Anthropogenic climate change, and global warming in particular, has strong and increasing impacts on marine ecosystems. The Mediterranean region is a climate change hotspot, where the respective impacts of warming are very pronounced and relatively well documented.

One of the major impacts of sea surface temperature rise in the marine coastal ecosystems is the occurrence of mass mortality events (MMEs). These events have generally been associated with strong and recurrent marine heat waves which are becoming more frequent globally.

This paper presents the Mass Mortality Events Database, which is a collaborative initiative involving more than 30 research institutions from 10 Mediterranean countries. This initiative aims to facilitate the access to information related to MMEs.

The main objectives of the initiative are to:

  • Assemble and standardize existing information on MMEs.
  • Identify geographic gaps that need to be addressed through future monitoring and research efforts.
  • Assess species vulnerability to MMEs and identify observation taxonomic gaps.
  • Foster the analysis of the relationship between MMEs and environmental conditions, with an emphasis on marine heat waves.
  • Provide an unrestricted, open-source and easy access dataset.
  • Ensure transparency and clarity regarding the origin of each dataset and adequate data citation.
  • Provide information for the assessment of the impact of MMEs on the biodiversity and socio-economic activities.

Garrabou et al. (2019) Collaborative database to track mass mortality events in the Mediterranean Sea. Frontiers in Marine Science 6:707.