Biodiversity in the Open Ocean: Mapping, Monitoring and Modelling (BOOMS)

The BOOMS project aims to provide the best possible characterisation of oceanic seascapes (habitats defined by physical, chemical or biological characteristics), and its relationship to Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBV) globally. It will produce a >10-year time series of seascapes based on 4-km resolution remote sensing data over the global ocean, combining independent datasets from advanced algorithms of ocean colour and sea surface temperature.

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Illustration with ocean and line drawings of fish and zoo and phtyoplankton

Montage of images showing planet earth with small pictures surrounding it; of a fishing boat, factory, fish in a market and marine litter

Open ocean biodiversity

Increasing pressure due to anthropogenic drivers is leading to a reduction of global biodiversity and its associated benefits at the planetary scale. In open ocean (seafloor depth greater than 200m) the most important direct drivers of biodiversity loss are fishing and extraction of seafood, with a lesser but rapidly increasing importance of climate change, pollution and invasive species.

These drivers have accelerated in the last 50 years and they are predicted to continue, despite international efforts in the last decades. To guide further action, it is, therefore, urgent and important to develop “fit-for-purpose” observation tools. These observations should be capable of assessing and monitoring how the community structure and function of coastal ecosystems respond to the anthropogenic and natural drivers in a changing climate.

View the Science case studies  view the Impact case studies


Project objectives

The main objective of BOOMS is to provide the best possible characterisation of seascapes. The project will produce a >10-year time series of seascapes with a 4-km spatial resolution at a monthly and weekly frequency at the global scale. Combining these data with biodiversity related data sources, from existing in situ data, and ocean circulation modelling. The data from the project will be exploited to perform both science and impact case studies. 

Main objectives:

  1. Identify and characterise critical applications (Science Case Studies) of remote sensing to study open ocean biodiversity, with a focus on dynamic seascapes.

  2. Develop a global dataset and evaluate its application for each Science Case Study.

  3. Engage with the community of biodiversity stakeholders (scientific and Early Adopters) and the remote sensing community throughout the project.

  4. Define the activities necessary to utilise current and planned sensors to detect measures of marine biodiversity; or define new approaches, if the existing ones are not considered capable to fulfil the targeted science objectives.

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The BOOMS project is funded by the European Space Agency (ESA)
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Latest updates from the project

Project update  |  25 February 2022

BOOMS project kicks-off

February marked the launch of the Biodiversity in the Open Ocean: Mapping, Monitoring and Modelling (BOOMS) project led by Plymouth Marine Laboratory and funded by the European Space Agency (ESA). The kick-off meeting brought together experts from Plymouth Marine Laboratory, AZTI tecnalia and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens as well as ESA project officers, Early adopters and the Scientific Advisory Council for the project.

The two-year project is one of several projects funded as part of the EC-ESA Earth System Science initiative 'Ocean Health' initial Flagship Action.

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The project utitlises expertise from three partner institutes. View our participants page to find out more about the BOOMS team.