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Climate change influence on biodiversity, goods and services of Mediterranean lagoons


Scientific assessment of Climate Change effects on lagoons ecosystem in comparison with man-induced changes


The CLIMBIOMEDNET research project has investigated, using theory, observations and predictions, the relationships between biodiversity, ecosystem properties and temperature and salinity changes, which are going to be the immediate effects of climate change on Mediterranean lagoons. To this aim, (i) we developed a theoretical background highlighting paradoxes (low biodiversity but high productivity) and common trends (dominance of generalist species) for these particular ecological systems, (ii) we built the largest database on Mediterranean and Black Sea lagoons available on the web (Climbiomednet Web Portal: www.circlemednet.unisalento.it) gathering information on 635 lagoons with biological (species lists) and physico-chemical (salinity, temperature) parameters, and (iii) we collected projections of climate change for each lagoon and its watershed regarding land use, temperature, precipitation and salinity.
We show that the overall lagoon surface area in the Mediterranean and Black Sea basins is close to 10,000 km2 with few large lagoons and many small ones (314 out of 635 have a surface area lower than 1 km2). Our results on biodiversity point out that most of species are rare with half of species detected in a single lagoon. At the regional scale (Italy) our analyses suggest a decoupling between the strength of conservation funding and the gradient of ecological status with respect to macro invertebrates species richness. Finally, following the A2 IPCC scenario, sea surface temperature (SST) in front of coastal lagoons is expected to increase by 0.11°C and 1.21°C by the middle and the end of the century, respectively, with a maximum temperature increase of 2.54°C by the end of the century in the Adriatic Sea and more particularly for lagoons along the coast of Croatia.
As a perspective, the CLIMBIOMEDNET Transitional Waters Platform will contribute to the large research infrastructure project LifeWatch to maximize the accessibility of data, their integration and use, thus substantially increasing the impact of the CLIM.BIO.MED.NET project towards Mediterranean scientific and stakeholder communities interested in lagoon biodiversity. This integration will contribute to tackle the challenge of (i) anticipating climate change effects on Mediterranean lagoon biodiversity and functioning and (ii) identifying areas of conservation priorities.

Added value to theMediterranean scientific community

The Mediterranean scientific community will gain from the CLIMBIOMEDNET project at least in four ways. First, the database, which will be available for scientists, will allow to tackle many issues dealing with lagoon biodiversity and climate change. Beyond the scientific papers written by the project partners we believe that many future research studies will benefit from the database and the credit will be given to the CLIMBIOMEDNET project. Second, the data gathered during the project will help the Mediterranean scientific community working on coastal lagoons to propose new, innovative and ambitious projects at regional, national and international levels. Indeed the existence of such an database and such a web tool will bring convincing arguments to any initiatives. Third, the original results we have provided (the heterogeneity of biodiversity distribution and of climate change impacts), shed light on the need to consider a local scale when assessing the potential threats on coastal lagoons and the map we have produced will contribute to focus on critical areas. Fourth, protected areas are established worldwide to counteract human impacts on ecosystems. However the strategic choice for the new protected areas is highly controversial and even more challenging when spatial information in lacking and when climate change interplays. Our project, which overcomes these two limitations, may help conservationists to propose appropriate designs of protected areas dedicated to coastal lagoons and their watersheds.


Guilhaumon F., Basset A., Barbone E. & Mouillot D. Species!area relationships as a tool for the conservation of benthic invertebrates in Italian coastal lagoons. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. In Revision.
Papers in preparation:
  • When ecology meets politics! – Challenging paradigms on the functioning and conservation of key coastal ecosystems Basset1, Elliott2, Li3, Jorgensen4, Mouillot5, Pardo6, Barbone1, Lucena!Moyá
  • Biodiversity and community organization in transitional waters: niche filtering and metabolic constraints. Alberto Basset, Enrico Barbone, Sofia Reizopoulou, Gian Carlo Carrada, Ron West, Pat Hutchings, Philips Gibbs,
  • A New Conceptual Framework for Assessing Implications of Climate Change on the Functioning of Mediterranean Coastal Lagoons ClimBioMedNet partners.

Contributions in Conferences:

Besides the above, the partial results of the project have been presented in the form of oral communication in conferences:
CMCC Annual meeting 2009

  • Interaction between climate change, biodiversity and ecosystem processes in transitional waters Alberto Basset

4th European Conference on Coastal Lagoon Research Montpellier 2009

  • A CIRCLE!MED tool to address climate change influence on Mediterranean transitional waters: an information technology platform.1A.Basset, E.Barbone, N.Fiore, L.Potenza, D. Mouillot, M.Troussellier, I.Pardo, P.Lucena, F.Lasram, I. Malollari
  • Taxonomic uncertainties in species!area relationships and implications for lagoons conservation François Guilhaumon, Alberto Basset ,Enrico Barbone , David Mouillot

ECSA 47th Symposium (Estuarine & Coastal Sciences Association) Figuera de Foz 2010

  • Latitudinal patterns of lagoon biotic and abiotic components: a data platform to address expected patterns of lagoon components in the context of climate change. A.Basset, E.Barbone, N.Fiore, L.Potenza, D. Mouillot, M.Troussellier, I.Pardo, P.Lucena, F.Lasram, I. Malollari

LaguNet Marsala 2010

  • Mediterranean lagoon data platform (TWP): a tool for an understanding of biodiversity A.Basset, E.Barbone, N.Fiore, L.Potenza


David MOUILLOT: mouillot@univ-montp2.fr

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Project Agenda

CLIMBIOMEDNET Kick off Meeting

Address: Montpellier, France
Date: 07 Jan 2009 / 08 Jan 2009


Dahlem type workshop
Address: Vigo, Spain
Date: 14 April 2009 / 18 April 2009


Dahlem type workshop (exact dates to be precised)
Address: Soller, Spain
Date: 15 June 2009 / 20 June 2009

CLIMBIOMEDNET Meeting on biodiversity issues

Address: Lecce, Italy
Date: 23 Oct 2009 / 26 Oct 2009

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