SCIENTIFIC CONTENTS AND MEDIA COVERAGE


Septentrion Environnement strongly believes in the importance of sharing knowledge. Committed to an Open Science approach, the majority of our works are published under a Creative Common BY 4.0 license: they can be downloaded, shared and adapted freely, provided that the original work is cited.

2024

Technical and scientific reports

Marine Protected Areas Odyssey (MPA Odyssey) – Report of the 2023 mission in the Northeast coast marine reserve of Ibiza – Tagomago

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This study is part of the “MPA Odyssey in the Mediterranean Sea” program, developed by WWF-France and realised in partnership with Septentrion Environnement (SE). This report presents the actions undertaken and the results of the field mission of October-November 2023, carried out on the territory and with the partnership of the North-east Coast of Ibiza-Tagomago Marine Reserve with in partnership with its managers and the assistance of WWF Spain.The project is co-funded by the sponsorship of the company CMA-CGM.

2024

Video tutorials

THE ODYSSEY OF PROTECTED MARINE AREAS – WWF/Septentrion Environnement

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Septentrion Environnement on a mission with WWF France!

WWF France is embarking on a brand new field mission: the Odyssey of Marine Protected Areas. In France’s Mediterranean region, almost 50% of waters have protected status. Yet only 0.2% of them are effectively protected by strong safeguards. With the help of our WWF sailboat ambassador, the Blue Panda, and a team of scientific divers, we’re setting off on an expedition across all the Mediterranean’s marine protected areas, to highlight the benefits of their existence, but also their limitations.

Our aim? To increase strong protection from 0.2% to 10%. Together, we are the solution.

Translated with DeepL.com (free version)

2024

Video tutorials

TWINNING 3D – D’une rive à l’autre de la Méditerranée

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At the end of February 2020, we returned exhilarated by our stay in Oran as part of our #twinning3d cultural exchange educational project (Oran/Marseille). Over the course of a year, students from the Lycée “École et Loisirs” and the Lycée des Calanques produced and shared the results of their #photogrammetry field surveys, which culminated in 3D reconstructions of objects from the coastal and underwater cultural heritage of the City of Oran and the City of Marseille.

Putting knowledge into practice to answer questions about the study or management of our shared natural and cultural heritage, exercising reasoning, rigor and teamwork skills: these are just some of the learning opportunities made possible by collective projects of this kind.

More than ever, Septentrion Environnement continues to work on such projects with our partners around the Mediterranean, driven by these universal values of exchange, friendship and transmission for future generations and the common good.

Thank you to all our partners involved in #twinning3d, who share this dynamic and without whom this project would not have been possible.

Région Sud Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Lycée des Calanques, École privée “École et loisirs”, Association Chebec, Musée subaquatique de Marseille, Musée Zabana Oran, Laboratoire LIS / CNRS

2024

Scientific publications and books

Mesophotic zone as refuge: acclimation and in-depth proteomic response of yellow gorgonians in the Mediterranean sea

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The intensification of warming-induced mass-mortalities in invertebrate populations is a critical phenomenon that affects many regions worldwide, including temperate ones. Mesophotic zones (from 30 to 150 meters depth) have been hypothesized to provide refuge from climate change to gorgonian populations, a promise for re-seeding damaged or destroyed shallow populations. Using a proteomic approach, we investigated the responses and acclimatization ability of the yellow gorgonian Eunicella cavolini along an environmental gradient following reciprocal transplantations between shallow (20m) and mesophotic (70m) zones. Our results suggested that yellow gorgonians from mesophotic waters exhibit a more plastic response when transplanted into shallow waters, compared to shallow gorgonians when placed at 70m. Colonies transplanted from mesophotic to shallow waters presented a down-regulation of immune response compared to colonies that stayed at 70m. Despite immunodepression, transplanted colonies displayed no signs of necrosis or apoptosis, underscoring the potential acclimation capacity of mesophotic populations. Under future climate change scenarios, Eunicella cavolini populations could thus exhibit physiological plasticity in the face of environmental stress, suggesting that no physiological barrier may limit natural colonization from mesophotic populations. This analysis provides new insights into the cellular and molecular responses of gorgonians to environmental changes.

2024

Scientific publications and books

Investigating the outcomes of a threatened gorgonian in situ transplantation: Survival and microbiome diversity in Paramuricea clavata (Risso, 1827)

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Estaque, T., Basthard-Bogain, S., Bianchimani, O., Blondeaux, V., Cheminée, A., Fargetton, M., Richaume, J., & Bally, M.

Abstract

Gorgonian octocorals are threatened by global and local stressors that can act synergistically to affect their health. In recent years, mass mortality events triggered by marine heatwaves have caused demographic declines in Mediterranean gorgonian populations that may lead to their collapse. Potential changes in microbiome composition under stressful conditions may further increase the susceptibility of the gorgonian holobiont to disease. Given the low recovery capacity of gorgonians, restoration approaches using transplantation are becoming an increasingly attractive option to counteract their decline. Here, we compared the survival and microbiome diversity of Paramuricea clavata colonies transplanted to sites differing in depth and local environmental conditions. Gorgonians sampled at a greater depth than the transplantation site were more likely to suffer necrosis after 1 year of monitoring. Gorgonian transplantation into environments disturbed by an anthropogenic source of pollution resulted in an imbalance of the microbiome with potential consequences on the success of restoration initiatives.

Keywords

Red gorgonian ;Mediterranean sea; Conservation; Transplant; Necrosis; Bacteria; Endozoicomonas

2024

Scientific publications and books

The Heatwave of Summer 2022 in the North-Western Mediterranean Sea: Some Species Were Winners

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Charles-François Boudouresque, Patrick Astruch, Serena André, Bruno Belloni, Aurélie Blanfuné, Éric Charbonnel, Adrien Cheminée, Jean-Michel Cottalorda, Renaud Dupuy de la Grandrive, Michel Marengo, Briac Monnier, Gérard Pergent, Christine Pergent-Martini, Michèle Perret-Boudouresque , Sandrine Ruitton, Isabelle Taupier-Letage and Thierry Thibaut

Abstract :

The warming trend of the Mediterranean Sea is a long-term process. It has resulted in a northwards and westwards range expansion and abundance increase of thermophilic species, both native and non-indigenous, and in a shrinking of the range of cold-affinity species. Marine heatwaves (MHWs) are relatively short-term extreme episodes that are responsible for spectacular mortality events in some species and have been extensively reported in the literature. In contrast, the species that benefit from MHWs (the ‘winners’) have been much less studied. A record-breaking MHW occurred in 2022 in the north-western Mediterranean Sea. We focus on three ‘winner’ species, the thermophilic green macroalgae Penicillus capitatus and Microdictyon umbilicatum and the endemic seagrass Posidonia oceanica. Penicillus capitatus, which is mainly present in the area as an inconspicuous turf of entangled filaments (espera stage), produced the erect paintbrush-like stage where sexual reproduction takes place. Microdictyon umbilicatum, usually uncommon, bloomed to the point of clogging fishing nets. Finally, a mass flowering of P. oceanica occurred in late August–September, followed the following year (April–May 2023) by the extensive production and dissemination of fruits and seeds. Both processes, the long-term warming trend and one-off heatwaves, both ‘losers’ and ‘winners’, shape the change in structure and functioning of Mediterranean ecosystems.

Keywords:

flowering; marine heatwaves; Mediterranean; Microdictyon umbilicatum; Penicillus capitatus; Posidonia oceanica

2024

Technical and scientific reports

Marine Protected Areas Odyssey – Report of the 2023 mission in the Lastovo Islands Nature Park (Croatia)

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Estaque T., Ody D., Bianchimani O., Nunez L., Ody A., Personnic S., Richaume J., Cheminée A.

This study is part of the “MPA Odyssey in the Mediterranean Sea” program, developed by WWF-France and realised in partnership with Septentrion Environnement (SE). This report presents the actions undertaken and the results of the field mission of September 2023, carried out on the territory and with the partnership of the Lastovo Islands Nature Park (LINP). The partners associated with this mission are the WWF Adriatic. The project is co-funded thanks to the financial support of the Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy.

2023

Scientific publications and books

Unveiling microbiome changes in Mediterranean octocorals during the 2022 marine heatwaves: quantifying key bacterial symbionts and potential pathogens

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Prioux C., Tignat-Perrier R., Gervais O., Estaque T., Schull Q., Reynaud S., Béraud E., Mérigot B., Beauvieux A., Marcus M.-I., Richaume J., Bianchimani O., Cheminée C., Allemand D., Ferrier-Pagès C.

Background
Climate change has accelerated the occurrence and severity of heatwaves in the Mediterranean Sea and poses a significant threat to the octocoral species that form the foundation of marine animal forests (MAFs). As coral health intricately relies on the symbiotic relationships established between corals and microbial communities, our goal was to gain a deeper understanding of the role of bacteria in the observed tissue loss of key octocoral species following the unprecedented heatwaves in 2022.

