The Mediterranean Marine and Coastal Environment
The Mediterranean Basin is one of the most highly valued seas in the world. The region comprises a vast set of coastal and marine ecosystems that deliver valuable benefits to all its coastal inhabitants, including brackish water lagoons, estuaries, or transitional areas; coastal plains; wetlands; rocky shores and nearshore coastal areas; sea grass meadows; coralligenous communities; frontal systems and upwellings; seamounts; and pelagic systems. The Mediterranean is not only complex in ecology, but also socio-politically – twenty-one countries border this heavily used sea (UNEP/MAP, 2012).
The Mediterranean region: a climate change hot-spot.
The Mediterranean region has been referenced as one of the most responsive regions to climate change and was defined as a primary “Hot-spot” by Giorgi (2006), based on the results from global climate change projection scenarios. The last report from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPPC, 2013) highlights the Mediterranean as one of the most vulnerable regions in the world to the impacts of global warming. The context of global warming stresses the necessity to assess the possible consequences of climate change on this sensitive region which would become warmer and drier (IPCC 2007, 2013).