The core mission of the Integrated Marine Observing Network (IMON) is to bring together UK sustained ocean observing.

Open all Close all

Mooring deployment and recovery. Credit: National Oceanography Centre, UK

IMON provides centralised co-ordination for UK sustained ocean observing across marine sectors to enable a sustainable and stable integrated marine observing network, capable of meeting UK national and international marine science obligations and commitments.

The core mission of IMON is to bring together UK sustained ocean observing including Physical, Chemical, and Biological components, in order to meet Policy, Societal, Scientific, and Operational requirements.

IMON will ensure this network is sustainable, resilient and fit-for-purpose. It contributes to UK efforts to support the UK Marine Vision (clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse seas and ocean) and to UK global leadership of climate diplomacy and as a key contributor to global initiatives, such as the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS).

Meeting these obligations and commitments requires a marine observing network that engages those tasked with observing and understanding the catchment-to-coast continuum, coastal and open-ocean connectivity, benthic-pelagic coupling and air-sea interactions. The IMON therefore looks to work across disciplines and across organisational, sectoral and national boundaries to develop a coordinated approach to marine observing. This will provide the tools that enable reliable and timely assessment and prediction of the state and behaviour of our regional seas for all users and stakeholders and to also support UK commitments to international ocean observations and governance.

The overarching aim of the IMON is to ensure a sustainable, resilient and fit-for-purpose ocean observing system for UK seas and beyond, allowing for national and international commitments to be met.

There are a number of key objectives to support this:

  1. Work towards establishing an optimal UK ocean observing system that incorporates and combines best practice field, laboratory, analytical and ocean modelling capability.
  2. Ensure the effective collection, delivery, storage, accessibility and security of data from UK ocean observations.
  3. Provide regular assessment of the capability, suitability and cost-effectiveness of an integrated UK ocean observing system to meet evolving UK policy, societal, scientific and operational requirements.
  4. Identify emerging requirements, opportunities and risks by maintaining appropriate expertise within the Executive Team, Executive Team Partners and membership and through regular community engagement.
  5. Ensure that the UK ocean observing system maintains a balanced approach to marine science disciplines and adopts a whole system approach, including, but not limited to, interactions between land-ocean, air-sea and deep-shallow ocean.
  6. Maintain visibility and accessibility within the ocean observing community to ensure dissemination of information related to UK ocean observing and associated best practice.
  7. Be the point of contact for national and international enquiries and advice on UK ocean observing activity.
  8. Provide expert advice and guidance on ocean observing activities to the Marine Science Co-ordination Committee (MSCC) and other bodies to help meet the UK marine science strategies as well as UK contributions and commitments to international ocean observing activity, such as GOOS and G7 initiatives.

These objectives will be met through regular meetings of the Executive Team, biannual reporting to the MSCC and membership, and through regular participation in ocean community meetings, workshops and conferences.

Information on the UK sustained ocean observing and monitoring network can be found on United Kingdom Directory of Marine Observing Systems.

ADCP and pressure sensors.

Sensor packages.

STABLE deployment.

Photo credits: National Oceanography Centre, UK.

Chair and Vice-chair

Dr Matthew Palmer (PML) is Chair of IMON alongside the Vice-chair, Dr Alejandro Gallego (Marine Scotland Science, Scottish Government). They co-ordinate ongoing activity throughout the year and are responsible for regular reporting of group activity and progress directly to the Marine Science Co-ordination Committee (MSCC).

Executive Team

The Executive Team consists of invited representatives from institutions, organisations and industries that contribute significantly to the UK marine observing system:

Agri-Food and biosciences Cefas Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Environment Agency Joint Nature Conservation Committee Operational Oceanography Special Interest Group, Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology Marine Biological Association Marine Scotland Science Met Office National Centre for Earth Observation National Oceanography Centre Plymouth Marine Laboratory Scottish Association for Marine Science Scottish Environment Protection Agency The Crown Estate Welsh Government


Executive Team Partners are community representative groups with related interests, but that do not necessarily participate actively in ocean observing:

EuroGOOS Global Ocean Observing System Marine Environmental Data and Information Network Marine Management Organisation National Partnership for Ocean Prediction
  • Healthy and Biologically Diverse Seas Evidence Group
  • Ocean Processes Evidence Group
  • MSCC Social Science Task Group

UK-IMON membership is open to UK parties participating in, or with interests in, ocean observing.

If you are interested in the work of the UK Integrated Marine Observing Network, please contact:

Dr Matthew Palmer
Digital Science Lead
Plymouth Marine Laboratory

Email: mpa at