Results
Using amplicon sequencing and taxon-specific qPCR analyses, we unexpectedly found that the absolute abundance of the major bacterial symbionts, Spirochaetaceae (C. rubrum) and Endozoicomonas (P. clavata), remained, in most cases, unchanged between colonies with 0% and 90% tissue loss. These results suggest that the impairment of coral health was not due to the loss of the main bacterial symbionts. However, we observed a significant increase in the total abundance of bacterial opportunists, including putative pathogens such as Vibrio, which was not evident when only their relative abundance was considered. In addition, there was no clear relation between bacterial symbiont loss and the intensity of thermal stress, suggesting that factors other than temperature may have influenced the differential response of octocoral microbiomes at different sampling sites.

Conclusions
Our results indicate that tissue loss in octocorals is not directly caused by the decline of the main bacterial symbionts but by the proliferation of opportunistic and pathogenic bacteria. Our findings thus underscore the significance of considering both relative and absolute quantification approaches when evaluating the impact of stressors on coral microbiome as the relative quantification does not accurately depict the actual changes in the microbiome. Consequently, this research enhances our comprehension of the intricate interplay between host organisms, their microbiomes, and environmental stressors, while offering valuable insights into the ecological implications of heatwaves on marine animal forests.

2023

Scientific publications and books

The deep vault: a temporary refuge for temperate gorgonian forests facing marine heat waves

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Bramanti L., Manea E., Giordano B., Estaque T., Bianchimani O., Richaume J., Mérigot B., Schull Q., Sartoretto S., Garrabou J., Guizien K.

Climate change poses a significant threat to coastal areas, marked by the increasing intensity and frequency of marine heat waves observed in various ecosystems around the world. Over the last 25 years, a vast number of Mediterranean populations of the red gorgonian Paramuricea clavata have been impacted by marine heatwaves. The last mass mortality occurred during the summer of 2022 in the Western Mediterranean Sea, affecting mostly shallow populations (down to 30 m depth). Here we provide an assessment of the health status of mesophotic P. clavata populations down to 90 m depth to investigate a depth refuge hypoth-esis. Results show that the impact of marine heat waves decreases with depth, with a significant drop in mortality below 40 m depth. These observations support the hypothesis of a depth refuge from marine heat waves that may allow, at least temporarily, the maintenance of P. clavata in the Western Mediterranean Sea. The present study strongly advocates for further investigations and monitoring of the mesophotic zone to chart potential areas that could serve as deep refuge for gorgonians.

2023

Scientific publications and books

Marine heatwaves on the rise: One of the strongest ever observed mass mortality event in temperate gorgonians

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Estaque T., Richaume J., Bianchimani O., Schull Q., Mérigot B., Bensoussan N., Bonhomme P., Vouriot P., Sartoretto S., Monfort T., Basthard-Bogain S., Fargetton M., Gatti G., Barth L., Cheminée A., Garrabou J.

Gorgonian population after the 2022 mass mortality event (MME) in the Calanques National Park. The year 2022 was marked by a historic gorgonian MME. This study describes the consequences for the red gorgonian (Paramuricea clavata) and red coral (Corallium rubrum) populations in the Calanques National Park (Marseille, France).

2023

Video tutorials

Odyssey of Marine Protected Areas – CROATIA – LASTOVO – 2023

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For 3 years now, our team has been carrying out annual assessments of fish populations in various parts of the Mediterranean as part of the “Odyssey of Marine Protected Areas” project supported by WWF France. The aim of these missions is to promote the existence and creation of strong protection zones within Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). To achieve this, fish visual census are carried out and analysed to provide useful data to managers. In September 2023, we were on assignment in the Lastovo Archipelago Natural Park (Croatia) on the Adriatic coast. The results of this study will be used to advise on the creation of new strong protection zones within this MPA.

2023

Technical and scientific reports

TRANSCOR – Étude de la survie de transplants de Corallium rubrum et de Paramuricea clavata dans le cadre d’un programme expérimental de transplantation sur sites naturels et artificiels

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Estaque T., Bianchimani O, Basthard-Bogain S., Richaume J., Gatti G., Bally M., Cheminée A.

The TRANSCOR project aimed to explore solutions to preserve or restore populations of red coral (Corallium rubrum) and red gorgonian (Paramuricea clavata) subjected to disturbances linked to global change or to various anthropogenic pressures. It consisted of a series of experiments in the transplantation of red coral (C. rubrum) and red gorgonian (P. clavata) within the Calanques National Park (France)

2023

Scientific publications and books

Les grottes sous-marines de Méditerranée

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Rastorgueff P.-A., Bianchimani O.

The underwater caves of the Mediterranean Sea constitute a fascinating ecosystem because of many apparent paradoxes. This book proposes to discover the beauty and the magic of the underwater caves of the Mediterranean Sea thanks to a dive into the scientific knowledge available and made accessible to all the curious. It is also accompanied by numerous photographs taken in situ in order to transcribe the atmosphere of a cave dive.

2023

Technical and scientific reports

Impact de l’événement de mortalité massive de 2022 sur les populations de gorgones de la façade méditerranéenne française

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Estaque T., Bianchimani O., Richaume J., Hébrard L., Sartoretto S., Charbonnel E., Hartmann V., Michez N., Mérigot B., Schull Q., Cheminée A.

Ce rapport s’inscrit dans le cadre du projet “Suivi de la mortalité massive des gorgones et des communautés associées sur la façade méditerranéenne française” de Septentrion Environnement (SE) financé par l’Office Français de la Biodiversité (OFB). Ce rapport présente l’impact de la vague de mortalité massive de 2022 sur les populations de gorgones de la façade méditerranéenne française, situées au sein du Parc national des Calanques, du Parc national de Port-Cros, du Parc Marin de la Côte Bleue, de la Réserve Naturelle Scandola, du Parc Marin du Golfe du Lion, et autour du Cap Sicié.

Bilan_d'activités_2021-2022_couv

2023

Technical and scientific reports

2021-2022 Activity Report of Septentrion Environnement

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Septentrion Environnement

By convocation of its President, the Septentrion Environnement association met for an Ordinary General Assembly on June 1, 2023 at the Lycée des Calanques, 13008 Marseille.This general meeting is the first general meeting open to partners. The title of Marine Ecology Research and Training Institute is decided by the members of Septentrion Environnement and the collective of partners.

By convocation of its President, the members and partners of Septentrion Environnement met in an Ordinary General Assembly on June 1, 2023 at the Lycée des Calanques, 13008 Marseille.This General Assembly is the first official meeting open to partners. The title of Marine Ecology Research and Training Institute is decided by the members of Septentrion Environnement and the collective of partners.

2023

Technical and scientific reports

Marine Protected Areas Odyssey – Report of the 2023 mission to the Dilek Peninsula Büyük Menderes Delta National Park

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Estaque T., Ody D., Bianchimani O., Personnic S., Richaume J., Cheminée A.

This study report is part of the “Odyssey of MPAs in the Mediterranean” project, led by WWF-France. This report presents the actions undertaken and the results of the August 2022 field mission, carried out on the territory of the Dilek Peninsula Büyük Menderes Delta National Park (Turkey) and with its partnership. The partners associated with this mission are WWF Turkey and Septentrion Environnement (SE).

2023

Video tutorials

CIGESMED for divers – Trainers’ tutorial

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This tutorial is intended for the trainers of the citizen science program CIGESMED for divers. This teaching support may help the training of volunteer divers in the observation of the coralligenous habitat, to contribute to the collection of data useful for understanding and monitoring one of the most beautiful seascapes in the Mediterranean Sea.

2023

Technical and scientific reports

Odyssée des Aires Marines Protégées – Rapport de la mission 2022 au sein de la Réserve Naturelle des Bouches de Bonifacio

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Richaume, J., Estaque, T., Ody, D., Bianchimani, O., Ody, A., Personnic, S., Cheminée, A.

This study report is part of the “MPA Odyssey in the Mediterranean” programme, supported by WWF-France. This report presents the actions undertaken and results of the field mission in October 2022, carried out on the territory and with the partnership of the Bouche de Bonifacio Nature Reserve.

2023

Scientific publications and books

Species identification of fish shoals using coupled split-beam and multibeam echosounders and two scuba-diving observational methods

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David V., Mouget A., Thiriet P., Minart C., Perrot Y., Le Goff L.,Bianchimani O., Basthard-Bogain S., Estaque T., Richaume J., Sys J.-F., Cheminée A., Feunteun E., Acou A., Brehmer, P.

Species identification remains crucial for interpreting acoustic backscatter delivered by active acoustic methodologies. The study took place in a Marine Protected Area where highly restricted areas were present such as no take zones. We used an innovative methodology coupling split-beam and multibeam echosounders to detect and classify monospecific fish shoals (i.e. schools or aggregations). Species identifications were realised by underwater visual censuses made by scientific divers. Two experimental protocols, where the divers gave the identifications instantaneously thanks to a communication wireframe, were tested: three roving scuba divers locating the shoals or a towed scuba diver directly behind the vessel. Energy responses, 3-D morphological, shape indexes and spatial descriptive variables of multiple independent samples of 4 observed fish species shoals (Atherina sp., Boops boops, Chromis chromis and Spicara maena) were calculated from the acoustic data. According to their behaviour and feeding strategy, significant differences in the acoustic variables were found between species. The combined use of acoustic data from both echosounders significantly improved the fish species classification. They were well discriminated using a Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA), including for B. boops, C. chromis and S. maena, which were all observed in aggregations. Finally, we used this LDA model to allocate species to unknown shoals monitored by acoustics methods in the studied site, highlighting the interest of our methodology to predict bentho-pelagic and pelagic fish distributions in shallow waters. We suggest that these acoustic methods to discriminate fish species could provide valuable insights for marine management and decision-making.

