A seamount of the Alborán Sea pays tribute to Francesc Pagès

Alborán Sea map with the seamounts collected in the atlas; top: Francesc Pagès seamount. Picture: UICN
14 Abril 2016

Located in the southwestern Mediterranean, the seamount has been named after Francesc Pagès in memory of the ICM scientist, biologist, and expert in gelatinous plankton and jellyfish. This seamount was mapped during the SARAS international campaign, on board of the Ramon Margalef vessel, and is included in the Atlas of the Mediterranean Seamounts and Seamount-Like Structures, recently published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The tribute was proposed by Gemma Ercilla, from the Department of Marine Geosciences of ICM, "for his reputation as a biologist and for his human quality, shown in our conversations at the institute and in sporadic meetings abroad", argues the researcher.

The atlas

Edited by Maurizio Wurtz and Marzia Rovere, with the collaboration of twenty experts including the ICM scientists Gemma Ercilla and Belén Alonso. 242 seamounts and other elements of the Mediterranean relief are described in the atlas. Moreover, the descriptions of the mapped seamounts also include information about their ecosystems and biodiversity. "It is an extraordinary compilation of all existing seamounts of the different Mediterranean basins that includes morphological characteristics and details of the benthic and pelagic communities associated with the relief", says Ercilla.

The document will facilitate oceanographic research as well as it is a resource to take action into conservation and policies. As Gemma Ercilla argues, "undersea mapping is important to better know how is the seafloor, and at the same time, it is essential for several studies of different disciplines involved in oceanography".

Despite the advance that represents a document of such a magnitude, there are still a huge number of regions to explore in our seas and oceans. "Even in areas previously mapped, technological progress allows to obtain higher resolution images, essential to understand the complexity of many of the geological and physical processes that determine submarine relief and ecosystems", concludes the researcher.

Other tributes

The atlas includes more seamounts dedicated to the memory of researchers and science in general, like the seamount Ramon Margalef, devoted to the famous ecologist and the vessel of the Instituto Español de Oceanografía. In addition, scientists from another campaign on board the ship Hesperides, name another seamount of the Alboran Sea with the name of the boat.


Marzia Rovere, Maurizio Wurtz (eds.). “Atlas of the Mediterranean seamounts and seamount-like structures”. UICN, 2015.


Francesc Pagès in the dissection lab at the ICM, with some individuals of jellyfish. Photo: E. Broglio.