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Porcupine Abyssal Plain (PAP)

Latitude and Longitude: 49N,16.5W
Depth: 4800m
Oceanographic Region: Northeast Atlantic

To view the on-going status of the PAP site CLICK HERE to go to

History of the Site:

Since 1989, this environmental study site in the Northeast Atlantic has become a major focus for international and interdisciplinary scientific research and monitoring including water column biogeochemistry, physics and benthic biology. The first autonomous equipment include the sub-surface sediment trap mooring and the Bathysnap seafloor time-lapse camera system (both since 1989). Since 2002, a full depth multidisciplinary mooring has been in place with sensors taking a diverse set of biogeochemical and physical measurements of the upper 1000m of the water column. In 2010, a collaboration between NERC and UK Met Office has led to the first atmospheric measurements at the site. See the full parameter list below for atmospheric and ocean data and the data frequency and transmission status.

Parameters measured: *indicates data transmission in near real-time



Depth Sensor Frequency
*wind speed and direction 3.5 m asl Gill acoustic sensor and revolution magnetic compass hourly (10 min ave)
*relative humidity 2 m asl Rotronic Hygroclip R/S sensor hourly (instantaneous reading)
*air temperature 1.5 m asl Electrical Resistance Thermometer (ERT) hourly (10 sec average)
*sea temperature 1 m (subsurface) Electrical Resistance Thermometer (ERT) hourly (10 sec average)
*atmospheric pressure 1.75 m asl Druck RPT350 pressure sensor hourly (20 sec average)
*significant wave height and period surface Datawell heave sensor; 17.5 min average hourly (over 17.5 min sample)

SURFACE OCEAN (full depth mooring. 25m indicates multidisciplinary sensor frame)

Parameter Depth Sensor Frequency
*Temperature 25m Seabird Microcat 30min
*Salinity 25m Seabird Microcat 30min
Nitrate & Nitrite (Chemistry) 25m EnviroTech NAS Not functioning since Sept.2010
*Nitrate & Nitrite (UV absorption) 25m Satlantic ISUS 4hr
*Chlorophyll 25m WETlabs (FLNTUSB) / (Seaguard-Cyclops) 6hr/1hr (only WETlabs in near real-time since Sept. 2010)
Dissolved Oxygen 25m Seaguard optode 1hr (no real-time since Sept. 2010)
Currents 25m Seaguard (DCS s/n 69) 1 hr (no real-time since Sept. 2010)
*CO2 (IR absorbance after equilibration) 25m PRO-OCEANUS 4hr (NB. 2-way communication)
*Dissolved gases 25m PRO-OCEANUS (Gas Tension Device) 4hr (NB. 2-way communication)
*Radiance 25m Radiometer (upwelling; 7 channel sensor) 4hr
*Irradiance 1m Radiometer (total irradiance; 7 channel sensor) 4hr

DEEP OCEAN (separate sub surface mooring)

Parameter Depth Sensor Frequency
Particle flux (Sediment trap) 3000m McLane Sediment Trap Variable (days)
Currents 3000m Seaguard RCM9 4h
Particle flux (Sediment trap) 3050m McLane Sediment Trap Variable (days)
Particle flux (Sediment trap) 4700m (100 m above Seabed) McLane Sediment Trap Variable (days)
Currents 4700m (100 m above Seabed) Seaguard RCM9 4h

Benthic studies:

Parameter Depth Sensor Frequency
Images seafloor (4800m) Digital camera on Bathysnap lander 8 hr (no near real-time)

In May 2010 a benthic observatory was deployed with multidisciplinary sensors for the ESONET project MODOO. This led to a successful testing of an acoustic telemetry link from the seafloor (4800m) to the mooring line. However technical problems led to transmission being lost. Recovery of the lander system is planned in 2011.

See websites


Enhancement/Modifications conducted within EuroSITES:

Continuation: Real-time and delayed-mode data on PCO2, Chlorophyll, nutrients, water column physics and downward particle flux. Benthic biology including Bathysnap time-series camera system.
Enhancement to long-term time-series: O2 , radiometers (radiance)
Short-term trials: oxygen consumption - trials of IODA6000 on fixed and drifting moorings (CNRS; 2009); first deployments of osmosampler at PAP (NOC; 2009); trials of mesozoplankton sampler McLane ZPS (NOC; 2009-2010); seafloor lander and acoustic telemetry (ESONET MODOO project May 2010)



Principal Investigator: Professor Richard Lampitt (
Scientists involved: Dr. Thanos Gkritzlais (sensors, engineering, chemistry), Sue Hartman (chemistry); Dr. Henry Ruhl and Dr. David Billett (benthic studies), Corinne Pebody (sediment traps)
Data manager: Maureen Pagnani (

Links to related websites:


EC flag

EuroSITES is a FP7 Collaborative Project coordinated by the
National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, UK

Call FP7-ENV-2007-1, grant agreement N 202955
Sub-Activity 6.4.1. Earth Observation; Monitoring the ocean interior, seafloor, and subseafloor

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