Hotspot ecosystem research on the margins of European seas
Funded by the European Commission, HERMES brings together expertise in biodiversity, geology, sedimentology, physical oceanography, microbiology and biogeochemistry so that the relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning can be better understood.
HERMES study sites extend from the Arctic to the Black Sea and include biodiversity hotspots such as cold seeps, cold-water coral mounds and reefs, canyons and anoxic environments, and communities found on open slopes. These important systems require urgent study because of their possible biological fragility, unique genetic resources, global relevance to carbon cycling and susceptibility to global change and human impact.
HERMES started work in April 2005, and will run for 4 years. The HERMES consortium comprises scientific teams from 50 research organisations, universities and small businesses from around Europe and neighbouring countries. Supported by €15.5M from the European Commission's Framework Six Programme, HERMES is one of the largest marine science research projects in Europe today.
In an age where the marine environment is under ever-increasing pressure, HERMES has huge relevance for today's society. In addition to the cutting edge science programme, HERMES is pioneering a way forward in providing relevant and accessible information for policy makers and governmental advisors, so that new policy decisions can be made using the latest, most up-to-date facts from reliable, authoritative sources.
So much remains unknown about our oceans, and exploring and understanding this vast realm requires huge effort and resources. HERMES is committed to training the next generation of marine scientists through its extensive outreach and training programme.