In September 2013, Oceanlab, University of Aberdeen, was awarded funding from the European Commission under the Fixed-Point Open Ocean Observatories (FixO3, www.fixo3.eu ) project to integrate the DELOS observatories into the FixO3 network. The FixO3 project seeks to integrate and harmonise the current technological, procedural and e-infrastructure processes of a network of open ocean fixed observatories in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. The inclusion of DELOS in FixO3 represents a major contribution of the project to an international programme and will ensure long-term storage of the data.
As the first phase of DELOS continues, many options for the future of the project are being considered, which will guide the development of DELOS over the 25 year life of the project.
The steering committee is evaluating the technical options for future deep-water observatories, including the development of observatories which can provide "live" images and data from the seafloor. A fibre-optic network for oil and gas is scheduled to be installed offshore Angola in 2015. The feasibility of connecting DELOS to the network is being investigated. We believe that the ability to get real-time data from the seafloor would make a major contribution to deep-water biology and education.
As oil and gas exploration spreads into deep-water worldwide, new opportunities for the installation of DELOS observatories will become available. We are currently investigating opportunities for new locations, and will press for the inclusion of observatories as a means to support the informed use of deep-water resources.
Increasing the quality of deep-water data available, and gaining access to a wider range of sites, will make a major contribution to marine science and to our understanding of climate influences on deep-ocean life. As new developments occur we will post news here.