CIESM launches multi-disciplinary cruise to explore deep Tyrrhenian Sea
21 July 2005, CIESM News

CIESM renews with a century-old tradition, launching its first multi-disciplinary research cruise in 80 years to explore poorly studied areas in the northern Sicily Channel and the south-Tyrrhenian Sea.

A summer voyage is planned from July 21-31, with scientists from nine marine Institutes and Universities, to investigate water exchanges and biological fluxes between the eastern and western Mediterranean sub-basins. They will examine the spread of exotic species from the Indo-Pacific region; identify deep-sea mounts, which are hot spots of diversity, with an emphasis on microbial species and implement high-resolution mapping.

The aim of the cruise is to monitor the impact of change: is a global warming affecting hydrological change in salinity and temperature? Have exotic migrants from the Red Sea moved further north of the Mediterranean sub-tropical zone where they have settled in recent decades? The scientists will probe recently discovered deep-sea mounts, which are hot spots of diversity, also looking for new microbes. They will also look for shifts and changes in the food webs which may be effecting fisheries.

The CIESM tradition of multidisciplinary research field activity was first initiated by Prince Albert I of Monaco at the end of the 19th century, leading to a new era in oceanographic studies. Under his leadership as the first President of CIESM, our International Commission launched its first exploratory oceanographic campaigns as early as the 1920s under the flags of Italian, French and Spanish research vessels. Some of the initial cruises were carried out by two Italian ships, the Tremili and the Marsigli, in the Bosporus and the Strait of Messina. CIESM is proud to renew with this tradition. Thanks to the support of the Italian Environment Ministry, Consorzio Interuniversitario per le Scienze del Mare (CoNISMa), and the National Research Council, the first CIESM cruise of the 21st century, called CIESM-SUB1, will be carried out on board the Italian research vessel Universitatis. A second CIESM-SUB2 is slated for December 6-24th on the Italian Urania. The scientists will be embarking on the oceanographic cruise in Naples.

In another CIESM first its press and communication officer will join the scientists and record a daily diary of the scientific investigations as they unfold. The reports and progress of the vessel will be found on the CIESM web site Journalists and scientists from around the world will be encouraged to send in their questions.

* Check daily log reports sent by Siri Campbell, on board the Universitatis.