CIGESMED: Coralligenous based Indicators to evaluate and monitor the "Good Environmental Status" of the MEDiterranean coastal waters

The project also partly supports the implementation of the Directive 2008/56/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 establishing a framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy (Marine Strategy Framework Directive - MSFD) highlighting descriptors 1 (biological diversity), 2 (non-indigenous species) and 6 (sea floor integrity).

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Duration of the project: 01/03/2013 - 29/02/2016 - extented by ANR untill 31/10/2016 for CNRS?

CIGESMED’s goal is to understand the links between natural and anthropogenic pressures and ecosystem functioning to define and maintain the Good Environmental Status (GES?) of the Mediterranean Sea, by studying the typical, complex and not well known habitats built by calcareous encrusting algea, the coralligen. [1]

An integrated approach of complexity of coralligen will permit to mutualize and visualize large data collections, and manage knowledge to study ecosystems. Indicators, from communities to infra-specific level (DNA), will be co-constructed and tested by scientists, marine natural parks and reserves, and through the implementation of a “citizen science” network. The use of trees of knowledge as tools to sort, organize and illustrate very large heterogeneous sets of data will constitute an original approach.
The outcome will be an integrative assessment of the GES within the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

CIGESMED gathers scientists from France, Greece and Turkey, making it possible to access to sites and to work on the same issues in both the northwestern Mediterranean basin and the Aegean-Levantine one. Ten laboratories of marine ecology are involved. It will also involve observers from other Mediterranean countries.
It is coordinated by the IMBE, a unit of research of Aix-Marseille University, CNRS-INEE, IRD and University of Avignon.

[1(“… There is no real consensus among scientists studying benthic communities in the Mediterranean Sea about what a coralligenous habitat? is.

"...The main criterion used to define the coralligenous habitat is the presence of a bioherm of coralline algae grown at low irradiance levels and in relatively calm waters. This bioherm is always very complex in structure and, in fact, allows the development of several kinds of communities (Laborel 1961, Laubier 1966), including those dominated by living algae (upper part of the concretions), suspension feeders (lower part of the concretions, wall cavities and overhangs), borers (inside the concretions) and even soft-bottom fauna (in the sediment deposited in cavities and holes). Therefore, the coralligenous habitat should be considered more as a sub- marine landscape or community puzzle rather than a single community. …”
Enric Ballesteros, Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review, 2006, 44, 123-195)

Project in a flash

CIGESMED is a SeasEra project (E.U. FP7 ERA-NET) Towards Integrated Marine Research Strategy and Programmes, supported by the E.C. under Seasera’s theme 3: Development of indicators and science support and management tools for the determination of Good Environmental Status in the Mediterranean Sea.

CIGESMED is funded for 3 years (2012-2016) by ANR (France), GSTR (Greece) and TÜBITAK (Turkey). It involves 5 partners and 10 laboratories from these countries, as well as a SME, marine parks and stakeholders. A Board of External Advisors (BEA), consisting in independent scientists, stakeholders and policy-makers meets at an annual basis, and aims at providing advices on all aspects of the execution of the project.
Funding agencies

CIGESMED main objectives are (1) to fulfill the key gaps in the current scientific knowledge of the coralligenous habitats that make it difficult to make recommendations for protecting them by developing barcoding to enhance reliable identification for conservation and protection purposes (invasive and cryptic species?), and by studying genetic structuring and effective dispersal potential of keystone/habitat? species (2) to enhance the knowledge on coralligenous populations by deciding on reference states and setting up a network of Mediterranean experts (long term series), (3) to monitor networks, locally managed and coordinate them on a regional scale, standardizing protocols that could be applied to the entire Mediterranean and testing indices and indicators, specific to coralligenous, (4) to test population genetic criteria as tools to monitor the GES? of the coastal Mediterranean Sea, (5) to implement a “citizen science” network and (6) to use trees of knowledge as tools to sort, organize and illustrate the large heterogeneous sets of produced data and as a tool of dissemination towards scientists, decision makers, environmental managers and general public.

By working on coralligenous, a typical milieu from the Mediterranean Sea, which houses a tremendous biodiversity creating a lot of ecosystems and seascapes, and of ecological, patrimonial and socio-economical importance, CIGESMED challenges to assess its good state and functioning, to construct operational indicators usable to assess the good state of the Mediterranean coastal waters and to create the structure which will permit to carry on with monitoring after the end of the project.

To achieve these objectives CIGESMED is structured into 6 work packages beside the management, coordination and reporting one (WP1): Coralligenous assessment and threats (WP2), Indicator development and test (WP3), Innovative monitoring tools (WP4), Citizen Science network implementation (WP5), Data management and mapping (WP6) and Outreach and dissemination (WP7).