2023

Technical and scientific reports

Odyssée des Aires Marines Protégées – Rapport de la mission 2022 au sein de la Façade maritime du Parc Naturel Régional de Corse et de la Réserve Naturelle de Scandola

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Estaque, T., Richaume, J., Ody, D., Bianchimani, O., Ody, A., Personnic, S., Cheminée, A.

This study report is part of the “MPA Odyssey in the Mediterranean” programme, supported by WWF-France. This report presents the actions undertaken and results of the field mission in October 2022, carried out on the territory and with the partnership of the Corsican Regional Natural Park (PNRC) and the Scandola Nature Reserve (RNS).

2023

Technical and scientific reports

JUVar – Evaluation of juvenile grouper populations in shallow coastal habitats of the Var coast (France).

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Monfort T., Nunez L., Cheminée A.

Abstract

On the Mediterranean coast, following on from the monitoring of grouper population dynamics carried out by the Grouper Study Group (GEM), the Office Français de la Biodiversité (OFB) provided financial support for the JUVar project, which also received technical and logistical support from the Communauté des communes du Golfe de St-Tropez-Service Espaces maritimes during the field campaign in October/November 2022. The JUVar project is managed by Septentrion Environnement. It lasted 6 months, from November 2022 to April 2023. The objectives of this study were to inventory (1) the assemblages of juvenile fish, with (2) enhanced sampling to quantify the presence of juvenile groupers (Epinephelus spp.) and (3) describe the micro-habitat preferences of the latter, using the Var coastline as a workshop site. This project complements existing data on grouper populations along the Mediterranean coast (Condini et al., 2018), and more specifically for the early life stages of this protected species. The presence of Brown meagre (Sciaena umbra) was also noted, as they represent one of the Mediterranean’s emblematic species protected by a 4th moratorium since 2013.

 

Bilan d'activité 2020-2021_couverture

2022

Technical and scientific reports

2020-2021 Activity Report of Septentrion Environnement

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Septentrion Environnement

The members of Septentrion Environnement met in an Ordinary General Assembly on October 14, 2022 at the Lycée des Calanques, 13008 Marseille by convocation of its President Marc Garel. This report presents the organisation’s activity report that took place during the 2020-2021 financial year. It was approved unanimously.

2022

Congresses and conferences

CIGESMED for divers: a successful approach combining science and citizen involvement for the monitoring of NW Mediterranean coralligenous reefs

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Gatti G., Barth L., Grancher T., BastardBogain S., Blondeaux V., Bianchimani O., Estaque T., Monfort T., Richaume J., Cheminée A.

CIGESMED for divers is a citizen science program developed in 2016 by an international scientific team. It aimed to provide a scientificallybased simplified protocol for recreational divers to get involved in the monitoring of coralligenous reefs. Between 2016 and 2021, about 150 observations were collected by volunteer divers in and around the area of the Calanques National Park (Marseilles, France). The data collected allowed the qualitative and semiquantitative description of the benthic communities of 27 diving sites and the assessment of some natural and anthropic pressures. Data were analysed by gathering observations over three consecutive years to get enough data to reduce the observer bias, and to allow temporal comparisons of the most frequented diving sites. It was then possible to characterise the abundance of the main taxa, as well as the pressures that occurred in this habitat. Their variation over time was also highlighted. Considering the limitations imposed by scuba diving to citizens’ involvement, as well as the lack of knowledge from recreational divers and diving instructors regarding coralligenous communities, those results were only made possible because of the enthusiastic coordination of a local network. Indeed, a diving and scientific organisation (Septentrion Environnement) proposed, every year, training sessions (theory and practice) and scheduled dives dedicated to CIGESMED for divers. By encouraging a feedback flow with the participants, it promoted the longterm involvement of citizens. CIGESMED for divers has proved to be an effective tool for the longterm monitoring of coralligenous reefs, particularly for local management purposes. It has also demonstrated to be a great tool for educational and training activities.

2022

Internship and PhD dissertations

Etudes des informations récoltées avec le programme de sciences participatives CIGESMED for divers

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Grancher T.

This M1 internship report focuses on the analysis of the data collected by voluntary divers in the framework of the participatory science program “CIGESMED for divers”. After 6 years of application of the program along French Mediterranean coasts , data exploitability and potential improvements applicable to the observation protocol are discussed here.

2022

Scientific publications and books

Adaptive Vertical Positioning as Anti-Predator Behavior: The Case of a Prey Fish Cohabiting with Multiple Predatory Fish within Temperate Marine Algal Forests

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Fish cohabiting within structurally complex habitats (e.g., coral reefs, seagrass meadows, algal forests) include abundant small-bodied prey fish and specialized piscivorous fish. Habitat structural complexity mediating fish predator–prey interactions has been shown to be an important mechanism sustaining this coexistence. However, the effect of the vertical stratification of habitat structure on predator–prey interactions remains poorly known, especially within a forest-like marine habitat, i.e., a habitat containing three vertical strata (understory, canopy and open-water). We set up tank experiments to test how such habitat vertical stratification affects predator–prey lethal and behavioral interactions, using one prey and two predator model species cohabiting in Mediterranean algal forest. We found that prey anti-predator behavior was predator-specific. When exposed to a sit-and-wait predator, the prey increased its vertical distance from the predator, regardless of the habitat structure. Conversely, when exposed to a stalk-and-attack predator, the prey sought refuge within forest structures. Prey hide motionless within the canopy, the most complex strata, while they avoid and escape from predators within the understory, which is a less complex stratum allowing for fast prey movements but still protected from predators by the canopy above. Our results suggest the crucial role of habitat vertical stratification in influencing predator–prey interactions, which should be studied in three dimensions.

2022

Scientific publications and books

Climatic control on the formation of marine-notches in microtidal settings: new data from the northwestern Mediterranean Sea

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Vacchi M., Gatti G., Kulling B., Morhange C., Marriner N.

The genesis and distribution of marine notches around the microtidal Mediterranean basin has been widely debated in recent years. Here we provide new climate and geomorphological insights into the factors controlling notch formation based on the bathymetric distribution of marine notches found in Marseille Bay (NW Mediterranean). In this area, the notches exist (i) either near present Mean Sea Level (MSL); or (ii) at ∼35 cm below the MSL, but with no notch present at higher elevations on the same profile. We investigate the genesis of this unusual notch distribution using bio-geomorphological surveys, numerical modelling of nearshore hydrodynamics and palaeo-climate data. This analysis shows that the submerged notch only occurs in coastal sectors characterized by minimal or negligible hydrodynamics. Comparison with the millennial sea-level evolution shows that the present elevation of the submerged notch closely matches the sea-level stabilization that occurred during the Late Antique Little Ice Age (LALIA, ∼1400 to ∼1290 BP). During this period, the notch formed in sheltered areas of the coast, despite minor wave mechanical action and bioerosion, because relative sea-level stability concentrated erosion in the same portion of the cliff for ∼400 years. The increased rates of sea-level rise over the last 1500 years hampered the formation of a younger notch in sheltered sectors of the coast. By contrast, changes in sea-level rise rates did not affect notch formation at exposed sites where the mechanical action of waves coupled with intense bioerosion were the major control on notch formation. These data further confirm that the preservation of a fossil submerged notch is not only ascribable to co-seismic subsidence but also to climatic factors. This has implications for palaeo-seismic assessments of the Mediterranean region.

2022

Video tutorials

POLARIS – Tutorial CIGESMED for Divers protocol

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A tutorial to learn how to apply the CIGESMED for Divers Participatory Science protocol, in order to characterize the coralligenous biocenosis and detect potential threats to its good ecological status.

2022

Technical and scientific reports

Odyssée des Aires Marines Protégées – Rapport de la mission 2021 au sein du Parc Naturel Marin du Cap Corse et de l’Agriate

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Estaque T., Ody D., Bianchimani O., Ody A., Personnic S., Cheminée A.

This study report is part of the “MPA Odyssey in the Mediterranean” programme run by WWF-France. This report presents the actions performed and results of the field mission in September 2021, carried out on the territory and in partnership with the Parc Naturel Marin du Cap Corse et de l’Agriate (PNMCCA). The partners associated with this mission are the CNRS, Septentrion Environnement (SE), Andromède Océanologie (AO) and the crew of the Blue Panda (Seanergie).

2022

Technical and scientific reports

Monitoring using Photogrammetry for the Calanques National Park – Study report

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Bianchimani O., Richaume J., Estaque T., Monfort T., Blondeaux V., Gatti G., Cheminée A.

This report is part of the “Monitoring by photogrammetry” service provided by Septentrion Environnement (SE) on behalf of the Parc national des Calanques (PNCal) and funded by the Interreg Med MPA Engage project. This report presents the actions undertaken during the November-December 2021 field phase.

