The ECORD Science Operator (ESO) is a consortium of European scientific institutions formed to undertake mission-specific platform (MSP) expeditions for ECORD on behalf of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (2003-2013) and the International Ocean Discovery Program launched in October 2013. ESO comprises the British Geological Survey (BGS), the MARUM, University of Bremen and the European Petrophysics Consortium (EPC). BGS acts as consortium coordinator responsible for overall ESO management under a contract from EMA as designated by the ECORD Council. The EPC is contracted to carry out logging and petrophysical activities. The University of Bremen is contracted to carry out curation and data management tasks.

To date, ESO has completed seven MSP operations, 4 expeditions from 2003-2013 and 3 expeditions since 2013. ESO is preparing one expedition to the Gulf of Corinth (Greece) in 2017, and 2 expeditions to the polar regions in 2018-2020 (see above MSP schedule).

ESO Tasks

  • As an Implementing Organization for MSPs, ESO has the task of operational and scientific planning; engineering development, platform and equipment procurement; contracting; essential training of personnel; safety surveys; data management; core curation; onshore science parties (OSP); publications; outreach and other related pre-, intra- and post-operational activities.
  • ESO also undertakes the staffing of MSP science parties in consultation with USSSP, J-DESC and ESSAC.
  • It is ESO’s responsibility to ensure that MSPs comply with international and national regulations and obligations.
  • ESO provides facilities and staff to ensure the maintenance of capability in science operations for ECORD on a year-by-year basis.


Past ESO members

  • Timothy Brewer, University of Leicester – EPC Manager 2003-2007
  • Alister Skinner, BGS-Edinburgh – ESO Operations Manager 2003-2008
  • Dan Evans, BGS-Edinburgh – ESO Science Manager 2003-2010
  • Colin Graham, BGS-Edinburgh – ESO Data Manager 2003-2011
  • Albert Gerdes, MARUM, Bremen – ESO Media Relations 2003-2015
  • Alan Stevenson, BGS-Edinburgh – ESO Outreach Manager 2005-2016
  • Annick Fehr, RWTH-Aachen – EPC Staff Scientist 2008-2016

To date, ESO has completed seven scientific expeditions of mission-specific platforms (MSPs). Four expeditions in the first phase of IODP (2003 to 2012), which are the Arctic Coring Expedition (ACEX), the Tahiti Sea-Level Expedition, the New Jersey Shallow Shelf Expedition and the Great Barrier Reef Environmental Changes Expedition. Three expeditions in the second phase of IODP (2013-2023), which are the Baltic Sea Paleoenvironment Expedition, the Atlantis Massif Serpentinization and Life Expedition and the Chicxulub K-Pg Impact Crater Expedition.

ESO is preparing three MSP expeditions for the next three years: to the Eastern Mediterranean Sea in 2017 (Exp 381) and to the polar regions, in the Arctic in 2018 (Exp 377) and the Antarctica (Exp 373) in 2019-2020.

MSP Schedule