Marine biodiversity provides many ecosystem services upon which humans depend. However, biodiversity is undergoing profound changes, due to anthropogenic pressures, climatic warming and natural variation. Proper understanding of biodiversity patterns and ongoing changes is needed to assess consequences for ecosystem integrity, in order to be in a position to manage the natural resources.
Marine biodiversity varies over large scales of time and space, and requires research strategies beyond the tradition and capabilities of classic research. Research that covers these scales requires a permanent international pan-European network of observation stations with an optimized and standardized methodology. In EMBOS the needed large scale network of research locations in Europe will be installed to assess long-term changes in marine biodiversity and their possible causes taking into account natural and anthropogenic gradients. EMBOS will extend and optimize this observatory system, including novel interdisciplinary approaches for research. The cooperation will lead to a focused and cost effective long term research agenda for EU marine observatories.