|Date||31 Oct 2013|
Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile is a seagrass endemic to the Mediterranean Sea and constitutes meadows which are the basis of a highly diverse and productive ecosystem. However, the Posidonia ecosystem is threatened by anthropogenic perturbations like coastal development, fishing, pollution, and climate change. Posidonia oceanica is considered a good biological indicator to determine the quality of coastal waters and, in general, the ecological status of marine environment. Because of the important role of underwater meadows in the marine environment, it is important to assess their spatial distribution and to identify their species composition.
The proposed project will provide scientific information on the distribution and the current status of the meadows (in regression, stable or in expansion) in a selected pilot area in Izmir Bay in Aegean Sea. This will enable the design of baseline data and indicators to track conservation gains. Threats to the Posidonia ecosystem (including pollution, boat anchoring, uncontrolled trawling or traditional local fishing, tourism activities and the expansion of invasive species) will also be investigated. This information will inform the design of a new management plan for conservation and sustainable use of the area.
To obtain cartography of Posidonia beds, acoustic instruments such as Multibeam Echosounder (MBES) and Side Scan Sonar (SSS) will be used. In order to obtain data to validate the acoustic records, scuba diving transects will be carried out in the study area. Geographical Information System (GIS) software will be used to obtain the complete cartography of Posidonia beds by using both acoustic and ground-truthing data. Public awareness will be raise by reaching as many people as possible by the collective and individual meetings and discussions held during the project. Local fishermen will be informed about meadows’ role in breeding of commercially important fish species. Tourists and the local people will be informed with banners and flyers to increase awareness of using coastal areas sustainably. Also, an exhibition including underwater photos of P. oceanica and marine ecosystem of the study area will be held. Local government will be informed by official meetings about management plans and encouraged to take action on conservation of P. oceanica.
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