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 . 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.
Gerovasileiou V, Dailianis T, Panteri E, Michalakis N, Gatti G, Sini M, Dimitriadis C, Issaris Y, Salomidi
M, Filiopoulou I, Doğan A, Thierry de Ville d’Avray L, David R, Ҫinar M, Koutsoubas D, Féral J-P, Arvanitidis C (2016) CIGESMED for divers: Establishing a citizen science initiative for the mapping and monitoring of coralligenous assemblages in the Mediterranean Sea. Biodiversity Data Journal 4: e8692. https://doi.org/10.3897/BDJ.4.e8692
Gatti G, Thierry de Ville d’Avray L, David R, Charampalos D, Gerovasileiou V, Dialianis T, Sini M, Doğan A, Salomidi M, Issaris Y, Çinar M E, Koutsoubas D, Arvanitidis C, Féral J-P (2016) CIGESMED for divers – Citizen Science for CIGESMED. Technical Report. doi: 10.13140/RG.2.1.1377.6887 – Protocol online
Gatti G, Dimitriadis C, Gerovasileiou V, Dailianis T, Panteri E, Issaris Y, Sini M, Salomidi M, Michalakis N, Doğan A, Thierry de Ville d’Avray L, David R, Ҫinar M E, Koutsoubas D, Arvanitidis C, Féral J-P (2016)
Citizen science for CIGESMED: Involving divers in marine biological monitoring. 51st European Marine Biology Symposium, 26-30 September 2016, Rhodos, Greece.
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 annuel de l’OHM Littoral Méditerranéen, 21-22 March 2017, Marseille. doi: 10.13140/RG.2.2.16824.26881