Biodiversity in the Open Ocean: Mapping, Monitoring and Modelling (BOOMS)

The BOOMS project aims to provide the best possible characterisation of oceanic seascapes (habitats defined by physical, chemical or biological characteristics), and its relationship to Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBV) globally. It will produce a >10-year time series of seascapes based on 4-km resolution remote sensing data over the global ocean, combining independent datasets from advanced algorithms of ocean colour and sea surface temperature.

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Illustration with ocean and line drawings of fish and zoo and phtyoplankton

Montage of images showing planet earth with small pictures surrounding it; of a fishing boat, factory, fish in a market and marine litter

Open ocean biodiversity

Increasing pressure due to anthropogenic drivers is leading to a reduction of global biodiversity and its associated benefits at the planetary scale. In open ocean (seafloor depth greater than 200m) the most important direct drivers of biodiversity loss are fishing and extraction of seafood, with a lesser but rapidly increasing importance of climate change, pollution and invasive species.

These drivers have accelerated in the last 50 years and they are predicted to continue, despite international efforts in the last decades. To guide further action, it is, therefore, urgent and important to develop “fit-for-purpose” observation tools. These observations should be capable of assessing and monitoring how the community structure and function of coastal ecosystems respond to the anthropogenic and natural drivers in a changing climate.

View the Science case studies  view the Impact case studies


Project objectives

The main objective of BOOMS is to provide the best possible characterisation of seascapes. The project will produce a >10-year time series of seascapes with a 4-km spatial resolution at a monthly and weekly frequency at the global scale. Combining these data with biodiversity related data sources, from existing in situ data, and ocean circulation modelling. The data from the project will be exploited to perform both science and impact case studies. 

Main objectives:

  1. Identify and characterise critical applications (Science Case Studies) of remote sensing to study open ocean biodiversity, with a focus on dynamic seascapes.

  2. Develop a global dataset and evaluate its application for each Science Case Study.

  3. Engage with the community of biodiversity stakeholders (scientific and Early Adopters) and the remote sensing community throughout the project.

  4. Define the activities necessary to utilise current and planned sensors to detect measures of marine biodiversity; or define new approaches, if the existing ones are not considered capable to fulfil the targeted science objectives.

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The BOOMS project is funded by the European Space Agency (ESA)
European Space Agency Logo in white

Latest updates from the project

Project update  |  20 June 2024

BOOMS work presented at 8th international conference on Big Data & Data Science for Official Statistics

Josean Fernandes from the BOOMS project recently presented work from BOOMS at this high profile UN event.

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Project update  |  15 November 2023

BOOMS attending International Ocean Colour Science Meeting 2023

This week Victor Martinez-Vicente will be at the International Ocean Colour Science Meeting 2023 in Florida where he'll be co-chairing a Breakout Workshop about marine biodiversity metrics from space. He will also be presenting a poster...

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Project update  |  13 October 2023

GEO BON Global Conference: Monitoring Biodiversity for Action

Marc Paganini from the European Space Agency gave a presentation at the GEO BON Global Conference about the work of the BOOMS project. The Global Conference on Biodiversity and Monitoring was organized by GEO BON and its partners between 10-13...

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Project update  |  15 September 2023

ICES Annual Science Conference 2023

Dr Jose A. Fernandes recently presented BOOMS work at the annual ICES Annual Science Conference 2023.

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Project update  |  21 April 2023

Dr Peter Miller presents at Southwest Marine Ecosystems Conference

This week Dr Peter Miller presented to over 100 participants at the annual event in Plymouth with a talk entitled: "Ocean fronts and the distribution of marine life" which included his BOOMS related work on ocean fronts. Peter's...

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Project update  |  07 March 2023

Presentation at SCAR Krill Expert Group (SKEG) workshop

Dr Angus Atkinson will be presenting his work on Krill at the upcoming SKEG meeting with the theme of "Development of Krill stock hypothesis (KSH)", he is also a scientific advisor on the group.  Angus is the Work Package lead for...

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Project update  |  10 February 2023

BOOMS presentation for the GEO AquaWatch webinar

BOOMS Project coordinator Dr Victor Martinez-Vicente co-led the GEO AquaWatch webinar entitled 'BIOMONDO, BiCOME and BOOMS – Towards Earth Observation supported monitoring of freshwater and marine biodiversity' with BIOMONDO Project...

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Project update  |  24 January 2023

Sofia Darmaraki on her research trip to Plymouth Marine Laboratory

In late 2022 Sofia Darmaraki from the BOOMS project left the National & Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA) to spend several weeks at Plymouth Marine Laboratory where she joined other participants working on a method for...

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Project update  |  02 December 2022

2022 Workshop on Earth Observation for Ecosystem Accounting

The EO4EA 2022 workshop recently took place between 28th Nov - 1st Dec 2022. Project Lead Dr Victor Martinez-Vicente presented the work of the BOOMS project to over 100 attendees.  The event was organized by the European Space Agency in...

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Project update  |  18 October 2022

BOOMS PI attends Biodiversity in Coastal Ecosystems Workshop

The Copernicus Biodiversity in Coastal Ecosystems Workshop took place between 11-12 October 2022. Dr Victor Martinez-Vicente gave a presentation about the BOOMS project to a variety of stakeholders.

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Project update  |  25 February 2022

BOOMS project kicks-off

February marked the launch of the Biodiversity in the Open Ocean: Mapping, Monitoring and Modelling (BOOMS) project led by Plymouth Marine Laboratory and funded by the European Space Agency (ESA). The kick-off meeting brought together experts...

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The project utitlises expertise from three partner institutes. View our participants page to find out more about the BOOMS team.