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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 508:261-281 (2014)  -  DOI:

Biodiversity data requirements for systematic conservation planning in the Mediterranean Sea

Noam Levin1,*, Marta Coll2,3, Simonetta Fraschetti4, Gideon Gal5, Sylvaine Giakoumi6,7, Cordula Göke8, Johanna Jacomina Heymans9,  Stelios Katsanevakis10, Tessa Mazor7, Bayram Öztürk11, Gil Rilov12, Juliusz Gajewski13, Jeroen Steenbeek14, Salit Kark7

1Department of Geography, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem 91905, Israel 2Institute of Marine Science (ICM-CSIC), Passeig Maritim de la Barceloneta, No. 37-49, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
3Laboratoire Écosystèmes Marins Exploités, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, UMR EME 212, Centre de Recherche Halieutique Méditerranéenne et Tropicale, Avenue Jean Monnet, BP 171, 34203 Sète Cedex, France
4Laboratory of Marine Biology, Università del Salento, DiSTeBA, CoNISMa, 73100 Lecce, Italy
5Kinneret Limnological Laboratory, Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research PO Box 447, Migdal 14950, Israel
6Institute of Marine Biological Resources and Inland Waters, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Agios Kosmas,
16777 Athens, Greece
7ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia
8Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Frederiksborgvej 399, PO Box 358, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark
9Scottish Association for Marine Science, Scottish Marine Institute, Oban, Argyll PA37 1QA, UK
10European Commission Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Water Resources Unit, Via E. Fermi 2749, Building 27, Ispra (VA) 21027, Italy
11Laboratory of Marine Biology, Faculty of Fisheries, Istanbul University, Ordu Cad. No. 200, Laleli, Istanbul, Turkey
12National Institute of Oceanography, Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research (IOLR), PO Box 8030, Haifa 31080, Israel
13Maritime Institute in Gdansk, ul. Dlugi Targ 41/42, 80–830 Gdansk, Poland
14Ecopath International Initiative Research Association, Barcelona, Spain
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The Mediterranean Sea’s biodiversity and ecosystems face many threats due to anthropogenic pressures. Some of these include human population growth, coastal urbanization, accelerated human activities, and climate change. To enhance the formation of a science-based system of marine protected areas in the Mediterranean Sea, data on the spatial distribution of ecological features (abiotic variables, species, communities, habitats, and ecosystems) is required to inform conservation scientists and planners. However, the spatial data required is often lacking. In this review, we aimed to address the status of our knowledge for 3 major types of spatial information: bathymetry, classification of marine habitats, and species distributions. To exemplify the data gaps and approaches to bridge them, we examined case studies that systematically prioritize conservation in the Mediterranean Sea. We found that at present the data required for conservation planning is generally more readily available and of better quality for the European countries located in the Western Mediterranean Sea. Additionally, the Mediterranean Sea is lagging behind other marine regions where rigorous criteria for conservation planning has been applied in the past 20 yr. Therefore, we call upon scientists, governments, and international governmental and non-governmental organizations to harmonize current approaches in marine mapping and to develop a framework that is applicable throughout the Mediterranean region. Such coordination between stakeholders is urgently needed before more countries undertake further extensive habitat mapping, so that future conservation planning can use integrated spatial datasets.

KEY WORDS: Conservation planning · Mediterranean Sea · Biodiversity · Habitats · Bathymetry · Spatial data

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Cite this article as: Levin N, Coll M, Fraschetti S, Gal G and others (2014) Biodiversity data requirements for systematic conservation planning in the Mediterranean Sea. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 508:261-281.

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