2022

Technical and scientific reports

MedHab – Assessment and management of essential Mediterranean fish habitats

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Cheminée A., Buchet L., Estaque T., Gasc. J., Monfort T., Nunez L., Richaume J., Sator N

Abstract

The MedHab project is led by Septentrion Environnement. Its initial duration of 3 years was extended to 4 years following the health crisis linked to covid 19, from 2019 to 2022. This project focuses on essential habitats (spawning grounds and nurseries) for fish in shallow coastal waters. Structured in work packages (WP), it aims to produce 1) a summary of knowledge concerning these essential habitats in the Mediterranean; 2) for the entire Mediterranean coastline, a location and quantification of “shallow heterogeneous rocky ” type nurseries and assessment of the extent to which they are taken into account in existing management measures; 3) for at least 3 control areas with MPAs, a comparison with two other types of nursery habitats (seagrass beds and macro-algae forests); and 4) sharing the results with managers in order to optimise coastal zone management strategies.

2021

Video tutorials

POLARIS – Tutorial Fish Visual Census protocol

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A tutorial to learn how to apply the “Fish Visual Census” Participatory Science protocol: identification and counting of target fish species.

2021

Video tutorials

POLARIS – Tutorial Coral Alert protocol

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A tutorial to learn how to apply the Participatory Science protocol “Coral Alert!”, in order to detect the effects of seawater warming on corals and gorgonians.

2021

Internship and PhD dissertations

Nursery habitats of teleosts in heterogeneous shallow coastal bottoms in the Mediterranean : availability, spatial distribution and management of these essential habitats

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Sator N.
The diversity of Mediterranean coastal landscapes contains a multitude of habitats that provide favorable conditions for fish during the early stages of their life cycle. These habitats are known for their “nursery” function. Shallow heterogeneous bottoms provide this role for many species of juvenile teleosts in the Mediterranean. However, this habitat is little or not taken into account by biodiversity management measures. This report describes the assemblage of juvenile heterogeneous shallow-sea teleosts in the Mediterranean under the effect of: (1) year (2019 and 2020); (2) the geographical area (two in the Gulf of Lion and two in Corsica); (3) the level of protection considering two distinct levels. Densities of juvenile fish were higher in 2019 than in 2020. This result suggests that reproduction (and therefore settlement) occurred earlier in 2020 due to higher temperatures. Densities were generally higher in the Gulf of Lion compared to Corsica. This result is mainly explained by a different surface currentology. However, some thermophilic species, such as Thalassoma pavo, were more abundant in Corsica than on the mainland. Finally, we found the specific richness was higher in areas without strong protection. However, this result remains to be confirmed.

2021

Technical and scientific reports

POLARIS – Methodological note

Lien

Estaque T.

This methodological note is intended primarily for decision-makers and managers of Mediterranean marine areas for which scuba diving is a tool for monitoring the environment through participatory science (standardized observation protocols, training of observers, data processing). It may also be useful to any institution interested in the use of observation platforms such as POLARIS to feed territory management strategies at different scales of action. Finally, this note will guide structures wishing to use citizen science in scuba diving by detailing various scientific and technical aspects (monitoring protocols, logistics, data processing and transfer, animation, training, etc.).

2021

Internship and PhD dissertations

Study of the survival of transplants of Corallium rubrum and Paramuricea clavata within the framework of an experimental transplantation program on natural sites (TRANSCOR project)

Lien

Estaque T.

In the context of current global change, sessile marine organisms are among the most impacted. The increasingly frequent episodes of thermal anomalies are particularly fatal for Corallium rubrum and Paramuricea clavata. From a conservation perspective, understanding the life cycle of these species is a major research topic. Estimation of the growth of these species and their response to transplantation have been carried out several times using different methods. Here, it was shown that the transplantation of C. rubrum and P. clavata using two-component epoxy putty offers suitable results in terms of survival of the transplants and that photogrammetry allows robust measurement of population descriptors of these species.

2021

Scientific publications and books

3D photogrammetry modeling highlights efficient reserve effect apparition after 5 years and stillness after 40 for red coral (Corallium rubrum) conservation in French MPAs

Lien

Richaume J., Cheminée A., Drap P., Bonhomme P., Cadene F., Ferrari B., Hartmann V., Michez N., Bianchimani O.

Imaging the marine environment is more and more useful to understand relationships between species, as well as natural processes. Developing photogrammetry allowed the use of 3D measuring to study populations dynamics of sessile organisms at various scales: from colony to population. This study focuses on red coral (Corallium rubrum), as known as precious coral. Metrics measured at a colony scale (e.g., maximum height, diameter and number of branches) allowed population understanding and a comparison between an old (Cerbère-Banyuls reserve) vs. a new (Calanques National Park) MPA.

2021

Scientific publications and books

All shallow coastal habitats matter as nurseries for Mediterranean juvenile fish

Lien

Cheminée A., Le Direach L., Rouanet E., Astruch P., Goujard A., Blanfuné A., Bonhomme D., Chassaing L., Jouvenel J.-Y., Ruitton S., Thibaut T., Harmelin‑Vivien M.

Coastal zones are ecosystems of high economic value but exposed to numerous disturbances, while they represent nurseries for many fish species, raising the issue of the preservation of their functions and services. In this context, the juvenile fish assemblages of all types of habitats present in shallow coastal zones were studied on the south-east coast of France using underwater visual censuses in warm (June–July 2014) and cold (April 2015) periods. A total of fourteen habitat types were characterized, which could be grouped into three broad categories, rocky substrates (natural and artificial), sedimentary bottoms with all levels of granulometry, and seagrass beds including Cymodocea nodosa and Posidonia oceanica meadows; the ecotones or interfaces between the three broad habitat categories were individualized as particular habitat types.

Septentrion-environnement

2021

Scientific publications and books

The three-dimensional structure of Mediterranean shallow rocky reefs: use of photogrammetry-based descriptors to assess its influence on associated teleost assemblages

Lien

Monfort T., Cheminée A., Bianchimani O., Drap P., Puzenat A., Thibaut T.

In the Mediterranean Sea, shallow rocky reefs and the associated three-dimensional (3D) structure support rich and abundant communities; they are therefore of functional importance, in particular for the renewal of fish stocks. However, these habitats and their functions are likely to be altered by anthropogenic pressures inducing habitat transformations. It is therefore necessary to assess their 3D structure, their transformations and relationship to communities, especially for management and conservation purposes. In this article we aimed (i) to compare two methods that quantify the metrics of the 3D structure (rugosity) of shallow rocky reefs (chain-and-tape method and photogrammetry), and (ii) to quantify the possible links between this habitat structure and the fish assemblages.

 

2021

Scientific publications and books

Population collapse of habitat-forming species in the Mediterranean: a long-term study of gorgonian populations affected by recurrent marine heatwaves

Lien

Gómez-Gras D., Linares C., López-Sanz A., Amate R., Ledoux J. B., Bensoussan N., Drap P., Bianchimani O., Marschal C., Torrents O., Zuberer F., Cebrian E., Teixidó N., Zabala M., Kipson S., Kersting D. K., Montero-Serra I., Pagès-Escolà M., Medrano A., Frleta-Valić M., Dimarchopoulou D., López-Sendino P., Garrabou J.

Understanding the resilience of temperate reefs to climate change requires exploring the recovery capacity of their habitat-forming species from recurrent marine heatwaves (MHWs). Here, we show that, in a Mediterranean highly enforced marine protected area established more than 40 years ago, habitat-forming octocoral populations that were affected by a severe MHW in 2003 have not recovered after 15 years. Contrarily, they have followed collapse trajectories that have brought them to the brink of local extinction. Since 2003, impacted populations of the red gorgonian Paramuricea clavata and the red coral Corallium rubrum have followed different trends in terms of size structure, but a similar progressive reduction in density and biomass. Concurrently, recurrent MHWs were observed in the area during 2003–2018, which may have hindered populations recovery. The studied octocorals play a unique habitat-forming role in the coralligenous assemblages . Therefore, our results underpin the great risk that recurrent MHWs pose for the long-term integrity and functioning of these emblematic temperate reefs.

2021

Technical and scientific reports

Restitution of data collected as part of POLARIS environmental monitoring

Lien

Barth L., Gatti G.

The primary intention of this document is to explore the occurrence data collected by volunteer citizen divers, as part of the environmental monitoring proposed by POLARIS. Descriptive analyzes of these data provide an overview of the spatial distribution of target species of scientific and management interest. They are intended to supplement scientific knowledge and must be linked to more specific studies on the territory and on the species presented here. The results are presented from a management point of view, since the POLARIS program aims in particular to help guide measures for the sustainable management of the marine environment. This document presents the results obtained from the observations made in 2020. Comparisons with observations made in 2018 and 2019 were made, so as to initiate a temporal analysis of the data.

2021

Congresses and conferences

Citizen sentinels of coralligenous protected species in the Calanques national Park

Lien

Dedet J., Bart L., Gatti G.

The CIGESMED for divers participatory science program is dedicated to the observation of coralligenous biocenosis. Over the period 2016-2018, volunteer divers collected around 80 observations within the Calanques National Park. Among the various results resulting from the analysis of the data collected, we presented to the IUCN World Conservation Congress an e-poster which shows the abundance and distribution of vulnerable / endangered and protected species, as well as certain natural pressures and anthropogenic.

2021

Press and media releases

An immersion in the Marseille seabed for the IUCN World Conservation Congress

Lien

Caves, artificial reefs, underwater canyons… The “Marseille virtual dives” will be presented by the City of Marseille, the Parc des Calanques and Septentrion Environnement during the IUCN World Conservation Congress. An installation combining immersive visits and games to introduce visitors to participatory science and the protection of marine environments.

