Sampling strategy defined by the objectives
The SAMM I campaigns, i.e. the first cycle, took place over two distinct seasons (winter 2011/12 and summer 2012) over the entire metropolitan EEZ extended to neighbouring European waters (559,000 km²). The sampling area was divided into three bathymetric strata (relative to depth) covering the continental shelf, the slope and the abyssal plain.
The SAMM II campaigns corresponding to the 2nd cycle (7-10 years later) will be broken down by seafront and are scheduled for 2019 and 2021.
The SAMM I campaigns are profoundly changing the way we represent the distribution of marine animals. Among the most surprising results, the bottlenose dolphin, which was described as an essentially coastal species in the Mediterranean, actually has an undeniably offshore winter distribution.
In the Atlantic, biologists have discovered the presence of the harbour porpoise along the coasts of the Bay of Biscay in winter as far as the Basque Country and have shown a strong area of concentration around the Pas-de-Calais Strait. Its summer distribution is also a surprise, this animal, which was thought to be very coastal, has been encountered as far as the continental slope off Brittany.
Establishing new offshore marine protected areas
The lessons learned from SAMM greatly improve our knowledge of cetaceans and seabirds. These results have already been applied for the first time: they feed into the process of designating new Natura 2000 sites offshore and contribute to the evaluation of the existing coastal network and its coherence in relation to the global distribution of species.SAMM Report