Earth & Sea Science

ANTARES, as its acronym implies -Astronomy with a Neutrino Telescope and Abyss environmental RESearch–  is not only a Neutrino telescope but also a deep-sea cabled observatory for sea and earth sciences. This infrastructure represents an amazing potential of discovery for several disciplines in this field.

To understand deep-sea environment, scientists need to observe. Most oceanographic instruments on the seafloor are not connected with the surface: they have to run on batteries and store data locally. Scientists have access to their data after the recovery of the instrument.

Cabled observatories like ANTARES, or MARS (Monterey Bay, USA) or NEPTUNE Canada (West Coast of Vancouver, Canada), remove these restrictions in providing not only electrical power and real-time data acquisition but also the possibility for scientists to interact directly with their sensors. They can control and monitor them in reaction to the observation of peculiar events. New opportunities are also given to marine sciences and geosciences: listening to mammals, bioluminescent organism observation, geodynamics characterization and seismic alerts, deep-sea dynamics studies varying from mesoscale eddies to internal waves, and global change studies and its consequence on marine circulation and biodiversity.

Why we observe the Mediterranean Sea?

The oceans, more than continents, are the contributor to global climate regulation. The Mediterranean Sea is often considered as a “mini-ocean”, where time- and spatial scales of observed phenomenon are shortened. Observation and modelization of processes in the Mediterranean Sea help scientists to better understand the effect of climate change on the oceans and reciprocally.

Overview of Earth and sea sciences in Antares
An overview of Earth and Sea science equipment and topics in Antares.
Un aperçu des sciences de la terre et de la mer sur Antares

ANTARES is a real time infrastructure connected to shore opening new opportunities for environmental sciences. The optical sensors of the telescope are used for bioluminescence studies. Acoustical sensors are used for marine mammal research. An extension to this existing infrastructure was added to the seabed network in the form of a secondary junction box and an Instrumented Interface Module (MII). In November 2010, during the so-called TEXREX operation,IFREMER deployed a secondary junction box (SJB) linked to the main ANTARES junction box.

Secondary junction box MII
Secondary junction box (SJB) Instrumented Interface Module (MII)


On the SJB, providing power and data transmission, 3 instrumented modules have been connected, providing real-time data collection

  • The first module is a Deep Sea Net node, technology that will provide communication between distant site linked into an observation network .
  • The second module, the Instrumented Interface Module(MII) is hosting scientific instrumentation for environmental sciences. In its actual configuration, the MII is hosting a Conductivity Temperature Depth (CTD) sensor, an oxygen sensor, a turbidity sensor, an acoustic current meter, an absolute pressure sensor (“tsunami meter”) and a very high sensitivity optical camera. The MII has been built with a wet metable socket ready to receive an acoustic modem which will allow communication with an autonmous instrumented mooring line located nearby (less than 5 km away).
  • The third module is a seismology module (broad band velocimeter (0.003-50Hz), accelerometer, differential pressure and absolute pressure 1 Hz).(broad band velocimeter (0.003-50Hz) , accelerometer, differential pressure and absolute pressure 1 Hz).
Biocam Electronic container
Biocamera front face Electronic container
Currentmeter Turbidity sensor
Currentmeter Turbidity sensor
O2, CTD; P Interlink cable
Oxygen, CTD and pressure sensors Interlink cable
Some details and instruments of the MII
Some data from the BJS
First data obtained through the Secondary Junction Box (from left to right and top to bottom : optode O2, microcat CTD, turbidity, absolute pressure)