Ocean Margin Exchange (OMEX)

Deploying a zooplankton net
Deploying a zooplankton net ©

OMEX aims were to study, measure and model the physical, chemical and biological processes and fluxes happening at the ocean margin — the interface between the open  Atlantic ocean and the European continental shelf. It served as a basis for the development of predictive models of global environmental changes on the oceanic system and, more specifically, on the coastal zone.

Who ran the project?

OMEX was led by the late Professor Wollast from Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium and ran from 1993 to 2000. It brought together over 100 scientists from 40 research centres and universities throughout Europe. It was jointly funded by the European Union within the Marine Science and Technology (MAST) programme and contributions from participating countries.

BODC was responsible for the management of all data arising from the project.

Field campaign

The field data campaign of 80 research cruises took place in two of the three project phases along the European continental shelf. The studies included regions of both narrow-shelf and broad-shelf environments.

Basic multidisciplinary measurements taken included

OMEX II-I, also known as the ‘Bridging Phase’, ran from June 1996 until May 1997. This period was used to improve the outputs from OMEX I and to enhance the strategies for OMEX II-II.

How were the data collected?

Measuring equipment deployed during the OMEX cruises included

Further information about the project may be obtained from the official web site.

Data management goal

Our main goal was to provide harmonised management of the field data, both for the benefit of the project scientists and to ensure that OMEX left a legacy of fully documented archived data for comparative studies in years to come.

The data management challenges presented by OMEX were beyond anything attempted in the marine field before. BODC’s approach to the project's data management, an important element of any large programme, is now viewed internationally as a model for other projects to follow.

The OMEX data set

The data management activities resulted in the release of three CDROM publications

The data are also held in BODC’s databanks so subsets may also be obtained by request from  the BODC Enquiries Officer.

Related OMEX pages at BODC

OMEX-I CDROM     Other links

Related external links

Official OMEX web site