Biodiversity and Ecosystems (EO1)

EO 1 Biodiversity

Biological diversity is maintained or enhanced. The quality and occurrence of coastal and marine habitats and the distribution and abundance of coastal and marine species are in line with prevailing physiographic, hydrographic, geographic and climatic conditions.

Key Messages:

  • The existing studies regarding habitat distributional range and condition of the habitat’s typical species and communities (CI1 and CI2) indicate a large proportion of habitats are to some degree threatened, although much of the Mediterranean remains un-sampled, with a focus only a few specific Mediterranean habitats. The shift from habitat conservation approaches to biodiversity and ecosystem functioning approaches is still under development and will require a reappraisal of the way we tackle ocean monitoring, assessment and management for the future implementation of IMAP. It reflects much better the rationale which sustains the management and conservation of marine ecosystems.
  • The analysis of marine systems is mostly compartmentalized, with a series of approaches that should be complementary. That require further researches including  the following: role of resting stage banks for plankton dynamics, impact of gelatinous macrozooplancton on the functioning of ecosystems, links between deep sea systems and coastal ones, habitat identification for the pelagic habitats and mapping processes, knowledge of connectivity processes, development of innovative techniques such as remote sensing and acoustic for the study of seabed to cover large areas at high resolution.
  • Species distributional range (CI3), population abundance (CI4) and population demographic characteristics (CI5) were assessed for marine mammals, seabirds and marine reptiles based on available studies. Major gaps in data and studies were noted overall, and therefore an overall regional assessment was not possible.
  • For marine mammals, the Mediterranean monk seal and the 11 cetacean species face several threats, due to heavy anthropogenic pressures throughout the entire Mediterranean basin, with low populations and patchy distribution for the Mediterranean monk seal, fin, sperm and killer whales as well as the common dolphin, and there is a need systematic monitoring programmes to assess and monitor trends. There is a strong need for systematic monitoring programmes over time, to collect time series and allow the assessment of trends over time and space. Monitoring programmes should be repeated at regular intervals, ideally every year for photo-identification using a risk-based approach and following international regulations (e.g.: Habitat and Marine Strategy Directives, Ecosystem Approach).
  • For sea-bird’s information is also scarce, with a southeast to northwest increasing diversity gradient observed, in agreement with productivity patterns, although data is limited in the southern and eastern countries. The limited information available for Balearic and Yelkouan shearwaters suggests that both species are undergoing a severe decline, which threatens them with extinction. Introduced predators and fishing bycatch deserve particular attention on this regard.
  • For marine reptiles, most nesting sites of loggerheads are located in the eastern and central basins of the Mediterranean, in particular in Greece, Turkey, Cyprus and Libya, while all green turtle nesting sites are located in the eastern basin, primarily Turkey, Syria and Cyprus. However, at present our knowledge on sea turtle abundance and demography is patchy at best for each component and that effort needs to be placed on filling existing gaps in order to predict with any certainty the future viability of sea turtle populations in the Mediterranean.

Regular reporting for all Ecological Objectives should be established/strengthened.