CIGESMED for divers - Citizen Science for CIGESMED

Abstract : What is "coralligenous"? What is commonly called coralligenous is, actually, a complex seascape (i.e. a submerged landscape) developing in dim light conditions, which is present exclusively in the Mediterranean Sea. Coralligenous habitat is mainly created by calcified red algae, which are constructing reef-like structures for thousands of years over marine rocky bottoms. In this respect coralligenous formations are considered to be the Mediterranean equivalent of the tropical coral reefs. At the same time, some other organisms-which are called 'eroders'-such as sponges of the genus Cliona or sea urchins-pierce and consume the calcareous substrate and thus contribute to increase the structural complexity of the coralligenous formations. This calcareous substrates also support several long-living species (sponges, gorgonians, bryozoans, corals), which are contributing to the structuring of the coralligenous habitat. Finally, a large number of invertebrates (such as nudibranchs, crustaceans, ascidians, echinoderms, molluscs) and fishes are associated with coralligenous habitats, a fact which further contributes toward the characterization of the coralligenous habitat as a unique biodiversity hotspot. Why do we observe coralligenous habitats? They are unique habitats worldwide and among the richest and most beautiful seascapes to observe during scuba diving. Thanks to their complexity, they shelter a great number of ecologically, aesthetically and commercially valuable species, some of which are also protected by National and International Laws. Coralligenous habitats are often threatened by the human behaviour. Intense anchoring, irresponsible diving, (over)fishing, litter dumping, alongside with sea surface warming (due to climatic change) and alien species invasions, are among the main threats which can induce negative effects on the health status of coralligenous habitats. By participating into the CIGESMED for divers-Citizen Science for CIGESMED project you contribute to the exploration and the conservation of the coralligenous habitats and the marine environment, while at the same you can increase your knowledge about the marine biodiversity.
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Giulia Gatti, Laure Thierry de Ville d'Avray, Romain David, Dimitriadis Charampalos, Vasilis Gerovasileiou, et al.. CIGESMED for divers - Citizen Science for CIGESMED. [Technical Report] IMBE Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d'Ecologie marine et continentale. 2016. ⟨hal-02156469⟩

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