Partners and participants

Sigle Organisation name Place Country
CNRS Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
- IMBE?: Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d’Ecologie marine et continentale –
UMR? 7263
- MIO?: Institut Méditerranéen d’Océanographie – UMR 7294
- SPE?:Systèmes Pour l’Environnement, écosystemes côtiers – UMR 6134
Marseille, Corte FR
EGE Ege University
- Faculty of Fisheries
- Dokuz Eylul University [Institute of Marine Sciences and Technology & Faculty of Science]
- Cela Bayar University, Department of Biology
- Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs [General Directorate of Water Management]
Izmir, Ankara TR
LIGAMEN is not anymore member of CIGESMED Marseille FR
IFREMER Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer
- Centre de Méditerranée, Laboratoire Environnement Ressources PACA?
La Seyne sur mer FR
HCMR Hellenic Center for Marine Research
- Institute of Marine Biology, Biotechnology and Aquaculture
- Institute of Oceanography
- Institute of Marine biological Resources
Thalassocosmos GR
NMPZ National Marine Park of Zakynthos
Zakynthos GR

Participant short CV

Trombinoscope / Face gallery

Key personal

CIGESMED who’s who


IMBE?: Institut Médterranéen de Biodiversité et d’Ecologie marine et continentale

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Didier Aurelle Gérard Bellan Denise Bellan-Santini Sandrine Chenesseau
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Anne Chenuil Romain David Emilie Egea Jean-Pierre Féral
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Christian Marschal Caroline Rocher Marjorie Selva Jean Vacelet
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Sophie Dubois Walid Elguerrabi Zinovia Erga Dorian Guillemain
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Selmane Sahker Laure Thierry de Ville d’Avray Giulia Gatti Aurélien De Jode
Abigail Cahil Jacky Dubar

MIO?: Institut Méditerranéen d’Océanographie

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Sandrine Ruitton Marc Verlaque

SPE?: Systèmes pour l’Environnement, écosystèmes côtiers

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Gérard Pergent Chrisitne Pergent-Martini

Associated members

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Dominique Ami Romain Bricout Léita Tschanz


Ege University, Faculty of Fisheries

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Melih Ertan Çinar Tuncer Katagan Bilal Öztürk Alper Dogan
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Ertan Dagli Kerem Bakir Mesut Onen Fevzi Kirkim
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Alper Evcen Çagdaş Çelik Senem Önen Deniz Erdoğan

Dokuz Eylul University, Institute of Marine Sciences and Technology

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Ferah Kocak Sermin Açik Cinar Özge Özgen

Dokuz Eylul University, Faculty of Science

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Veysel Aysel

Celal Bayar University

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Ergün Taskin

Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs
General Directorate of Water Management

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Sibel Mine Güçver

Associated members
Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University, Bodrum Maritime Vocational School

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Tuncay Kuleli


LIGAMEN is not anymore member of CIGESMED


Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer
Centre de Méditerranée, Laboratoire Environnement Ressources PACA?

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Marc Bouchoucha Eric Emery Christophe Ravel Stéphane Sartoretto
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Bruno Andral Giulia Gatti


Hellenic Center for Marine Research
Institute of Marine Biology, Biotechnology and Aquaculture

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Christos Arvanitidis Georgios Chatzigeorgiou Eva Chatzinikolaou Thanos Dailianis
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Costas Dounas Sarah Faulwetter Kleoniki Keklikoglou Emmanouela Panteri
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Christina Pavloudi Elena Sarropoulou Aikateneri Vaseleiadou

Hellenic Center for Marine Research, Institute of Oceanography

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Panayiotis Panayiotidis Sofia Reizopoulou Maria Salomidi Nomiki Simboura

Hellenic Center for Marine Research, Institute of Marine biological Resources

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Yiannis Issaris Vasilis Valavanis

Associated members

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Phoebe Koundouri Chrysa Papagianni


National Marine Park of Zakynthos

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Charalampos Dimitriadis Drosos Koutsoubas Maria Sini Laurent Sourbes
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Vasilis Gerovasileiou Dimitris Poursanidis Zinovia Erga

What’s up ?

Greece will organize the second general assembly (GA2) in Mytilini (19-22 May 2015) as well as the 2nd Committee of External Advisers (CEA2) on the 19th May.

- Important:
Annual report by the WP leaders are due on the 15th March 2015

Participation to the 2nd Mediterranean symposium on the conservation of coralligenous and other calcareous bio-concretions. RAC/SPA, Portorož, Slovenia, 29-30 October 2014
List of communications

CIGESMED protocol, working document

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CIGESMED protocol (draft) EN

List of coralligenous species usable for management (as presently reported by French and Turkish teams) ask to

CIGESMED Committee of Externals Advisors (CEA), Marseille, 21 October 2014
Please go to the web page

CIGESMED general assembly in Izmir, 6-9 May 2014
Please go to the web page

1st CIGESMED evaluation
SeasEra evaluation of Marine-Era funded project, Palma de Mallorca, 8 april 2014
[To the pptx presentation]

Living documents, 4 April 2014
A new section of the website has been opened.
It gathers links to read/download reports, protocols etc ...
[click here]

CIGESMED field trip in Marseille, 2-4 july 2013. The coralligenous is extremely polymorphic, depending on the relative dynamics of builders (red algae, bryozoans, polychaetes, etc.) and eroders (sponges, cyanobacteria, molluscs, etc.). It makes very different facies and seascapes also depending on environmental conditions (light, turbidity, etc.). Colleagues from the eastern Mediterranean will have the occasion to compare the coralligenous of the Bay of Marseille and the bio-constructions they can observe in their countries. These works will be hosted by the Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d’Ecologie marine et continentale (IMBE?) at the Endoume’s Marine Station.

