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ECOTRENDS - Long-term trends on high-diverse benthic communities in the NW Mediterranean Sea: Ecological consequences of climate change

Summary information

Funding:FP6 - Marie Curie Actions
Ec contribution:158219
Start date:2005-03-01
End date:2007-02-28
Duration:24 months
Coordinator:Joaquim Garrabou (
Organisation:National Council for Scientific Research – France
Themes:Biological impacts
Regio:Mediterranean Sea
Keywords:Social Aspects; Scientific Research, Coordination; Cooperation; Regional Development; Information; Media; Education; Training; Evaluation; Biodiversity; population genetics; climate change; conservation; GIS; landscape ecology; Mediterranean benthic communities; underwater images; long-term series
Project name:ECOTRENDS - Long-term trends on high-diverse benthic communities in the NW Mediterranean Sea: Ecological consequences of climate change
Project summary:Abstract
Human activities have extensively altered the global environment, changing biological cycles, transforming land and oceans, and enhancing the mobility of biota. These changes have also altered the biological diversity producing important ecosystem and societal consequences. The need to collect long-term data sets has been stressed by marine ecologists because such data provide baselines to verify trends in marine communities. Long-term approaches produce meaningful data, essential for the conservation of biodiversity and the successful management of marine ecosystems. The Mediterranean coralligenous benthic communities are valuable from the ecological viewpoint, beautiful as seascapes, and unique communities. However, they are among the most endangered Mediterranean ecosystems due to overexploitation of living resources, urban development, anthropogenic effects on water quality, and the increase of diving tourism. In addition to this scenario, the mass mortality event of invertebrates detected in 1999 and 2003 has been associated with elevated seawater temperatures supposedly related to global climate change. Therefore, the aim of this project is to understand the ecological structure and dynamics of NW Mediterranean coralligenous communities, which are considered particularly sensitive to global climate change. To achieve this goal this study integrates complementary approaches to enhance our ecological knowledge and to determine how resilient Mediterranean communities are. This scientific project is based on the analysis of decadal trends of two photographic series of these communities and on population genetics experiments of key species. The expected results will provide the proper scientific context for biological conservation of the diverse Mediterranean coralligenous communities.