SCHeMA – Ocean of Tomorrow FP7

One of the key initiatives regarding the seas and oceans in the 7th Framework Programme (FP7) is the launch of cross-thematic calls for proposals on major sea-related challenges. Those calls are implemented jointly between different themes of FP7 because they address major cross-cutting issues that require cooperation between various scientific disciplines and sectors. This approach will help delivering sustainable and innovative solutions to fully reap the potential of our oceans.

The launch of such cross-cutting calls was foreseen in the European Strategy for marine and maritime research – COM 2008 (534 final). ‘The Ocean of Tomorrow’ is the European Commission’s proposal to implement this commitment.

One of this project is SCHeMA (Integrated In-Situ Chemical MApping Probes).

SCHeMA aims at providing an open and modular sensing solution for in situ high resolution mapping of a range of anthropogenic and natural chemical compounds that may have feedback (synergic) interaction: toxic and/or essential Hg, Cd, Pb, As and Cu trace metal species; nitrate, nitrite, and phosphate nutrients; species relevant to the carbon cycle; volatile organic compounds; potentially toxic algae species and toxins.

The SCHeMA system will consist of a plug-and-play adaptive wired/wireless chemical sensor probe network serving as a front-end for gathering detailed spatial and temporal information on water quality and status based on a range of hazardous compounds.

The SCHeMA system will be designed so that it can be deployed from different facilities, i.e.: platform, moored buoy, boat, unmanned surface or submersible vehicles, and landers. It will acquire a wealth of information, athigh spatial and temporal resolution, on a range of chemical hazardous compounds coupled to master variables. Such a rich database offers the possibility to gain insights into phenomena that are currently poorly understood but are significant for understanding aquatic ecosystems functioning, for predictions of toxicological impact and, ultimately, forsustainable management based on scientific knowledge.

SCHeMA will contribute to enhance ocean observing capabilities and support policies of several EU directives.