Site details

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              Other Site (estuaries, pelagic, deep-sea)

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DYFAMED site. Photo: Météo-France

Synoptic description of site:

Instrumented pelagic station in the Ligurian Deep Sea(Northwestern Mediterranean Sea)

Extensive description of site:

This is an instrumented pelagic station in the Ligurian Deep Sea, Northwestern Mediterranean, located 28 nautical miles offshore, off the Liguro-provençal current. The water depth is 2300 m and the seabed comprises soft sediments. The site is located in the Northwestern part of a central divergent zone characterised by high salinity (>38.30) and a shallow thermocline during summer; deep mixing events may occur during winter.


Description of fauna and flora:

There is an oligotrophic to mesotrophic productivity regime. Epi- and mesopelagic communities include Calanus helgolandicus, Euchirella rostrata and Salpa maxima; nekton includes planktivorous fishes, turtles and cetaceans (Balaenoptera physalus, Stenella coeruleoalba). There is a deep soft-sediment benthos community

Pristiness: Low


Located 28 nautical miles offshore, off the Liguro-provencal current. Deep station (2300m)

Human impact:

This is very low : off the coastal Ligurian current there is moderate shipping traffic and no legal fishing activity. The site is included in the French-Italian “whales sanctuary”, LIFE program.


Monthly surveys are conducted using CNRS oceanographic ships (3 h transit time from Nice harbour). Laboratories and accomodation rooms are available at the Observatoire de Villefranche-sur-Mer and the Laboratoire d’océanographie de Villefranche (LOV). The site is instrumented permanently with sediment traps and a Meteorological buoy operated by Météo-France.

Available database and website:

Descriptions of methods and results are available on line (data available from 1991) on the DYFAMED site or through JGOFS-France data base: (


Commitment and ongoing research:

Physical, chemical and biological (bacteria, phytoplankton, mesozooplankton and macroplankton) parameters are currently monitored in the water column.