Aix-Marseille has a long tradition of different levels of observation of the marine environment and of its continental interface. In 2006, these different activities were reunited under the Observation Service (S.O) headed by the COM and in association with several units of OT-Med. The goal is to gather data on strategic sites and to make these data available to the scientific community, both as a contribution to the better understanding of the functioning of the marine ecosystem and as an aide for the detection of medium- or long-term evolution in response to climate change and human impacts. Attention is paid primarily to the long-term survey of physico-chemical parameters in the open Sea (the impact of regional climate on hydrology: MOOSE-HYDROCHANGES; coastal-offshore gradient in the context of the MOOSE programme in collaboration with MERMEX. Observation of meso- and bathy-pelagic environments will benefit from the support of deep-sea observatories (ANTARES, MEUST). On shorter spatio-temporal scales, the SE French coast is monitored in the framework of the national SOMLIT network
The ecological marine laboratories of Marseille have also been involved for many years in biodiversity observation, mostly on shallow-water rocky ecosystems, the most productive and sensitive zone of the coast. Key, flagship, endangered, engineer or invasive species are monitored over time and a network of temperature sensors has been deployed at scales relevant to biological observations. Actions are undertaken in connection with local partners (GIP Calanques, Ville de Marseille, Conseil Régional PACA, Monaco Governement, local MPAs ) and with the Marine Protected Areas Agency (AAMP).
The EMSO objective is to allow scientists all other the world to openly access long-term time series addressing the seafloor, the sub-seafloor and the water column. This capability is crucial for observing episodic natural processes and for understanding the coupling between systems (e.g. the episodic release of methane from the seabed possibly affecting climate change, the relationship between earthquakes, tsunami generation and submarine slope failures, the short term biogeochemical processes affecting the marine ecosystem and the long term variability in marine ecosystems due to global change). MIO and CEREGE are key partners of the Ligurian Margin (which comprises MEUST and ANTARES and the Var delta) and the Sea of Marmara observatories