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COO is built by different stations:


Coastal Monitoring Station of Barcelona (Estació Litoral de Barcelona, ELB): It aims to gather physical, morphological and biological data with the highest resolution possible and with a long term perspective to determine the behavior and evolution of a coastal system where natural and human influences coexist. ELB comprises a number of permanent devices continuously measuring different parameters of the coastal zone and systematic (monthly) surveys assessing environmental factors. Five ARGUS video cameras were deployed in October 2001 for monitoring the coast of Barcelona. Additionally, monthly hydrographical, suspended sediment concentration, biological (chlorophyll and other) surveys are carried out since April 2002. Finally, topographic (35) and bathymetric (6) surveys have been performed since October 2003.

The Barcelona coastal zone is an excellent "natural lab" highly stressed by the city where different research and technical experiments can be performed. These facilities and the data base can be used for research as well as for coastal management purposes. The main issues discussed so far are the characterization of the coastal morphodynamics (shoreline and bar systems), evaluation of the impact of beach nourishments and new breakwaters, phytoplankton dynamics associated and description of coastal algal blooms, and different topics of beach management (beach occupation or the dispersion of water masses). Lead Researcher: Jorge Guillén (jorge at


The use of video monitoring stations such as the Argus system has spread worldwide during the last decade. However, video monitoring of both natural and artificial beaches of the Mediterranean Sea, with its distinctive wave and bathymetric conditions, are scarce. In particular, monitoring a natural, multibarred and dissipative beach close to Barcelona (such as the southerly located beach of Castelldefels) would also allow a comparison between the evolution of natural and artificial beaches subjected to similar hydrodynamic conditions.

The scientific exploitation of the images is a collaborative research between ICM-CSIC and the Grup de Morfodinàmica Costanera (UPC) in the frame of the Project “Integrated Modelling and Monitoring of Morphodynamics of Natural and NOurished BEaches (IMNOBE)” (CTM2009-11892). Simultaneous video observations at two different beaches generate morphological information from reflective and dissipative beaches, either embayed or open beaches, affected by the same wave climate. One the main objective of the Project is the comparison between observations from Barcelona and Castelldefels systems and the use of these data for comparison and assessment of model results. Video observations will be also supported by bathymetric and topographic surveys. Lead Researcher: Jorge Guillén (jorge at


OBSEA is a cabled seafloor observatory managed by SARTI-UPC located 4 km off the Vilanova i la Geltru coast in a fishing protected area. It is connected to the coast by an energy and communications mixed cable. Formerly, it consists of a meteorological station, CTD and hydrophone. ICM-CSIC in collaboration with SARTI-UPC deployed in April 2010 one benthic tripod containing one AWAC ADCP currentmeter with two associated external sensors: Seapoint turbidimeter and Cyclops fluorescence sensor. Waves (height, period, direction) are measured every hour. The current profile (intensity and direction) from the seafloor to the water surface, water turbidity and fluorescence are measured every 10 minutes. OBSEA offers an excellent opportunity in order to understand, through effective long-term continuous measurement, the response of the coast to natural and anthropogenic forcing. Lead Researcher: Jorge Guillén (jorge at

Satellite Data:

An HRPT (High Resolution Pixel Transmission) antenna was used to acquire satellite data from 2002 to 2008. Currently (since 2008), an EUMETCast receiving system was installed. EUMETSAT’s Broadcast System for Environmental Data, is a multi-service dissemination system based on standard Digital Video Broadcast (DVB) technology. It uses commercial telecommunication geostationary satellites to multicast files (data and products) to a wide user community.

In the last years, to simplify the discovery and use of scientific data and to allow scientific publications and educational materials to reference scientific data, a near real-time system has been developed allowing to acquire data, process it until obtaining temperature maps of the Western Mediterranean at its maximum resolution (nadir) of 1.1 km, and publishing them in a web in approximately one hour. Sea Surface Temperature maps, NOAA QuickLooks, temperature from a Spanish network of environmental buoys (i.e. coastal buoys from Puertos del Estado), monthly videos from daily temperature maps, daily temperature maps and netCDF products are generated. Also, there are historical wind data (from 1999) and chlorophyll (1997) until 2006. All these data can be viewed with satellite data displays as SAIDIN and THREDDS.

