1st Committee of external advisors 2014 (CEA1) – Marseille

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Jean Pierre FéralStéphane SartorettoSamuel Robert
Paula MoschellaDidier AurelleEmilie Egea
Anna OcchipintiMelih Ertan ÇinarRomain David
Christos ArvanitidisAngel Borja 

WP1: General presentation, management, coordination and reporting, Jean-Pierre Féral & Emilie Egea

[to the presentation]

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. Presentations 1 and 2

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, also French partners considered literature data as well and sampling data, so the French list is larger. In Turkey and Greece, they only considered data from in situ (diving) observations. Also the difference comes to the fact that France has a longer history of PhD studies on coralligenous. In Greece, the first PhD student on coralligenous is about to start.

Paula M. states that CIGESMED should be a mean to put more effort in Greece and Turkey to level 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…

Discussion on the choice of reference sites: each site is unique according the rock quality, the slope, the orientation… so the choice of the reference sites is a compromise, there are stations where reference/pristine site could not be found, the chosen reference sites are not absolute ones, but the best that could be found. Stephane S. says that not having a reference site is not a barrier to establish and index, because the reference can be relative. The reference condition can be the coralligenous state at one time, and the study should be on its evolution along time, is it getting better or worse? Samuel states that contextualization of each site is important and Romain and JP say that it 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 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 that is developed in France and will be applied in the central and eastern Mediterranean basins. 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 species, because it’s impossible to determine without invasive sampling)
  • Structural complexity index (according Gatti et al 2012)

Presentation of the INDEX-COR method. Angel B. remarks that the quadrat used for this method is 50×50 whereas Melih uses 25×25. But Stéphane says the size of the quadrat depend on the studied site, and the facies but there is a Master thesis being performed on the differences between the 2 methods, so soon the answer of the importance of the quadrat size should be known.

Christo A. says that the taxonomic richness indices should be compared with functional richness and even genetic one. For stakeholders, the genius 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 the criteria of species selected for barcoding are. Angel asks if data from ARMs boxes will be used, and says it could be very complementary data. JP indicates that everything was ready to collect the ARMS and ASUs as soon as the wind will stop.

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:

  • To test the hypothesis that the species lists and higher

Citizen science in marine ecology is still at its beginning and is a big challenge (particularly due to the necessity to be a trained diver).

A special web site will be dedicated to CIGESMED CS.

WP6: Data management, data mining & mapping, Romain David

WP6 is about intercalibration, and how to use multi-scale data to obtain an operational

WP6 seeks to combine scientific and amatory collected data, and to homogenize them: this can be done by developing interoperability of data and a common ontology.

WP7: Outreach, stakeholder engagement and dissemination, Christos Arvanitidis

Outreach done via campains, participation to conferences, open days & show cases, particularly via the Crete aquarium

Project website reasonably updated and complete.

Suggestions to the other partners.

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 stakeholder orientated.

The citizen science has a high potential


  • in the final report, define coralligenous
  • more consistency in the terminology of GES, is it ecological or environmental (JPF says that in French good environment status is “bon état écologique”, this is  why we mix)
  • 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, …
    • Cerano
    • Monica Malfacona
    • Giulia Gatti