2021

Scientific publications and books

Ecological status of coralligenous assemblages: ten years of application of the ESCA index from local to wide scale validation

Lien

Piazzi L., Gennaro P., Cecchi E., Bianchi C.N., Cinti M.F., Gatti G., Guala I., Morri C., Sartoretto S., Serena F., Montefalcone M.

This paper aims at collating and reviewing all data collected using the ESCA (Ecological Status of Coralligenous Assemblages) index from 2009 to 2018 during different local applications, in order to evaluate at large spatial scale its effectiveness and temporal variability. To this scope, the large-scale response of ESCA to anthropogenic disturbance was tested comparing ESCA values calculated at 42 sites of the Western Mediterranean Sea with the anthropization index. Moreover, the sensitivity of ESCA to punctual human disturbance and the robustness of the index across the natural space and time variability were evaluated. The large spatial scale study showed significant correlation between ESCA and the anthropization index, while very low correlation was detected when descriptors of ESCA (i.e., sensitivity levels, α-diversity, and β-diversity) were considered separately. The three impact evaluation studies highlighted significantly lower values of the ESCA index in disturbed conditions than in the control ones. The coastal monitoring study confirmed the robustness of the index which showed a high ecological quality of coralligenous reefs in reference conditions compared to more anthropized sites, and this pattern was maintained throughout the ten years study period. Application of the ESCA index to different situations tested positively its sensibility to different levels and type of human disturbance and its stability with respect to regional spatio-temporal variability. This confirm the reliability of the ESCA index already tested on the local and annual scale, thus broadening its range of application and validating it on a wider space–time scale.

2021

Technical and scientific reports

Final report of the foreshadowing year of the PERC²ES project – Citizen PERceptions of Environmental and Societal Changes

Lien

Gatti G., Scotto d’Apollonia L., Dosias-Perla D., Vouriot P., Barth, L.

The PERC²ES project aims to integrate the social dimension into the management of the coastal marine environment, through the experimentation of a participatory approach between local stakeholders. 2020 was a year of prefiguration for engaging in a multidisciplinary approach based on the specific tools of Participatory Action Research (RAP): testing participatory methods for co-construction, co-definition of objectives and actions to be taken, up to co-analysis and discussion of results by associating a diversity of participants (scientists, citizens, coastal actors, land managers, institutions). In its foreshadowing year, the field of action was the Marseille coast, a territory rich in natural resources, very popular among tourists, highly urbanized and subject to numerous anthropogenic pressures. The man-natural environment relationship is very close here, whether for professional or leisure activities; it is therefore obvious that for the sustainable management of this coastline, the environmental and social dimensions are inseparable. Since 2015, this coastline has been the subject of an action program led by the Métropole of Aix Marseille Provence and the City of Marseille: the Bay Contract. This program aims to preserve the littoral and the coastal environments while supporting the harmonious development of human activities. This is the ideal context for the implementation of the PERC²ES project.

2020

Technical and scientific reports

Presentation of results from data collected through the participatory science platform POLARIS, as part of the CIGESMED research program

Lien

Gatti G., Barth L.

The participatory science program CIGESMED for divers is dedicated to the observation of coralligenous reefs. Volunteer divers contributed to collecting 89 observations within the Calanques National Park over a three-year period (2016-2018). With the data collected, we were able to characterize the coralligenous reefs, to observe the distribution of the organisms and of the pressures that threaten them. We were thus able to draw up the reference state, to which refer for the monitoring still in progress by recreational divers. We choose here to present the results from a management point of view since our program aims in particular to help developing guide measures in favor of the sustainable management of the marine environment. We will also discuss future reflections and analyzes drawn from the data collected.

2020

Technical and scientific reports

POLARIS – Contribution to scientific programs

Lien

Barth L.

At the interface of different activities, POLARIS is a field platform for observing the marine environment. It contributes to data collection for scientific actions and raises awareness among citizens about environmental diving.

This catalog shows the different observation methods (protocols) associated to research programs relayed by POLARIS.

2020

Technical and scientific reports

POLARIS – Environnemental monitoring

Lien

Barth L.

At the interface of different activities, POLARIS is a field platform for observing the marine environment. It contributes to data collection for scientific actions and raises awareness among citizens about environmental diving.

The purpose of the environmental monitoring is to warn against potential changes in the marine environment through long-term, multi-year monitoring. The aim here is to monitor the presence or absence of elements providing information on the state of health of the marine environment and those which could affect it.

2020

Video tutorials

TWINNING 3D – Learn photogrammetry #3 Image processing

Lien

Last of the series of 3 tutorials dedicated to photogrammetry with the most stylish step: image processing and model creation! We saw before what photogrammetry was and how to take shots to make a 3D model. Here, we learn to model.

The video is produced as part of the TWINNING 3D project led by Septentrion Environnement and the Calanques High School (Marseilles, France), initially classes planned in the classroom but finally transcribed on video because of the health crisis linked to the COVID-19 epidemic.

2020

Video tutorials

TWINNING 3D – Learn Photogrammetry #2 Shooting

Lien

In this second photogrammetry tutorial, we tackle the shots: how to do that, which are the ideal light conditions, etc.

The video is produced as part of the TWINNING 3D project led by Septentrion Environnement and the Calanques High School (Merseilles, France), initially classes planned in the classroom but finally transcribed on video because of the health crisis linked to the COVID-19 epidemic.

2020

Video tutorials

TWINNING 3D – Learn Photogrammetry #1 The Basics

Lien

In this video, you will learn the basics of photogrammetry: what is this technique that seems obscure, what it can be used for.

The video is produced as part of the TWINNING 3D project led by Septentrion Environnement and the Calanques High School (Marseilles, France), initially classes planned in the classroom but finally transcribed on video because of the health crisis linked to the COVID-19 epidemic.

2019

Internship and PhD dissertations

Characterisation of the state and dynamics of red coral populations (Corallium rubrum) in the Calanques National Park

Lien

Richaume J.

Following the creation of the Calanques National Park in 2012, which introduced no-take zones, a baseline state of red coral (Corallium rubrum) populations was investigated on 10 sites, giving the first insights; in 2018 this study was reiterated. During the course of this internship, using photogrammetry techniques, the comparison between the 2013 and 2018 photo series revealed a significant effect of the interaction between zoning and year on the population descriptors considered, reflecting the appearance of a reserve effect in 2018 which was absent in 2013. Populations in no-take zones show a maximum size and a basal diameter larger than outside populations, demonstrating efficiency of the Calanques National Park
management measures in maintaining its red coral populations. Among the sites studied, this study also allowed to quantify the impact of a harvesting episode in Castelvieil as well as an exceptional growth in South Riou. Finally, it provides elements for management strategies that can be implemented to conserve red coral populations and more generally the long-lived marine species across the Mediterranean.

2019

Scientific publications and books

Is artificial habitat diversity a key to restoring nurseries for juvenile coastal fish? Ex situ experiments on habitat selection and survival of juvenile seabreams

Lien

Mercader M., Blazy C., Pane J.D., Devissi C., Mercière A., Cheminée A., Thiriet P., Pastor J., Crec’hriou R., Verdoit‐Jarraya M., Lenfant P.

Man-made infrastructures have become ubiquitous components of coastal landscapes, leading to habitat modification that affects the abundance and diversity of marine organisms. Marine coastal fish have a complex life cycle requiring different essential habitats. One of these habitats is known as a nursery, a place where juveniles can settle in large numbers, survive, and grow to contribute to the adult population. Nurseries aremainly found in shallow, sheltered zones and are thus particularly impacted by urbanization, notably by harbors. The vertical featureless structure of docks is very unlikely to be used by juveniles, which need complex habitats to find food and shelter from predators. Recent attempts to rehabilitate the nursery function in such environments by using artificial habitats have proven efficient in increasing juvenile densities. However, nothing is known about the survival of juveniles in these habitats, preventing any conclusions on the effectiveness of this means of restoration from being drawn. Here, we set up tank experiments to test the relationship between habitat preferences and the survival rate of two species of seabream when facing stalk-attacking combers. Habitat choice was consistent with survival results, indicating that artificial habitats might not represent unintended ecological traps for juveniles. However, the artificial habitats’ effect on survival was variable between species. Therefore, our results suggest that habitat diversity might be of prime importance to sustain juveniles of different species and stress the need for the development of diverse artificial habitats to counteract the effects of seascape homogenization.

2019

Scientific publications and books

Juvenile fish in Cystoseira forests: influence of habitat complexity and depth on fish behaviour and assemblage composition

Lien

Cuadros A., Moranta J., Cardona L., Thiriet P., Francour P., Vidal E., Sintes J., Cheminee A.

