Bottoms Up

Much of what we know about the ocean floor’s topology we know from data collected by multibeam sonar systems. It is estimated that these sonar systems – which have to be lugged back and forth by ships across the surface of the sea in order to acquire soundings of the seafloor deep beneath them – have left a staggering 90% of the deep-sea bottom uncharted.

Seas, ecosystems and marine resources in general are subject to considerable pressures. Human activities and the effects of climate change, natural disasters, erosion and deposition in waters around islands and along mainland coasts can create serious effects on marine ecosystems leading to environmental degradation, biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, and eventually to social and economic stagnation.


Now, ESIN’s Greek member organization HSIN led by its charismatic president Elefterios Kechagioglou has obtained Interreg financing for high resolution seafloor mapping and bottom characterization of East Mediterranean waters, called “GeoMarine”.

The consortium is a transnational, including 8 partners: Hellenic Small Islands Network, lead partner, University of Athens/Faculty of Geology and Geoenvironment, and University of Thessaloniki/Department of Geology (Greece), Institute for Oceanology in Varna and Bulgarian Cartographic Association (Bulgaria), ORION Joint Research and Development Centre (Cyprus), South East European Research Institute on Geo Sciences (Macedonia) and the Municipality of Saranda (Albania).

The objectives of “GeoMarine” project is to develop the infrastructure (eg, boat & equipment) and technology (eg, S/W and tools) offering:

  • High-resolution mapping of the sea bottom using Multibeam echosounder, and
  • Additional technologies & Surveying practices such as sediment sampling and its application in case studies covering pool areas, islands and their surrounding area

We wish the project the best of luck. Preserving and protecting the sea is always a top priority for us islanders. We are living in it.


Loubrieu B., C. Satra, R. Cagna & al. (N. Chamot-Rooke), 2001. Cartography by multibeam echo-sounder of the Mediterranean Ridge and surrounding areas, International Commission for the Scientific Exploration of the Mediterranean Sea (CIESM) & Ifremer, sheet 1 : Morpho-bathymetry, sheet 2 : Acoustic imagery, 1:1.500.000 scale.

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