Short report on the 1st CEA

Friday 24 October 2014
by  Jean Pierre FERAL
popularity : 40%

Short report

WP1: General presentation, management, coordination and reporting by Jean-Pierre Féral & Emilie Egea. Presentations 1 and 2
CIGESMED an Era-Net project funded by national agencies of France (ANR), Greece (GSRT) and Turkey (Tübitak).
To date, scientific partners are CNRS?-IMBE?, IFREMER?, EGE, HCMR? & NMPZ and one SME: LIGAMEN*
Objective of the project is to study coralligenous ecosystem in the Mediterranean from eastern to western basin. This ecosystem is important for ecological reasons but also socio-cultural ones. CIGESMED goal is to understand links between natural and anthropogenic pressures and ecosystem functioning.
CIGESMED is structured into 7 inter-connected WPs: WP1: management; WP2: coralligenous assessment and threats; WP3 indicator developments and tests; WP4 innovative monitoring tools; WP5 citizen science network; WP6 data management & mapping, WP7 outreach and dissemination.
Description of the main goals
Description of advantages and disadvantages of an Era-Net funded project.

WP2: Coralligen assessment and threats, Melih Ertan Çinar
-  Assess coralligenous megabentic assemblages
-  Investigate basic demographic characters
-  Quantify necrosis of gorgonians
-  Establish monitoring plan

Description of the study sites in the different countries,
Description of the list of species, and differences between countries possibly due to differences in the taxonomist specialists of the country; French partners considered additional literature data and sampling data, so the French list is larger. In Turkey and Greece, only data from in situ (diving) observations were considered. Finally, the difference in the length of the lists is owed to the fact that French scientists have produced a number of comprehensive PhD? studies on coralligenous over the years. In Greece, the first PhD student on coralligenous is about to start.
Paula M. states that CIGESMED should be a means to spend more effort in Greece and Turkey to increase the quality of the study of species in coralligenous.
Presentation of the photoquad sampling methodology and hierarchical sampling strategy : sampling done at 2 seasons, at 3 stations and at 15 & 25 meters deep and in 3 replicates each time.
Examples of sampling pictures.

Presentation of threats considered: sediment deposition, alien species (6 identified up to now), bioeroder species, algal bleaching.
Proposition of elements susceptible to help construction of indicators:
-  filamentous algae coverage
-  sedimentation coverage
-  specimens of bioeroder coverage/number
-  algal bleaching coverage
- invasive species coverage
-  pollution sensitive species coverage
-  opportunistic species coverage

Question of Angel B. on the identification of the pristine sites : difficult to quantify the level of activities on the non polluted sites like recreational activities, fishing, ghost nets, anchoring…
Discussion on the choice of reference sites : each site? is unique according to the rock quality, the slope, the orientation etc; therefore, the choice of the reference sites is always a compromise in that there are stations where reference/natural/pristine conditions could not be found, the chosen reference sites are perhaps not the absolute ones, but, instead, the best that could be found. Stephane S. says that missing a reference site is not a barrier to establish and index, because the reference can be always relative. in addition, the reference conditions can be met in the coralligenous site at one time, and the study should be on the course of its evolution along time, which means that it might gets better or worse. Samuel states that contextualization of each site is important and Romain and JP reply that this is part of the CIGESMED sampling protocole.
Angel B. comments on the relative baseline, for this, environmental conditions has to be very well documented to evaluate and substantiate what has to be done to improve coralligenous status.

WP3: Indicators development and test, Stéphane Sartoretto
Objective : develop and test new indicators to assess conservation status of coralligenous in a monitoring program for stakeholders. This index should be usable by non-specialists. The INDEX-COR is a simple method, developed in France, which will be applied in the central and eastern Mediterranean basins, as well. INDEX-COR is a non-destructive method designed for non-specialists, based on images analyses and in situ observation. It’s composed of 3 metrics :
- Ratio between species of different level of sensitivity to organic matter input (sensitive ; tolerant or opportunistic)
- Observable taxonomic richness in situ and on images (all benthic sessile groups & target species at genus level, not at species because it’s impossible to determine without destructive sampling)
- Structural complexity index (according Gatti et al 2012).

