Biodiversity Survey of Fish Post-Larvae in the Western Mediterranean Sea
According to the most recent assessments of the Census of Marine Life published in August 2010 in the review PlosOne (Coll and al., 2010), the decrease of marine biodiversity is particularly dramatic in the Mediterranean Sea. Causes of biodiversity loss are multiple and mainly due to human activities, but habitat degradation, overexploitation of natural resources, climate change, invasive species and pollution are recognized as the most important. The urgent need to stop the biodiversity decrease is addressed in the EU communication “Halting the loss of Biodiversity by 2010 and beyond, Sustaining ecosystem services for human well–being” (COM 2006). The SUBLIMO project responds to these EU objectives through targeting specific topic of Life+ Biodiversity project which has to guarantee an ecological good state. It integrates the specificity of marine life within the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (2008/56/EC). We try to reduce biodiversity losses, to improve knowledge and to propose operational solutions.
The SUBLIMO project proposes a new approach to analyze, to monitor and to reduce the loss of marine biodiversity. It will seek to identify and estimate the abundance of coastal fish species which return to colonise coastal habitats and renew the local population. The SUBLIMO Project’s specific goal is to analyse the biodiversity at the post-larval stage. In the fish life cycle, the arrival and settlement of pelagically spawned post-larvae in their permanent habitat is a critical phase with more than 90% mortality occurring due to predation and habitat degradation. The innovative technique proposed in the SUBLIMO Project is to catch a comparatively small number of live post-larvae prior to the mortality event, which are then reared-on in aquaria before being used for restocking. The major interest is that the post-larvae result from natural reproduction and thus their natural gene diversity is conserved. A few month later, the tank-reared juveniles can be returned to the sea using micro-habitats (such as small artificial reefs) to reduce mortality. The objective is to boost endangered or exploited species populations.