The ECOMERS laboratory (FRE 3729 UNS-CNRS) University of Nice Sophia Antipolis (UNS) held from June 14 to 16 a conference on marine protected areas (MPAs). Approximately 40 scientists, managers, financial officers and distinguished guests participated with the main objective to improve the effectiveness of MPAs in the Mediterranean and to sensitize to policy makers and the general public of the importance of these areas. HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco was the guest of honor on Thursday June 16th, and spoke on the support provided by the Foundation Albert II of Monaco to the protection of the oceans and seas.


In the framework of a research project funded by the Total Foundation (see 'Research' section), an exploration of a spectacular submerged marine cave has been conducted on 5th May, 2016. This cave, called 'La Cattedrale', is located at Marettimo Island, in Sicily (Italy), within the buffer zone of the Egadi Islands Marine Protected Area. Two scientists of the Ecomers Lab (P. Guidetti, A. Di Franco), accompanied by F. Tedone (Marettimo Diving Center), have explored this magnificient cave (see picture here below) to get data on the fish fauna living inside.

The entrance is located at about 30 m depth. The cave is formed by a tunnel approx. 50 m long, followed by a large chamber about 50 m long and 70 m wide, ending at about 100 m distance from the entrance. Inside some typical cave fishes have been recorded, like Grammonus ater and Thorogobius ephippiatus, along with the most abundant fish in Mediterranean marine caves, Apogon imberbis, which is the main subject of this research.


Picture taken inside the submerged marine cave 'La Cattedrale', Marettimo Island, Sicily (Italy). Photo: Sergio Riccardo.

The MMMPA final guidelines address some of the complex needs of Marine Protected Areas management Banc de Poissons 004

The ‘Monitoring Mediterranean Marine Protected Area’ (MMMPA) project (January 1st 2012 – December 31st 2015) has been financed by the European Commission within the 7th Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013). The main aim was to train the next generation of MPA scientists and managers, equipping them with a flexible set of scientific and management skills essential within a wide range of professional environments.
ECOMERS has hosted two PhD students. The first PhD research focus on the conservation and restoration of marine forests, in particular, on the relationships between seaweeds and herbivorous fish, the prospects for artificial structures forestation and the evolution of Fucales in MPAs. The objectives of the second PhD research is to understand the trophic relationships and the energy flows in coastal rocky ecosystems, in order to feed some models (ECOPATH, ECOTROPH) that allow simulations of fishing impacts on the trophic web.
With the aim to address some of the complex needs of Marine Protected Areas management, the results of the “MMMPA project have been synthesized in a series of timely and original guidelines you can download here.

Read more: MMMPA Final Guidelines

Merou scandola tete Giulia Prato has recently defended her PhD "Field monitoring and trophic modelling as management tools to assess ecosystem functioning and the status of high trophic level predators in Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas" in front of an international jury composed of Dr Marta Coll (reviewer), Pr. José Garcia-Charton (reviewer), Dr Giuseppe Di Carlo, Pr Paolo Guidetti (President), Pr Didier Gascuel (co-supervisor) and Pr Patrice Francour (supervisor).

This thesis has been granted by the MMMPA program, supported by the EU. This is the first thesis defended among all the MMMPA's students.

You can download this PhD thesis here.


Read more: Giulia Prato's PhD: 2016 01 29

Nodavirus infections are currently spreading among the Mediterranean grouper populations.

Emarginatus s

For several years, the GEM (Groupe d’Étude du Mérou / Grouper Study Group), with the suport of ECOMERS and other academic institutions, has been studying the patterns of change in the grouper populations in the Mediterranean, and through its national and international network of scientists, it disposes of numerous studies and observations of these fishes.

With regard to the virus by which they are currently affected, in particular, the GEM wishes to share with the public the latest information known to date.

You can download here a factsheet on Nodavirus infections in English, French or Italian.

Read more: Nodavirus infections in the grouper