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The SCHEMA Project

The SCHeMA system will be designed so that it can be deployed from different facilities, i.e.: platform, moored buoy, boat, unmanned surface or submersible vehicles, and landers. It will acquire a wealth of information, at high spatial and temporal resolution, on a range of chemical hazardous compounds coupled to master variables. Such a rich database offers the possibility to gain insights into phenomena that are currently poorly understood but are significant for understanding aquatic ecosystems functioning, for predictions of toxicological impact and, ultimately, for sustainable management based on scientific knowledge.

SCHeMA will contribute to enhance ocean observing capabilities and support policies of several EU directives

SCHeMA specific objectives

SCHeMA is structured according to a fourfold objective:

  • Development of an array of novel chemical sensors taking advantage of various innovative analytical solutions such as:

    • biopolymer-based gel-integrated microsensors for direct, reagent-free, voltammetric detection of toxic/essential fractions of a range of trace metals (inorganic and methyl mercury; inorganic arsenic species; bioavailable fraction of cadmium, lead and copper)

    • solid state ion-selective membrane sensors coupled to an on-line desalination module allowing reagent-free, potentially calibration-free, detection of nutrients (nitrate, nitrite, phosphate)

    • mid-infrared optical sensors for the detection of harmful VOCs

    • optical devices involving selective reversible immobilization of target molecules to sense relevant algae species and toxins (saxitoxin, ovatoxin / palytoxin).

  • Incorporation of the novel sensors into miniature, low power consumption, multichannel probes based on Eco-Design-ISO/IEC standards and EnOcean technology as well as energy harvesting devices.

  • Development of dedicated wired/wireless communication network and web-based front-end system compatible with EU standard requirements (OGC-SWE, INSPIRE, EMODnet, sensorML, SEIS).

  • Evaluation, optimization, validation and demonstration of the SCHeMA sensing tools and integrated system via short and long-term field applications in Atlantic and Mediterranean coastal areas.

Expected SCHeMA outcomes

  • product-based – a suite of powerful field-validated submersible chemical sensor probes and a smart multi-sensor probe Hw/Sw interface platform ready for post-industrial production;

  • applied – water quality assessment of various marine ecosystems and identification of the critical parameters considered relevant for successful management of water quality;

  • scientific – a better understanding of the bio-geochemical processes occurring in selected EU coastal areas that is fundamental to predict the impact of land-based pollution on water quality of vulnerable coastal ecosystems and for the development of knowledge-based protective policies of the marine environment;

  • Socio-economic – promotion of new skills and jobs; new collaborations and business opportunities in the world market of marine sensing and monitoring.

Project title:
Integrated In Situ Chemical MApping Probes
Project acronym:
EU FP7- Ocean 2013.2– Grant Agreement 614002
EU financial contribution:
€ 5.2 million
Start date:
October 1, 2013
48 months
Mary-Lou Tercier-Waeber
University of Geneva (CH)