Given the current climate and biodiversity crises, the main goal of MedRecover research group is to contribute to the conservation of Mediterranean marine ecosystems using original and innovative approaches integrating different biological organizations from individuals to populations, communities, and ecosystems. Our activities focus on the study of rocky benthic bottoms from 0 to 300 meters depth including macroalgal communities, coralligenous assemblages and deep cold-water corals. These communities display a high structural complexity, and are home to a large proportion of the Mediterranean biodiversity, including many threatened species.
Our research has mainly focused on the study of selected key species based on their ecological role in the functioning of marine benthic communities such as habitat-forming species, herbivorous, or predators species. Most of our model species display life-history traits, such as slow growth rates, low recruitment, that make them vulnerable to the increase of local and global stressors. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the main mechanisms and processes that enhance the resilience of these species and their associated biodiversity. We ultimately pursue to promote the implementation of effective management and conservation plans for the highly diverse benthic Mediterranean ecosystems.
Our main challenges are:
(i) To implement innovative field and laboratory experimental approaches to evaluate the key species vulnerability to stressors as well, as to analyze the mechanisms and processes involved in their recovery.
(ii) To characterize the potential adaptation to climate change by analyzing the interactions on the eco-evo processes (adaptation-acclimatization) and environmental conditions.
(iii) To adopt modeling approaches to increase our ability to assess the long-term impacts of disturbances as well as the outcomes of potential management and conservation measures.
(iv) To apply and develop new sampling methodologies to study the characterization of the structure and functioning of benthic marine ecosystems.
(v) To support ongoing long-term monitoring programs (>20 years) in different marine protected areas lead by our group providing unique spatial and reference at the Mediterranean and global scales.