The sublittoral forests formed by the fucoid algae Cystoseira spp. are important juvenile habitats for many Mediterranean fish species. However, the spatial variability of juvenile fish assemblages within the forests and the potential environmental drivers, such as depth and habitat complexity, remain poorly understood. We estimated the density, size and behaviour of juvenile fish
assemblages in subtidal (0-15 meters depth) Cystoseira brachycarpa var. balearica forests in north Minorca Island (North-western Mediterranean Sea) over two consecutive autumns (2012 and 2013). Depth and forest complexity, here measured as canopy volume, had both a significant and independent effect on the juvenile fish assemblages in terms of species abundance composition
and body size. Assemblages found in the shallowest depth range (3-4m) were characterized by greater density of the ornate wrasse Thalassoma pavo, while those deeper down (10-12m) had higher density of the rainbow wrasse Coris julis, independently of its size composition. Juveniles of both species were more abundant in less complex forests; conversely, juveniles of wrasse of
the genus Symphodus were more abundant in more complex forests. The smallest sizes of T. pavo occurred in the most complex forests. On the other hand, our results demonstrated that juvenile fish behaviour was unrelated to the complexity of the Cystoseira forests, but mainly related to the body length. The effects of body length on behaviour were however species-dependent. Cryptic
and transitory behaviour was mostly observed in the smallest and largest juveniles of T. pavo and C. julis, respectively, while the behaviour of Symphodus spp. was unrelated to their body length. Our study highlights the importance of preserving healthy Cystoseira forests and their intrinsically patchy nature, as this habitat, with its mosaic of different degrees of complexity and bathymetric variability, enable the presence of different fish species at various life stages.

2018

Scientific publications and books

Settlement and post-settlement survival rates of the white seabream (Diplodus sargus) in the western Mediterranean Sea

Lien

Cuadros A., Basterretxea G., Cardona L., Cheminée A., Hidalgo M., Moranta J.

Survival during the settlement window is a limiting variable for recruitment. The survival is believed to be strongly determined by biological interactions and sea conditions, however it has been poorly investigated. We examined the settlement patterns related to relevant biotic and abiotic factors (i.e. Density-dependence, wind stress, wave height and coastal current velocity) potentially determining post-settler survival rates of a coastal necto-benthic fish of wide distribution in the Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic, the white seabream (Diplodus sargus). An observational study of the demography of juveniles of this species was carried out at six coves in Menorca Island (Balearic Islands, western Mediterranean). Three of the coves were located in the northern and wind exposed coast, at the Northeast (NE) side; while the other three were found along the southern and sheltered coast, at the Southwest (SW) side of the island. The settlement period extended from early May to late June and maximum juvenile densities at the sampling sites varied between 5 and 11 ind. m-1 with maximum values observed in late May simultaneously occurring in the two coasts. Our analysis of juvenile survival, based on the interpretation of the observed patters using an individual based model (IBM), revealed two stages in the size-mortality relationships. An initial density-dependent stage was observed for juveniles up to 20 mm TL, followed by a density independent stage when other factors dominated the survival at sizes > 20 mm TL. No significant
environmental effects were observed for the small size class (<20mm TL). Different significant environmental effects affecting NE and SW coves were observed for the medium (20-30mm TL) and large (>30mm TL) size class. In the NE, the wind stress consistently affected the density of fish of 20±30 mm and >30 mm TL with a dome-shape effect with higher densities at intermediate values of wind stress and negative effect at the extremes. The best models applied in the SW coves showed a significant non-linear negative effect on fish density that was also consistent for both groups 20±30 mm and >30 mm TL. Higher densities were observed at low values of wave height in the two groups. Because of these variations, the number of juveniles present at the end of the period was unrelated to their initial density and average survival varied among locations. In consequence, recruitment was (1) primarily limited by denso-dependient procedures at settlement stage, and (2) by sea conditions at post-settlement, where extreme wave conditions depleted juveniles. Accordingly, regional hydrodynamic conditions during the settlement season produced significant impacts on the juvenile densities depending on their size and with contrasted effects in respectto cove orientation. The similar strength in larval supply between coves, in addition
to the similar mean phenology for settlers in the north and south of the Island, suggests that all fish may come from the same parental reproductive pool. These factors should be taken into account when assessing relationships between settlers, recruits and adults of white seabream.

2018

Scientific publications and books

Spatial distribution of juvenile fish along an artificialized seascape, insights from common coastal species in the Northwestern Mediterranean Sea

Lien

Mercader M., Rider M., Cheminée A., Pastor J., Zawadzki A., Mercière A., Crec’hriou R., Verdoit-Jarraya M., Lenfant P.

Along the littoral, a growing number of anthropogenic structures have caused substantial habitat destruction. Despite their detrimental impact, these constructions could play a role in the functioning of coastal ecosystems. The objective of this work was to assess the distribution of juvenile coastal fish along a seascape composed of various natural and artificial habitats in order to determine the potential role of coastal infrastructures as juvenile habitat. We surveyed juvenile populations on various infrastructures and natural sites along a 100 km shoreline of the French Mediterranean coast. Juvenile densities varied according to the level of artificialization of the sites. Densities were the highest on coastal defense structures, intermediate in natural sites and lowest in harbors. Focusing inside harbors revealed highly variable densities depending on the type of habitat, with densities on ripraps or jetties that were equivalent to those of natural sites. Our results underline the importance of anthropogenic structures as potential juvenile habitats, which is too often not considered in management plans.

2017

Scientific publications and books

Juvenile fish assemblages in temperate rocky reefs are shaped by the presence of macro-algae canopy and its three-dimensional structure.

Lien

Cheminée A., Pastor J., Bianchimani O., Thiriet P., Sala E., Cottalorda J.-M., Dominici J.-M., Lejeune P., Francour P.

Arborescent macro-algae forests covering temperate rocky reefs are a known habitat for juvenile fishes. However, in the Mediterranean, these forests are undergoing severe transformations due to pressures from global change. In our study, juvenile fish assemblages differed between pristine arborescent forests (Cystoseira brachycarpa var. balearica) versus an alternate state: bushland (Dictyotales – Sphacelariales). Forests hosted richer and three-fold more abundant juvenile assemblages. This was consistent through space, whatever the local environmental conditions, along 40 km of NW Mediterranean subtidal rocky shores (Corsica, France).

2017

Scientific publications and books

Small artificial habitats to enhance the nursery function for juvenile fish in a large commercial port of the Mediterranean

Lien

Mercader M., Mercière A., Saragoni G., Cheminée A., Crec’hriou R., Pastor J., Rider M., DUbas R., Lecaillon G., Boissery P., Lenfant, P.

The concentration of human activities along the shoreline induces high levels of pressure, notablyseascape urbanization caused by the proliferation of coastal and marine infrastructures such as ports,harbors, marinas and coastal defense structures. Because they are localized in sheltered and shallowcoastal areas, these infrastructures inevitably lead to the loss of natural essential habitats once used asnursery ground by juvenile fish. Some studies have reported the presence of high juvenile densities onbreakwaters and jetties suggesting those infrastructures could support the nursery function. However,ports seem unlikely to be used by juveniles due to their vertical and featureless docks. Here we exploredthe feasibility of using small artificial habitats to enhance the ecological value of ports. We set up a totalof 108 artificial habitats in three different locations of the large commercial port of Marseille in the north-western Mediterranean. We then surveyed juvenile fish on the artificial habitats and control docks on7 different occasions between June and September 2014. Average species richness and densities werehigher on the artificial habitats but displayed high spatial and taxa-specific variations. Hence, small arti-ficial habitats are promising ecological engineering tools to enhance the nursery function inside portsand thus reduce the ecological footprint of those infrastructures.

2017

Scientific publications and books

Seascape attributes, at different spatial scales, determine settlement and post-settlement of juvenile fish

Lien

Cuadros A., Moranta J., Cardona L., Thiriet P., Pastor J., Arroyo N.L., Cheminée A.

Concern has increased in recent decades regarding processes influencing fish juvenile density distributions; indeed, juveniles determine the replenishment of populations and their habitats are often found in shallow coastal areas, where human impacts are concentrated. We aimed to measure the relative importance of seascape attributes at various spatial scales (from seascape to microhabitat) in fish settlement and post-settlement processes. Along the coast of Minorca Island (NW Mediterranean), Diplodus sargus settlement variability was higher among the southern coast compared to the variability in the northern one. Independently of coast location, sheltered nurseries presented lower settlement intensity and recruitment levels compared to exposed ones. Such patterns suggested differential larval supply according to exposure level. Furthermore, subsequent density-dependent post-settlement mortality reduced the cove-specific variability of initial settlement. In addition, inside each cove, juveniles displayed ontogenetic changes of microhabitat use: smaller juveniles were more abundant in the most heterogeneous microhabitat. Consequently, juvenile density distributions responded to seascape attributes at different spatial scales; this suggests that both lager scale attributes and microhabitat influence both settlement and post-settlement processes, and may be limiting for recruitment. Our study demonstrated the importance of a diversified seascape to promote fish population replenishment.

2017

Scientific publications and books

The three-dimensional structure of Cymodocea nodosa meadows shapes juvenile fish assemblages (Fornells Bay, Minorca Island)

Lien

Cuadros A., Cheminée A., Thiriet P.D., Moranta J., Vidal E., Sintes Vila J., Sagrista N., Cardona L.

