Apart from monitoring programmes implemented to address specific management issues, there are many monitoring networks whose general objective is to monitor the quality of and pressures on marine environment. In addition to contributing directly to the implementation of public policies, such as the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/CE) or the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (2008/56/CE), these networks also participate in increasing knowledge on marine environment and its evolution. Information gathered through these networks may thus be very useful for MPA planning and management.
These networks are usually quite technical and expensive to implement, and may thus be complemented by other types of monitoring systems, such as citizen observatories, which are cheaper.
You will find below a non exhaustive list of existing monitoring networks.
CARLIT – Ecological status of rocky coast
As part of the Water Framework Directive monitoring programme, the “Macroalgae” descriptor has been implemented since 2007 using the CARLIT methodology. Intertidal and subtidal (upper part of the subtidal zone) rocky communities, geomorphologie and nature of the rock have been mapped at the 1:2500 scale. An ecological sensitivity level against disturbances from 1 (low sensitivity) to 20 (highly sensitive) has been assigned to each community. Using these maps, an Ecological Quality Ratio is calculated, and allows to determine, for each water body, an ecological status according to the Water Framework Directive criteria.
Impact – Modelling of coastal human pressures
Human activities induce important pressures on marine ecosystems, particularly on coastal environment. The Impact network aims to improve knowledge on the links between human-induced pressures and coastal ecosystems status using spatial models at the French Mediterranean scale. Results obtained through the Impact network are : (i) a decision support tool by targeting areas of high environmental concern, (ii) a basis for the establishment of ecological indicators, and (iii) a predictive tool for coastal zone management.
M-AMBI – Multivariate AZTI Marine Biotic Index
M-AMBI is a multimetric index for assessing the ecological quality status of marine and transitional waters. It is based on benthic macroinvertebrates and integrates AMBI (a biotic index based on species sensitivity/tolerance) with species diversity and richness, making it compliant with the European Water Framework Directive.
MEDAM inventories all facilities larger than 0.01 ha reclaimed from the sea by gathering and combining maps of the coast when it was still free from any constructions, maps of affected areas, and plans and aerial pictures of built facilities. MEDAM aims to assess the impact of these built facilities on shallow waters in order to limit in the future marine habitat destruction due to coastal development.
MEDOBS is an aerial monitoring networkcreated in 2011. It aims at acquiring knowledge about the distribution and quantification of uses at sea, pollutions, or any other particular event (presence of cetaceans, erosion of the coastline, storm plumes…) in French Mediterranean waters.
PREI – Posidonia oceanica Rapid Easy Index
The Posidonia oceanica Rapid Easy Index (PREI) is a method used to assess the ecological status of seawater along Mediterranean French coasts. The PREI was drawn up according to the requirements of the Water Framework Directive (WFD 2000/60/EC) and was tested on 24 stations in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and 18 stations in Corsica. The PREI is based on five metrics: shoot density, shoot leaf surface area, E/L ratio (epiphytic biomass/leaf biomass), depth of lower limit, and type of this lower limit.
The RECOR network started in 2010. It aims at assessing the status of Coralligenous populations by acquiring once every 3 years data on flora, fauna, and state of the biocenosis.
The REPHY network aims at monitoring all phytoplankton species in coastal waters, and intenvoring events such as coloured waters, exceptional blooms and toxic or harmful species proliferation. The REPHY network addresses more specifically the surveillance of species producing harmful toxins for shellfish consumers.
RESPIRE – Network for fish recruitment monitoring
The RESPIRE monitoring network aims to describe the spatio-temporal evolution of young fish recruits assemblages along the Mediterranean coast, and more specifically, to observe them on artificial habitats installed in port areas. These artificial habitats act as common monitoring units for all harbours. The RESPIRE network enables to (i) collect data to characterise the life cycle of young fish in order to, in fine, anticipate the population dynamics of mature individuals in coastal areas, (ii) build knowledge and research support on the status of fish recruitment along the Mediterranean coast, (iii) identify preferred areas (sink) in order to better prepare the implementation of ecological restoration measures, (iv) contribute to the assessment of the effetiveness of coastal zone restoration measures, and (v) contribute to the objectives of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) as well aw its monitoring networks.
The RINBIO network, created in 1996, aims at assessing chemical and radiological contamination levels in marine waters by using the mussel bioaccumulation capacity.
SURFSTAT – Marine Habitat Surface Monitoring
Created in 2013, the SURFSTAT network is part of the biological component of the Water Framework Directive. Its main objective is to assess using a statistical approach the ecological heterogeneity of the seabed over time and space between 0 and 80 m depth on the French Mediterranean coast. Describing heterogeneity is essential to assess habitat fragmentation and connectivity. The first mission of this network complete the existing 2D marine habitat map and establish a link with 3D marine habitats. The second objective is to propose and measure various composition and configuration variables that may be used as surface (spatial) indicators of coastal water quality based on these marine habitat maps. SURFSTAT is thus a first step towards a large-scale marine habitat monitoring system (with an interpretation grid).
The TEMPO network was created in 2008. It consists in creating micro-maps using data acquired through acoustic telemetry. Additional data about the meadow health and lower limit are also gathered. Data are gathered once every 3 years.
T-MedNet – Network for the monitoring of coastal water temperature
T-MedNet network is devoted to spread the acquisition of long term high resolution temperature series in Mediterranean coastal waters (0-40 m) as well as to facilitate data sharing and analysis. The main aims of the T-MedNet network are: (i) to gather information on high resolution temperature records currently available, (ii) to furnish information on “how to” implement and maintain new high resolution temperature records, and (iii) to develop a platform for the management and analysis of high resolution temperature records.