Presentation of the INDEX-COR method. Angel B. points out that the quadrat used for this method is 50x50 whereas Melih uses 25x25. But Stéphane says the size of the quadrat depends on the studied site and the facies considered, but there is a Master thesis being performed on the differences between the 2 methods; therefore the answer of the importance of the quadrat size should be made available, soon.
Christos A. says that the taxonomic richness indices should be compared to the functional richness and even to the genetic one. For stakeholders, the genus level is a great challenge, maybe functional recognition should be enough. Didier A. says it would be interesting to compare the taxonomic index with the genetic level.

WP4: Innovative monitoring tools, Didier Aurelle
-  Study taxonomic composition of the coralligenous engineer species, by barcoding methods
-  Provide a multispecific index of intraspecific species by population genetics? and phylogeographic methods.

Presentation of the work already performed and what is left to do in each tasks.
Genetic analyses highlighted non expected genetic diversity in the species and certainly the presence of cryptic species? within Myriapora particularly.
Anna O. propose to give contacts in Italy to provide more samples.
Angel B. asks which are the criteria for the species selected for barcoding. Angel asks if data from ARMs boxes will be used, and says they could be complementary data to this approach. JP indicates that everything was ready to collect the ARMS and ASUs as soon as the wind drops in the area.

WP5: Citizen Science (CS) network implementation, Christos Arvanitidis
Presentation of what is citizen science: 2 advantages: to sample in a greater extent and to interact with the society
Also it will allow to continue the collection of data after the life of CIGESMED funded project.

CS sites have been chosen to complete CIGESMED study sites. To develop a CS monitoring network, it is necessary to find the diving clubs and associations and to train them to collect the information needed.

Presentation of how the data will be used and of the hypotheses to be tested : (a) that the species lists along with their higher classification reported in each of the sites are random samples of the Mediterranean one; (b) that the multivariate pattern of the coralligenous communities, as revealed by the methods applied in the course of the project are not homogeneous.

Citizen science in marine ecology is still at its beginning and provides a big challenge (particularly due to the necessity to be a trained diver).
A special web site is dedicated to CIGESMED CS.

WP6: Data management, data mining & mapping, Romain David
WP6 is about inter-calibration?, and how to use multi-level, multi-scale data to obtain an operational dataset for meaningful comparisons within and between the studied sites.
WP6 seeks to combine scientific and amatory collected data, and to homogenize them: this can be done by developing interoperability of data, common vocabulary and a common ontology.
Due to frictions with the SME partner, knowledge trees as a data mapping method will not be developped. Other methods are presently under test.

WP7: Outreach, stakeholder engagement and dissemination, Christos Arvanitidis
Outreach done via campains, participation to conferences, open days & show cases, particularly via the Creteaquarium have already made.
Project website reasonably updated and complete.
Suggestions to the other partners for the successful implementation of this WP.
CEA discussion (towards the CEA suggestions)
Project quite challenging giving the time given. It’s a good opportunity to increase our Mediterranean biodiversity knowledge and engage stakeholders at various levels to continue some of its actions, after the end of its life.
The citizen science has a high potential.

Suggestions: Advices by the CIGESMED CEA
-  in the final report, define coralligenous
-  more consistency should occur in the terminology of GES?, is it ecological or environmental? JPF replies that in French good environment status is stated as “bon état écologique”, therefore this is what brings some sort of inconstency in text.
-  standardize methodologies as much as possible
-  INDEX-COR: focus on metric1
-  in the final report it will be important to highlight the importance of defining a new protocol: what makes CIGESMED method more interesting than the others.
-  Find a quantitative/ semi-quantitative evaluation of pressures, Angel proposed to help to do so.
-  Propose a network building project maybe with a COST action. Romain propose to try to make the first contacts in Slovenia congress, by writing a flyer and distribute it.
-  Proposition to join the next CEA with the expert meeting, and the next GA.
-  More names for more experts from Italia, Spain, Croatia, Israël, …
o Cerano
o Monica Malfacona
o Giulia Gatti










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