The role of the meadows of the Mediterranean seagrass Cymodocea nodosa as nursery habitats for fish remains largely unknown and there are only few studies investigating the influence of their structure on juvenile assemblages. Here, we monitored juvenile fish assemblages among shallow Cymodocea nodosa meadows (0–1 m) in Minorca Island (north-western Mediterranean Sea) in both July and September 2013. To assess the influence of structural components on juvenile fish assemblages, we selected two different meadow structure types: heterogeneous with intermingled boulders and homogeneous meadows, i.e. without boulders. Juvenile fish assemblages varied significantly among these two meadow structures. Heterogeneous meadows had higher total juvenile density and species richness, where some species were only found in these portions, such as Coris julis and Serranus spp. Other species, such as Symphodus spp. and Sarpa salpa, were also more abundant within heterogeneous meadows. However, densities of some species were not increased in heterogeneous meadows demonstrating a specific response to habitat structure. For instance, Diplodus annularis displayed similar abundances in both heterogeneous and homogeneous portions of the meadow. Our study reveals that the intrinsic structural variability of seagrass meadows plays a key role for the assemblage of several fish species that are characterized by different early life history strategies.

2017

Scientific publications and books

An ecosystem-based approach to assess the status of Mediterranean algae-dominated shallow rocky reefs

Lien

Thibaut T., Blanfuné A., Boudouresque C.F., Personnic S., Ruitton S., Ballesteros E., Bellan-Santini D., Bianchi C.N., Bussotti S., Cebrian E., Cheminée A., Culioli J.-M., Derrien-Courtel S., Guidetti P., Harmelin-Vivien M., Hereu B., Morri C., Poggiale J.-C., Verlaque M.

A conceptual model was constructed for the functioning the algae-dominated rocky reef ecosystem of the Mediterranean Sea. The Ecosystem-Based Quality Index (reef-EBQI) is based upon this model. This index meets the objectives of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive. It is based upon (i) the weighting of each compartment, according to its importance in the functioning of the ecosystem; (ii) biological parameters assessing the state of each compartment; (iii) the aggregation of these parameters, assessing the quality of the ecosystemfunctioning, for each site; (iv) and a Confidence Index measuring the reliability of the index, for each site. The reef-EBQI was used at 40 sites in the northwestern Mediterranean. It constitutes an efficient tool, because it is based upon awide set of functional compartments, rather than upon just a fewspecies; it is easy and inexpensive to implement, robust and not redundant with regard to already existing indices.

2017

Scientific publications and books

Shallow rocky nursery habitat for fish: spatial variability of juvenile fishes among this poorly protected essential habitat

Lien

Cheminée A., Rider M., Lenfant P., Zawadzki A., Mercière A., Crec’hriou R., Mercader M., Saragoni G., Neveu R., Ternon Q., Pastor J.

Coastal nursery habitats are essential for the renewal of adult fish populations.We quantified the availability of a coastal nursery habitat (shallow heterogeneous rocky bottoms) and the spatial variability of its juvenile fish populations along 250 km of the Catalan coastline (France and Spain). Nurseries were present in 27% of the coastline, but only 2% of them benefited from strict protection status. For nine taxa characteristic of this habitat, total juvenile densities varied significantly between nursery sites along the coastline, with the highest densities being found on the northern sites. Recruitment level (i.e. a proxy of nursery value) was not explained by protection level, but it was moderately and positively correlated with an anthropization index. Patterns of spatial variations were taxa-specific. Exceptional observations of four juveniles of the protected grouper Epinephelus marginatus were recorded. Our data on habitat availability and recruitment levels provides important informations which help to focus MPA management efforts.

2016

Internship and PhD dissertations

Realization of a pilot project to develop a logistic platform for the monitoring of the submerged habitats and the coast in Marseilles

Lien

Barth L.

The protection of the marine environment is increasingly integrated into public policies. The research programs, coordinated by scientists, are part of multi-scale institutional strategies and action plans in favor of marine biodiversity. However, the temporality of the actions carried out by all of these stakeholders is not identical and makes the use of field data sometimes not optimized. To move towards sustainable management, managers express a need for data whose format is homogeneous in time and space. On the other hand, recreational divers show a real interest in contributing to the protection of the marine environment, by collecting field data. POLARIS is a pilot project that positions itself as a technical and educational platform dedicated to the acquisition of field data for the knowledge and protection of the marine environment.

2016

Scientific publications and books

Abundance and diversity of crypto- and necto-benthic coastal fish are higher in marine forests than in structurally less complex macroalgal assemblages

Lien

Thiriet, P.D., Franco, A.D., Cheminée, A., Guidetti, P., Bianchimani, O., Basthard-Bogain, S., Cottalorda, J.-M., Arceo, H., Moranta, J., Lejeune, P., Francour, P., Mangialajo

In Mediterranean subtidal rocky reefs, Cystoseira spp. (Phaeophyceae) form dense canopies up to 1 m high. Such habitats, called `Cystoseira forests’, are regressing across the entire Mediterranean Sea due to multiple anthropogenic stressors. Cystoseira forests are being replaced by structurally less complex habitats, but little information is available regarding the potential difference in the structure and composition of fish assemblages between these habitats. To fill this void, we compared necto-benthic (NB) and crypto-benthic (CB) fish assemblage structures between Cystoseira forests and two habitats usually replacing the forests (turf and barren), in two sampling regions (Corsica and Menorca). We sampled NB fish using Underwater Visual Census (UVC) and CB fish using Enclosed Anaesthetic Station Vacuuming (EASV). We found that both taxonomic diversity and total density of NB and CB fish were highest in Cystoseira forests and lowest in barrens, while turfs, that could be sampled only at Menorca, showed intermediate values. Conversely, total biomass of NB and CB fish did not differ between habitats because the larger average size of fish in barrens (and turfs) compensated for their lower densities. The NB families Labridae and Serranidae, and the CB families Blenniidae, Cliniidae, Gobiidae, Trypterigiidae and Scorpaenidae, were more abundant in forests. The NB taxa Diplodus spp. and Thalassoma pavo were more abundant in barrens. Our study highlights the importance of using EASV for sampling CB fish, and shows that Cystoseira forests support rich and diversified fish assemblages. This evidence suggests that the ongoing loss of Cystoseira forests may impair coastal fish assemblages
and related goods and services to humans, and stresses the need to implement strategies for the successful conservation and/or recovery of marine forests.

2016

Scientific publications and books

Does habitat complexity influence fish recruitment?

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Cheminée A., Merigot B., Vanderklift M.A., Francour P.

Human activities facilitate coastal habitat transformation and homogenization. The spread of marine invasive species is one example. This in turn may influence fish recruitment and the subsequent replenishment of adult assemblages. We tested habitat complexity effect on fish (Teleostei) recruitment by experimentally manipulating meadows of the habitat-forming invasive macroalga Caulerpa taxifolia (Chlorophyta). Among the fourteen fish species recorded during the experiment, only two labrids (Coris julis and Symphodus ocellatus) settled in abundance among these meadows. Patterns in the abundance of these juveniles suggested that reduced tri-dimensional meadow complexity may reduce habitat quality and result in altered habitat choices and / or differential mortality of juveniles, therefore reducing fish recruitment and likely the abundance of adults.

2014

Congresses and conferences

Characterizing Corallium rubrum populations of two Mediterranean MPAs using underwater photogrammetry

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Berman L., Bianchimani O., Garrabou J., Drap, P., Payrot J., Accornero-Picon A., Clement A.-L., Cheminée A.

In the frame of two MPA management (the recently enforced Calanques National Park and the 30 years-old Banyuls MPA) Corallium rubrum (Cnidaria) populations were studied in order to give managers useful data for population management. Data on morphology, recruitment and population size-structure were collected in both MPAs using novel photogrammetric methods allowing precise tridimensional measures. We assessed size structures and population dynamics and linked it to the protection levels of both MPAs.

2014

Scientific publications and books

How 3D complexity of macrophyte-formed habitats affect the processes structuring fish assemblages within coastal temperate seascapes?

Lien

Thiriet P., Cheminée A., Mangialajo L., Francour P.

Macrophyte-formed habitats are important components of coastal temperate seascapes. They usually host higher diversity and density of fishes, including both adult and juvenile individuals. Here we synthesized the ecological processes underlying differences in fish assemblage structure among habitats, with an emphasis on the effects of habitat architectural complexity, which results in great part from the state of macrophyte assembalges. At a wide spatial scale, oceanographic patterns affect larval survival and dispersal and consecutive broad patterns of juvenile settlement. At a finer spatial scale, architectural complexities of the habitats affect their quality (basically food availability and predation risk) which drives local patterns of juvenile abundances through differential mortality and active habitat selection. Hence, the analysis and understanding of juvenile/adult abundance patterns have to consider nested sets of seascape features.

2014

Scientific publications and books

Management of infralittoral habitats: towards a seascape scale approach

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Cheminée, A., Feunteun, E., Clerici, S., Cousin, B., Francour, P.

This study highlighted that the management of coastal fish assemblages still requires to upgrade and involve not only the approach of controlling catches but also in addition the management of all the essential habitats frequented during the different stages in the life cycle of these species. On the basis of a specific case study, the nurseries of the Sparidae fishes of the genus Diplodus (white seabream) in the area of the Calanques National Park (Marseilles; north-western Mediterranean), the present article proposes a conceptual scheme to guide coastal managers in following a seascape scale approach while using the tools they dispose of. This case study furthermore enables us to make practical recommendations applicable to the statutory and contractual management of the whole of the Mediterranean coastal zone.

2013

Scientific publications and books

Effect of depth and canopy height on the nursery value of Cystoseira balearica forests for Mediterranean rocky reef fishes

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Cuadros-Casado A., Cheminée A., Vidal E.M., Thiriet P., Bianchimani O., Basthard-Bogain S., Francour P., Moranta, J.

