Four PhDs of the ECOMERS laboratory presented their work on Thursday 11 of January 2018. You will find hereafter a summary and a PDF of their presentation.

Alexandre Schickele, co-directed by Virginie Raybaud & Patrice Francour
Title: Climate induced changes in Mediterranean fish communities:
A modelling approach
Abstract: Last decades, climate driven changes, including sea surface temperature increase in the Mediterranean Sea, have modified the native species’ abiotic environment, inducing northwards shifts in their distribution areas. During the same time, warm-water lessepsian migrants have settled along the south-eastern Mediterranean coast leading to competition with endemic species. The current distribution of several species including most invasive, most harvested and keystone species will be assessed using Ecological Niche Models (ENM). These models are calibrated with a given species spatial occurrence data and the associated environmental variables. Coupled with several global ocean circulation models and IPCC scenarios, we will be able to predict Mediterranean species distribution under climate change for the next decades. Using results of ENMs as input, trophic models will be calibrated on specific areas of the Mediterranean Sea to assess the complexity of climate induced changes on several type of ecosystem, including MPAs and cold-water ecoregions. Link to presentation

Elena Desidera, co-directed by Paolo Guidetti & Carlotta Mazzoldi
Title: Evaluating the effects of protection measures
on the reproductive biology of the Dusky Grouper, Epinephelus marginatus
Abstract: The Dusky grouper, Epinephelus marginatus, is an ecologically and economically valuable fish, highly vulnerable to overfishing due to slow growth rates, late sexual maturity, protogynous hermaphroditism and reproduction via spawning aggregations. Fishing caused dramatic declines in density and size of this fish in many areas of the Mediterranean Sea. Nowadays, this species is abundant only in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), where its spawning aggregations are mostly documented. This multi-disciplinary project aims at evaluating the effect of reserve protection on Dusky groupers’ spawning aggregations in Tavolara–Punta Coda Cavallo MPA (Sardinia, Italy), by collecting data about i) historical local fishery and knowledge of the species, ii) Dusky grouper populations demography and iii) reproductive activity, and iv) spawning-related sound production patterns (to listen sounds produced by groupers, click here).The project will have major management and socio-economic implications for supporting MPAs effectiveness in protecting this valuable endangered species during a vulnerable phase of its life cycle. Link to presentation

Elisabeth Riera, co-directed by Patrice Francour & Cédric Hubas
Title: Optimization of a new generation of artificial reef:
a pilot study in Mediterranean Sea.
Abstract: Artificial reefs (ARs) have been defined as "submerged structures placed on the seabed deliberately, to mimic some of the characteristics of natural reefs”. Most of the artificial reef immersed in the Mediterranean Sea are made with concrete that presents potential pollution and shows a poor complexity compared to natural rocky habitats. Our study aims to optimize a new generation artificial reefs designed by 3D print, both for their structural potential and for the ecological suitability of the materials used to design them. To assess the quality of any kind of substrate used for ARs, we monitor the first stage of colonization (biofilm and macrofouling), a key element in the colonization of ARs and the development of its trophic network. Secondly, to assess the structure of ARs, a quantitative complexity index of marine habitats is in development. This will allow testing a potential correlation between these indexes and the diversity and abundance of species associated with complexity of habitats. This will help in the future to choose the best design to attract species of interest. Link to presentation

Samer Fatfat, co directed by Paolo Guidetti & Jalal Halawani
Title : Impact of Fishing on the Ichthyofauna in the North Lebanese coast
Abstract: An important number of Lessepsian fishes colonize the Lebanese coast, and become a part of the local fish market. Fishing in Lebanon is not subject to the application of laws, or regulations, which are applied to the minimum. The Lebanese coast is considered to be overfishing. The study is made in north Lebanon and focus on fishing techniques, fishing vessels, target species and distribution of fisheries. Results of species caught will be divided into: primary target, secondary target, accessory target, bait target, and new primary target. Then a classification of fishing techniques is presented based on their impact on fishes listed on IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Finally, the quantity of captured species will be collected for each fishing technique. Several methods are used to collect the data: direct Interviews with fishermen, survey, accompany fishermen in different fishing techniques, and weekly data collection from 117 fishermen representing a percentage of fishing techniques and representative fishermen number in north Lebanon. Link to presentation