Mapping the habitat refugia of Isidella elongata under climate change and trawling impacts to preserve Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems in the Mediterranean

Type Article
Date 2024-03
Language English
Author(s) Georges Vincent1, 2, Vaz SandrineORCID2, Carbonara Pierluigi3, Fabri Marie-ClaireORCID4, Fanelli Emanuela5, Follesa Maria Cristina6, Garofalo Germana1, 7, 15, Gerovasileiou Vasilis8, 9, Jadaud AngeliqueORCID2, Maiorano Porzia10, Marin Pilar11, Mytilineou Chryssi9, Orejas Covadonga12, Del Mar Otero Maria13, Smith Chris J.9, Thasitis Ioannis14, Lauria Valentina1, 7, 15
Affiliation(s) 1 : Institute for Biological Resources and Marine Biotechnologies, CNR IRBIM, Mazara del Vallo, Italy
2 : MARBEC, Univ Montpellier, CNRS, Sète, Ifremer, IRD, France
3 : Fondazione COISPA ETS, Via Dei Trulli 18/20, Bari, Italy
4 : Ifremer, Centre de Méditerranée, Département Océanographie Et Dynamique Des Ecosystèmes, 83500, La Seyne Sur Mer, France
5 : Department of Life and Environmental Sciences - DiSVA, Università Politecnica Delle Marche, Ancona, Italy
6 : Dipartimento Scienze, Vita E Ambiente, Università Di Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy
7 : Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA), BIO-CIT, Lungomare Cristoforo Colombo N. 4521 (Ex Complesso Roosevelt) Località Addaura, 90149, Palermo, Italy
8 : Department of Environment, Faculty of Environment, Ionian University, 29100, Zakynthos, Greece
9 : Institute of Marine Biological Resources and Inland Waters, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Gournes, Greece
10 : Department of Bioscience, Biotechnology and Environnement (DBBA), University of Bari Aldo Moro, Bari, Italy
11 : Independent Expert, Madrid, Spain
12 : Instituto Español de Oceanografia, IEO, Centro Oceanográfico de Gijón, Gijón, Spain
13 : ETC-UMA (University of Malaga), Malaga, Spain
14 : Department of Fisheries and Marine Research, Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, 101 Vithleem Street, 2033, Nicosia, Cyprus
15 : National Biodiversity Future Center, NBFC, Palermo, Italy
Source Scientific Reports (2045-2322) (Springer Science and Business Media LLC), 2024-03 , Vol. 14 , N. 1 , P. 6246 (15p.)
DOI 10.1038/s41598-024-56338-1

The bamboo-coral Isidella elongata is a key habitat-forming species in the deep Mediterranean Sea. This alcyonacean is listed as an indicator of Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VMEs) and as Critically Endangered due to bottom trawling impacts. In this work, a modeling approach was used to predict and map the habitat suitability of I. elongata in the Mediterranean Sea under current environmental conditions. Occurrence data were modeled as a function of environmental parameters. Using climate change scenarios and fishing effort data, the risk of climate change and fisheries impacts on habitat suitability were estimated, and climate refugia were identified. A drastic loss of habitat is predicted, and climate change scenarios suggest a loss of 60% of suitable habitats by 2100. In the central Mediterranean, climate refugia overlapped with active fishing grounds. This study represents the first attempt to identify hot spots for the protection of soft bottom Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems for the entire Mediterranean Sea, and highlights areas most at risk from trawling. This work is relevant to the objectives of the EU Marine Strategy Framework and Maritime Spatial Planning Directives, the Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 regarding priority areas for conservation.

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Georges Vincent, Vaz Sandrine, Carbonara Pierluigi, Fabri Marie-Claire, Fanelli Emanuela, Follesa Maria Cristina, Garofalo Germana, Gerovasileiou Vasilis, Jadaud Angelique, Maiorano Porzia, Marin Pilar, Mytilineou Chryssi, Orejas Covadonga, Del Mar Otero Maria, Smith Chris J., Thasitis Ioannis, Lauria Valentina (2024). Mapping the habitat refugia of Isidella elongata under climate change and trawling impacts to preserve Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems in the Mediterranean. Scientific Reports, 14(1), 6246 (15p.). Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :