Workshop on the Regional Environmental Plan for the Area of the Northern Mid Atlantic Ridge

25 Nov 2019 - 29 Nov 2019

Evora, Portugal
  1. Call for submission of nominations of experts to participate in the workshop (Action required by 31 August  2019); and
  2. Call for submission of relevant scientific information that can contribute to the workshop objectives (Action required by 30 September 2019)



The International Seabed Authority (ISA), in collaboration with the Atlantic Regional Environmental Management Plan (REMP) Project (funded by European Union) and the Government of Portugal, will convene the First Workshop on REMP for the Area of the Northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR), at the University of Évora, Évora, Portugal, from 25-29 November 2019.

The workshop aims (i) to review and analyze seafloor and water column ecosystem data from the northern mid-Atlantic ridge (MAR), (ii) to synthesize environmental data, faunal distribution, faunal dispersal capabilities and distances, genetic connectivity, patterns of biodiversity, community structure, ecosystem function, and ecological proxy variables along and across the northern MAR, (iii) to review current exploration activity within contract areas and distribution of resources (polymetallic sulfides) along the northern MAR, (iv) to describe potential areas that could be vulnerable to exploitation of mineral resources in the Area and would require enhanced management measures,  and (v) to describe potential areas in the Area that could be reserved from exploitation in order to achieve effective protection of the marine environment, including through the designation of areas of particular environmental interests (APEIs).

The results of this first workshop will provide scientific inputs to the second workshop on the regional environmental plan for Area of the northern MAR to be held in St. Petersburg, Russia, in June 2020, which will focus on identifying specific management measures for developing draft elements for inclusion in the REMP.

I.  Submission of nomination of experts to participate in the workshop

Members of ISA, in particular sponsoring States, as well as contractors and relevant international and regional organizations, projects/programs and initiatives, and relevant academic institutions/scientific groups, are invited to nominate experts to participate in this workshop. . A description of the workshop background, objectives and expected outputs is available in the workshop Terms of Reference for ease of reference

Nomination of experts should be prepared recognizing the scientific and technical nature of the workshop in which participants will be expected to provide and analyze scientific data and information related to the workshop objectives through team work with other workshop participants. In light of this, participants should be scientists or individuals able to understand and interpret scientific data, and/or should have access to relevant ecological and biological data on marine ecosystems, habitats and species, and/or physical/ oceanographic/geological data of the northern MAR area.

The maximum number of participants will be limited to forty to enable the workshop participants   to effectively undertake specific tasks of the scientific analysis and synthesis process in small groups. The selection of experts by the Secretariat of ISA, in collaboration with the Atlantic REMP Project, will be based on scientific and technical expertise and experience, taking into account balanced geographic representation and gender balance.

The selection of experts will be made on the basis of the following criteria:

  1. Good scientific knowledge and research experience, with peer-reviewed publications, in deep-sea biodiversity, biogeography and/or ecology of the MAR;
  2. Experts with access to unpublished, high quality biodiversity and/or environmental data from seafloor ecosystems in the MAR;
  3. Good experience and expertise in the scientific design of area-based management tools, including areas of particular environmental interests (APEIs);
  4. Good experience in environmental management of seabed activities; and
  5. Good knowledge and experience in resource exploration and exploitation activities/technologies of polymetallic sulphides

Nominations should include the name and full contact details of nominee(s) and should be submitted via an official letter addressed to the Director of Office of Environmental Management and Mineral Resources of ISA, and signed by the relevant authorities, contractors, organizations/institutions, and programmes/initiatives/scientific groups. All nominations must be accompanied by a curriculum vitae clearly indicating the areas of expertise and experience of the nominee, relating to the above-noted selection criteria. Nominations should be sent as soon as possible, but no later than 31 August 2019, via e-mail to

Limited funding will be available by the organizers to finance the participation of the selected experts eligible for funding, in particular experts from developing States.

The results of selection of the experts will be available on the ISA website in due course, not later than 30 September 2019. Meeting documents will be also posted on the ISA website in due course.

II.  Submission of information to support the objectives of the workshop

Members of ISA, in particular sponsoring States, as well as contractors and relevant international and regional organizations, projects/programs and initiatives, and relevant academic institutions/scientific groups, are also invited to provide relevant information in support of the objectives of the workshop.

In terms of data/information, particular needs have been identified in relation to:

  • biodiversity (e.g. species/taxon richness and eveness);
  • community structure (e.g. abundance/diversity of different components of the biota, species/Operational Taxonomic Unit (OTU) structure);
  • biogeography (e.g. species range, degree of species overlap, community similarity);
  • genetic connectivity (e.g. shared haplotypes, spatial scales of genetic connectivity);
  • ecosystem functions and drivers (e.g. C-cycling, nutrient fluxes, methane/hydrogen sulphide metabolism, geomorphology, slopes);
  • habitat modeling (e.g. habitat diversity) ; and
  • distribution of hydrothermal systems/polymetallic sulfides along the northern MAR.

Submission can be made in the form of peer-reviewed articles, reports/documents, datasets, maps or any other appropriate forms.

In order to allow the Secretariat to prepare necessary scientific and technical input for the abovementioned workshop in a timely manner, information should be submitted to the ISA Secretariat as soon as possible, but no later than 30 September 2019, via an email addressed to, For those who can provide datasets, the Secretariat will arrange a necessary modality of data transfer, upon receiving the indication of data provision via email.

For enquiries, please contact:
Luciana Genio, Environmental Analyst, Office of Environmental Management and Mineral Resources, International Seabed Authority (


Presentation | Workshop Background including the Key Results of the relevant previous workshops and expected outputs: ISA’s approach for the REMP development; Jihyun Lee, Director of Office of Environmental Management and Mineral Resources, ISA

Presentation | Setting the context for the workshop scenario planning and proposed geographic scope | Phil Weaver, Seascape Consultants, UK

Presentation | Approaches for Spatial Planning, Area Based Management Tools | Patrick N Halpin, Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab, Duke University

Presentation | Approaches to Cumulative Impact Assessment | Skipton Woolley, Piers Dunstan, Scott Foster, Keith Hayes, Jeff Dambacher, Mike Fuller, Jason
Hartog, Geoff Hosack, David Peel, Kate Thornborough, Nadine Marshall & Rick Stuart-Smith; Australia National Science Agency

Presentation | REA Report | Phil Weaver & Rachel Boschen – Rose; Seascape Consultants, Romsey, UK

Presentation | Review of regional scientific data/information compiled | Patrick Halpin, Jesse Cleary, Sarah DeLand, Elisabetta Menini, Sena
McCrory, Kharia Ismail, Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab, Duke University, USA

Presentation | The non-vent benthic fauna of the mid-Atlantic Ridge | Lénaïck Menot, Ifremer and Tina Molodstova – Shirshov Institute of Oceanology RAS

Presentation | Pelagic Habitats | Monty Priede
Oceanlab, University of Aberdeen, UK Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Greece

Presentation | Active, Inactive, and extinct sulfide occurrences: biodiversity and ecosystem setting, including connectivity | Cindy Lee Van Dover, Duke University

Presentation | Geological setting, distribution, potential resources and prospects for exploitation of SMS deposits | Georgy Cherkashov, VNIIOkeangeologia
St. Petersburg, Russia

Presentation | Considerations for developing a REMP from geological/resources perspectives | Pedro Madureira, ISA Legal and Technological Commission and Department of Geosciences/Institute of Earth Sciences –  Évora University

Presentation | Potential Mining Impacts (Review of current exploration activity within contract areas and distribution of resources along the northern MAR  | AM Thurnherr, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory