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Marseille : Mediterranean Underwater Canyons in the Spotlight

On June 24 in Marseille, the Agence des aires marines protégées (French MPA Agency) showcased the results of the MEDSEACAN and CORSEACAN campaigns, dedicated to the exploration of underwater canyon heads in the northwestern Mediterranean.

From November 2008 to August 2010, both campaigns mapped underwater valleys that cut deeply into the edge of the Mediterranean continental shelf.

These zones harbor very specific deep cold-water ecosystems. They also witness upwellings (currents rising from the deep to the surface) highly loaded in nutriments, causing high concentrations of mammals and seabirds.

Numerous dives resulted in more than 500 hours of video rushes, thousands of photos and dozens of samples, which will feed research across several disciplines. This will help define future marine protected areas in the Western Mediterranean. The same data was also used in 2011 to draft the initial state for the Framework Directive on the Marine Environment Stategy.

More on the exploration of underwater canyon heads in the Mediterranean on (in French only) >>


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