Associated stations:


Barcelona_SOL (Sistema de Observación Litoral): We gather littoral data as part of an effort to understand coastal plankton dynamics. We have a fixed monthly sampling station were we measure temperature, salinity, chlorophyll a, inorganic nutrients, bacteria, pico and microphytoplankton. In addition, we episodically collect high frequency data using remote sensors and radio-modem transmission to our central lab. These data may include meteorology, water temperature, salinity, current velocity, pressure, turbulence, and chlorophyll fluorescence. Our data gathering and research efforts are coordinated mainly with Barcelona_ELB and Blanes_MicrobialObservatory. Lead Researcher: Cesc Peters (cesc at


A deep mooring is maintained in the outer continental slope (bottom depth 1900 m) from October 2003. It is part of the CIESM Hydrochanges program and consists on a CTD probe recording once per hour at 15 m above bottom and a currentmeter recording once every two hours at 10 m above bottom. The objective is to monitor the long-term evolution of the deep water thermohaline characteristics. Data are recovered every 1-2 years and are available off-line. Lead Researcher: Jordi Font (jfont at

Blanes-Microbial Observatory:

A Microbial Observatory is a site where we study the microbial components of the ecosystem and we relate them to the function of the ecosystem. We focus on the genomic, functional and species diversity of the microbes and we link them to the cycling of carbon, sulfur and other elements in the plankton of a coastal marine ecosystem. Blanes Bay, in the NorthWestern Mediterranean was chosen because it is a good example of an oligotrophic (relatively nutrient-poor) coastal ecosystem which is relatively unaffected by human and terrestrial influences. Furthermore, it is one of the sites for which more information exists on the ecology of the Mediterranean planktonic environment, with papers dating back to the 1950's. Finally, it happens to be very close to one marine research laboratory (the CEAB in Blanes itself) and not far away from the Institut de Ciències del Mar in Barcelona. Lead researchers: Ramón Massana (ramonm at and Pep Gasol (pepgasol at


The Illes Medes Marine Reserve is a well preserved and protected area characterised by large extensions of coralligenous concretions, one of the richest habitats in terms of biodiversity in the Mediterranean Sea. Several anthropogenic threats for these structures have been already identified. However, the effects of ocean acidification are still pending to be evaluated.

It aims to gather information on the temporal variability of pH, alkalinity and pCO2 in this area, to be able to establish the ranges of variation of these parameters and constrain the amplitude of change that marine organisms associated to the Mediterranean coralligenous can normally cope with. Since May 2009, an unattended SAMI-pH system is accurately measuring in-situ pH, T and salinity every 2 hours. In addition to continuous monitoring, discrete water samples are also collected monthly in a second station 4 km offshore l’Estartit. At this site, which represents one of the longest time-series of Mediterranean Sea temperature at different depths, pH and alkalinity are being measured at different depths since July 2008. Complementary, mesures of chlorophyll and planktonic microbe abundances are also carried out since October 2009 and analyses of nutrients, particulate inorganic carbon and coccolithophore identification since January 2010. Lead Reseachers: Carles Pelejero (pelejero at and Eva Calvo (ecalvo at

Cap de Creus:

The Cap de Creus submarine canyon is the main pathway for the off-shelf sediment and water fluxes in the Gulf of Lions. Most of this export takes place during wintertime associated with the occurrence of eastern storms and dense shelf water cascading events (DSWC). Recently DSWC has been identified as an important climate-driven oceanographic phenomenon able to carry large quantities of dissolved and particulate matter from the shelf towards the slope, acting as a significant natural carbon sequestration and deep-sea ecosystem fuelling mechanism. Lead Researcher: Pere Puig (ppuig at


From 1995 until today, the Agència Catalana de l'Aigua records various parameters 9 Catalan ports, 16 ports above samples were taken. These parameters are: salinity, temperature, chlorophyll, concetración inorganic nutrients, toxic species concentration, O2 (mg / l), O2 (%) and BOD5. Are collected monthly or fortnightly in winter (October to April) and weekly or biweekly in summer (May to September).


The Agència Catalana de l'Aigua, from 2000 deals with obtaining datod salinity, temperature, chlorophyll concentration of inorganic nutrients and toxic species concentration of 14 beaches. These records are held on a monthly basis during the months ranging from May to August every 15 days.


The Agència Catalana de l'Aigua is responsible for taking 126 data points located along the Catalan coast: 86 located on the coast (9 ports, 59 beaches and headlands 18), 36 of them located at 1000m from the coast and 4 points located 500 meters from the coast. The parameters collected are: Salinity, Temperature, Chl. a, DBO5, pH, Sigma-T, fluorescence, XDISPR, dissolved oxygen, secchi, nitrate, nitrite, ammonium, phosphates and silicates. Also the sampling area and if possible, get to measure at different depths. These data began to be taken in 1990 and continue today by registering for a monthly or quarterly.

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