We studied effects of depth and Cystoseira balearica forests canopy height on coastal juvenile fish assemblages of Minorca Island. Results showed a clear differentiation of juvenile fish assemblages due to depth: assemblage in the shallowest range (3-4m) was characterized by higher densities of Thalassoma pavo, deeper ones (6-8, 10-12 m) by higher densities of Coris julis. Smallest juveniles of both species were more abundant within forests displaying the highest canopy height; meanwhile largest juveniles were more abundant within low Cystoseira forests. Also, both species showed predominantly a cryptic behavior on forest of higher canopy height, and a temporal one when canopy was lower.

2013

Congresses and conferences

Effect of depth and canopy height on the nursery value of Cystoseira balearica forests for Mediterranean rocky reef fishes

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Cuadros-Casado I. A., Cheminée A., Vidal-Cejuela E. M., Thiriet P., Bianchimani O., Basthard-Bogain S., Francour P., Moranta, J.

We studied effects of depth and Cystoseira balearica forests canopy height on coastal juvenile fish assemblages of Minorca Island. Results showed a clear differentiation of juvenile fish assemblages due to depth: assemblage in the shallowest range (3-4 m) was characterized by higher densities of Thalassoma pavo, deeper ones (6-8, 10-12 m) by higher densities of Coris julis. Smallest juveniles of both species were more abundant within forests displaying the highest canopy height; meanwhile largest juveniles were more abundant within low Cystoseira forests. Also, both species showed predominantly a cryptic behavior on forest of higher canopy height, and a temporal one when canopy was lower. This study supports the importance of preserving healthy Cystoseira forests in order to preserve their nursery value for these two Labrid species

2013

Scientific publications and books

Nursery value of Cystoseira forests for Mediterranean rocky reef fishes

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Cheminée A., Sala E., Pastor J., Bodilis P., Thiriet P., Mangialajo L., Cottalorda J.-M., Francour P.

The canopy-forming fucoid Cystoseira spp. provide biogenic structure, food and shelter for many organisms including fishes on Mediterranean nearshore rocky reefs. Infralittoral Cystoseira forests have declined or disappeared from many Mediterranean locales, leading to a severe transformation of the habitat and the loss of its tri-dimensional structure. Here we assess the nursery value of Cystoseira forests and the consequences of this habitat transformation on the recruitment of rocky reef fish assemblages. Densities of several reef fish juveniles—particularly Symphodus spp.—were 9 to 12 folds greater in Cystoseira forests than in other erect and turf algal assemblages. Experimental habitat manipulation mimicking the alteration of a Cystoseira canopy showed greater abundances of Symphodus spp. juveniles on artificially forested substratum than on bare substratum. Our study quantified for the first time the nursery value and functional importance of
Cystoseira forests canopies suggesting that their loss may strongly affect the recruitment of littoral fishes in the Mediterranean Sea.

2012

Internship and PhD dissertations

Ecological functions, transformations and management of infralittoral rocky habitats from the North-western Mediterranean: the case of fish (Teleostei) nursery habitats

Lien

Cheminée A.

The aim of this PhD was to better understand the characteristics and consequences of the transformations of Mediterranean infralittoral fish (Teleostei) nursery habitats, in order to gather useful knowledge for management of coastal areas in Mediterranean regions. Among the seascape mosaic, Cystoseira forests, a threatened macrophytes-formed habitat, displayed higher densities of fish juveniles (notably Labridae and Serranidae) than alternate states of rocky bottoms photophilic biocenosis, namely Dictyotales and Sphacelariales bushland and barren grounds. The relatively higher nursery value of Cystoseira forests (for Symphodus spp.) and of the shallow heterogeneous blocks and pebbles gentle slopes (for Diplodus spp.) where consistent through space at both local (1 km) and regional (20 km) scales, although juvenile densities varied significantly in space between sites for a given nursery habitat. The spatial variability of juvenile densities, both across various habitats and among Cystoseira forests was notably related to habitat tri-dimensional structure (heterogeneity and complexity); this structure provided refuges for juveniles and influenced namely predation success of their predators. This experimental and observational study demonstrated that habitat human-induced transformations, such as forest fragmentation and cover density decrease critically reduced their nursery value for coastal fishes. Our results suggest that the fish productivity virtually lost in areas where forests have already disappeared may be considerable. Finally, these essential habitats were scarce and not homogenously distributed along the coast: in the case of Diplodus spp., less than 10% of the studied rocky shores displayed nursery habitats.
Furthermore, the present work highlighted that the current design of management measures did not take into account the spatial distribution of these nursery habitats and the connectivity between all essential habitats at each life stages. A conceptual scheme aiming at adopting such “seascape approach” is proposed, in order to better target conservation efforts and guarantee coastal fish assemblages’ replenishment.

2011

Scientific publications and books

Assessment of Diplodus spp. (Sparidae) nursery grounds along the rocky shore of Marseilles (France, NW Mediterranean)

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Cheminée A., Francour P., Harmelin-Vivien M.

This work aimed at performing a large scale assessment of Diplodus spp. (Sparidae) nurseries along the rocky shore of Marseilles (France, NW Mediterranean) by locating and quantifying nursery microhabitats and estimating the settlement pattern along this shore in 2004. Nursery grounds of Diplodus spp. represented only 9% of the 52 km-long rocky shore of Marseilles. Their location, shallow rocky habitats sheltered within coves, made them vulnerable to human-induced habitat transformations. D. vulgaris settled along this coast at the end of February 2004 and D. puntazzo settled a couple of months earlier. Maximum densities observed reached 215 and 67 ind./100 m for D. vulgaris and D. puntazzo respectively. The settlement rates were spatially variable. At a regional scale, lower settlement rates were observed within the south and centre zones, compared to those observed in the west, east, and the Marseilles Bay zones. Suitable nurseries along this shore seem insufficient for the replenishment of adult assemblages, which suggests that they depend on the migration of adults from other areas. Along the Marseilles rocky shore, coastal development projects leading to the destruction of habitats would represent a major threat to the Diplodus life cycle, which could be even greater than usual given the vulnerability and small size of the nurseries. These results show that it is necessary to protect these scarce local nursery habitats and manage other nearby nurseries to ensure the survival of fish at a critical life stage and the replenishment of adult assemblages.

2010

Scientific publications and books

Marine Protected Areas and the conservation of long-lived marine invertebrates: the Mediterranean red coral

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Linares C., Bianchimani O., Torrents O., Marschal C., Drap P., Garrabou J.

Intensive harvesting has caused important shifts in the size structure of the Mediterranean red coral Corallium rubrum, and continues to hinder the total recovery of exploited populations. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) offer an excellent opportunity to observe their recovery in the absence of fishing pressures. In this study, we analysed the demographic structure of red coral populations
from 3 of the oldest Mediterranean MPAs. The population structures at the beginning of each reserve and after 30 yr of similar management efforts were also forecasted. The 3 MPAs displayed
higher size values than those reported for most of the shallow populations and deep-dwelling populations. Differences in the observed size distributions were more closely related to the structure at the beginning of the reserve than to the number of years of protection. The estimated future size distributions showed a significant increase in large colonies; however, the maximum values predicted are far from those measured in pristine populations. Comparisons of harvested and protected populations using different parameters allowed us to identify the percentages of colonies with basal diameter greater than 7 mm or colony height greater than 100 mm as the most useful descriptors for evaluating the conservation status of each population. The vulnerability of long-lived marine invertebrates to disturbances is due to their slow population dynamics, hence the importance of active management within MPAs to promote delayed but long-term positive effects on these species. This study provides helpful information for the evaluation of the effectiveness of management measures for coral populations.

2010

Scientific publications and books

Fine-scale genetic structure and inferences on population biology in the threatened Mediterranean red coral, Corallium rubrum

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Ledoux J.-B. , Garrabou J., Bianchimani O., Drap P., Féral J.-P., Aurelle D.

Identifying microevolutionary processes acting in populations of marine species with larval dispersal is a challenging but crucial task because of its conservation implications. In this context, recent improvements in the study of spatial genetic structure (SGS) are particularly promising because they allow accurate insights into the demographic and evolutionary processes at stake. Using an exhaustive sampling and a combination of image processing and population genetics, we highlighted significant SGS between colonies of Corallium rubrum over an area of half a square metre, which sheds light on a number of aspects of its population biology. Based on this SGS, we found the mean dispersal range within sites to be between 22.6 and 32.1 cm, suggesting that the surveyed area approximately corresponded to a breeding unit. We then conducted a kinship analysis, which revealed a complex half-sib family structure and allowed us to quantify the level of self-recruitment and to characterize aspects of the mating system of this species. Furthermore, significant temporal variations in allele frequencies were observed, suggesting low genetic drift. These results have important conservation implications for the red coral and further our understanding of the microevolutionary processes acting within populations of sessile marine species with a larval phase.

2007

Scientific publications and books

Protected coral reefs of French oversea territories

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Gabrie C., Eynaudi A., Cheminée A.

This book was produced as part of the implementation of the national action plan of the French Initiative for Coral Reefs (IFRECOR). It is a contribution from WWF-France, a member of the IFRECOR national committee, to the implementation of federal action on marine protected areas.