Séminaire CIGESMED on the Encrusting Coralligenous Rhodophyta, by Marc VERLAQUE, Station Marine d’Endoume, July 2013, 2nd.

Séminaire CIGESMED sur les algues corallines / Evolution and Biodiversity of red algae (Rhodophyta) (taxonomie, phylogénie, écologie). Invitée, Line LE GALL (Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris), 27 juin 2013 à la Station Marine d’Endoume.

Premières plongées tests sur le coralligène de la baie de Marseille - news by ECOREM

CIGESMED was scooped by ABC Méditerranée on the 11th May 2013

CIGESMED on twitter
CIGESMED project was twitted by the CNRS?-INEE? the 7th May 2013.

CIGESMED on the web
CIGESMED was listed by ECOREM on the 3rd May 2013.

What is coralligenous ?
During the launching of CIGESMED, it was evidenced that there was no agreed definition of the coralligenous. After discussion, it was agreed that in the framework of the project, partners will follow the definition given by E. Ballesteros (2006).
In order to put everybody in the picture about coralligenous, the IMBE will organize a field exploration on different type of coralligenous of the Bay of Marseille with greek and turkish co-workers by the mid-july 2013.

Kickoff meeting
The kickoff meeting will be held in Crete, hosted by HCMR? at Thalassocosmos, from the 17th to the 19th April 2013.


CIGESMED’ meeting are hosted by the 3 participant countries.
- Greece did organize the kickoff in Heraklion (Crete) [april 2013]
- France proposed a field trip to intercalibrate photographic methods (Marseille) [june 2013]
- Turkey has hosted the first general assembly (GA1) in Izmir [6-9 May 2014]
- France held the 1st Committee of External Advisers (CEA1) in Marseille [21 October 2014]
- Greece has organized the second general assembly (GA2) in Mytilini (19-22 May 2015) as well as the 2nd Committee of External Advisers (CEA2)
- France has organized 2 meetings in December 2015:
(1) WG1 CIGESMED output
(2) WG2 How to enlarge the disciplinary spectrum preparing answers to the next call for proposals (H2020, ANR, etc.)
- The final CIGESMED meeting will be held in Marseille on the 29 June- 1 July 2016

What’s coming out ?

Deliverables from WP will be published in this section, as well as articles (in scientific reviews or for the layman). Education and training opportunities will also be listed here.
Education & training events

Cigesmed Protocol (validation in progress)
Définitions Used by CIGESMED community

Media material

Citizen Science 4 CIGESMED

In the framework of CIGESMED SeasEra ««project»», a specialized Citizen Science initiative – CIGESMED for divers – is launched aiming to engage enthusiast divers in the observation of coralligenous reefs, in order to obtain information regarding its spatial distribution, enable a primary characterization of the basic structure of its assemblages, and monitor potential pressures and threats to the habitat? (Gerovasileiou et al., 2016). CIGESMED project aimed to enhance understanding on the links between natural and anthropogenic pressures and ecosystem functioning to define and maintain the good environmental status of the Mediterranean Sea, through the integrated study of coralligenous assemblages.

Among others, one of the aims of CIGESMED for divers is to become a means to carry on studying and monitoring coralligenous reefs even after the official end of CIGESMED project, passing the baton of the coordination to local coastal managers and maintaining a context of strong collaboration with the scientific researchers.
A data collection protocol and a multilingual website and an Android smartphone application were developed, comprising an educational module and a data submission platform. Georeferenced data reporting focuses on: (a) basic topographic and abiotic features for the preliminary description of each site?, and the creation of data series for sites receiving multiple visits; (b) presence and relative abundance of typical conspicuous species, as well as (c) existence of pressures and imminent threats, for the characterization and assessment of coralligenous assemblages.
An additional visual aid was prepared in the form of a submersible identification guide which participants can carry with them underwater. Divers have the choice to report additional information and are encouraged to upload their photographs. The long-term goal is the development of an active community of amateur observers providing widespread and ecologically significant data on coralligenous assemblages.

presentations and articles

The most recent articles

lundi 28 novembre 2016
par  Jean Pierre FERAL

Publications on CIGESMED 4 Divers

go back
Gatti (G.), Féral (J.-P.) 2017. CEMOCoast. - Citizen science between environmental Education and MOnitoring of Coralligenous reefs in areas affected by changing Coastal uses. Séminaire (...)

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