Project title: Conditions, resources, enemies and biodiversity: Forces structuring marine communities of the shallow Adriatic Sea - COREBIO
Croatian: Uvjeti, resursi, neprijatelji i bioraznolikost: Sile koje oblikuju morske zajednice u plitkom Jadranskom moru
Funding: HRZZ - Hrvatska Zaklada za Znanost / Croatian Science Foundation
Duration: 48 months
Start date: 01.10.2014
End date: 30.09.2018.
Project summary: This project is an investigation of the major drivers offish community structure in the shallow Adriatic Sea of Croatia. This information is crucial for the sustainable, scientific management of coastal ecosystems, as required by EU instruments such as the Habitats Directive, Marine Strategy Framework Directive, Water Framework Directive, and the Common Fisheries Policy.
The major questions asked are:
- What are the ecological baselines in Croatia in community structure?
- How does anthropogenic activity (harvesting, coastal development) shift community structure from baseline?
- How do marine protected areas maintain functional communities?
- How is community structure changing over time?
We will investigate these questions using innovative, non-destructive techniques for quantifying fish abundance and size distribution, and benthic habitat quality. These techniques include lure-assisted, underwater visual census which was originally developed in the Schultz laboratory; baited, underwater video; and DGPS¬assisted, towed underwater video.
EU policies require that non-destructive methods for assessment and monitoring replace destructive harvest-based methods currently in widespread use, and these methods are among the most scientifically supported non-destructive methods currently available. These methods will be used to quantify fish community structure and benthic habitat at all major MPAs and former MPAs in Croatia, to compare communities within MPAs to matched locations outside MPAs.
Matched locations will be chosen to test for specific anthropogenic drivers of community structure, such as high fishing pressure, coastal development, marine tourism, aquaculture, and terrestrial runoff. These results will advance our basic understanding of coastal ecosystems, and will be crucial for satisfying Croatia's responsibilities as an EU citizen in MPA construction, management, and monitoring of marine res ources.
prof. dr. sc. Stewart Schultz, University of Zadar
doc. dr. sc. Claudia Krushel, University of Zadar
Dubravko Pejdo, mag., University of Zadar
prof. dr. sc. Alen Soldo, University of Split, Odjel za studije mora
doc. dr. sc. Tatjana Bakren-Petricioli, University of Zagreb, Faculty of Science
univ.bacc. Donat Petricioli, D.I.I.V. ltd, Zagreb
Baited, remote underwater video. Eels Conger conger and Murena helena visiting a sardine bait station on the island of Kurba, Kornati NP, October 2014. Eels are nocturnal stalk-attack predators in tight spaces, such as dense seagrass, here Posidonia oceanica. We use BRUV to quantify fish size and assemblages associated with environmental variables such as benthic habitat and human activity, including fishing intensity and shoreline development.