technoscientific apparatuses and grapples with the tension between ecological protection of our oceans and political and economic exploitation.

Learn more about CNR at their website.

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EurOcean currently has thirteen members in ten different countries and three cooperating members

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