Study Areas

The PERSEUS study areas have been identified throughout the SES, at various scales, in order to accommodate the project objectives as these are described under its three CLUSTERS. The sampling strategy and the activities to be carried out in the selected study areas will be finalised during the 'Gap Analysis and Way Forward' Umbrella Workshop (T12) (key milestone of this project). The Workshop will be organised in a way that the identified knowledge gaps in the different WPs will be presented and prioritised. Based on these results the sampling strategies of WP1, WP2 and WP3 will be refined in accordance with WP5 requirements which will be finalised and stipulated at this workshop. Interconnections will be established between the WP1, WP2 and WP6 to finalise the environmental issues of socio-economic importance to be treated within PERSEUS. WP6 will interact with WP4 for the definition of the WP6 storylines at the inception of the scenarios to be modelled. The detailed strategy for data compilation in the case studies will be formulated according to Umbrella Workshop during which knowledge and data gaps will be identified and recommended activities to be tackled by WPs 1, 2, 3 and 4 will be devised.

Targeted studies under WP1 and WP2 (KNOWLEDGE cluster) in PERSEUS are designed to determine currently insufficiently resolved mechanisms through which natural and human-induced pressures impact the ecosystems at coastal and basin scale. The sound scientific understanding of the factors influencing the SES ecosystems can effectively support environmental and socio-economic evaluations, and pave the way to future implementation of knowledge-based actions, thus helping to establish better ocean governance in the SES.
Pressure study areas have been selected considering previously identified knowledge gaps, their relative importance and their current trends and expected evolution. In the coastal areas, emphasis will be placed on anthropogenic-derived pressures, whereas in the open sea areas the processes transmitting the pressures to the marine ecosystem will be the key issue, unless there is clear evidence of anthropogenic pressures on the pelagic ecosystems. The selected open water study areas were chosen on the basis of specific processes and pressures representative of the major SES sub-basins. Regarding the processes, in each study area, emphasis will be given to those which prevail and/or still demand more detailed investigations (basin hydrology and water balance; residence times for water masses, transport and mixing by general and meso-scale circulation, shelf and open-ocean convection, shelf-open sea interactions; atmospheric deposition, material and contaminant fluxes; biochemical interactions, productivity, food web structure; non-indigenous species (e.g. Lessepsian migrations), jellyfish; feeding/spawning /inter-basin fish migrations). The selection criteria of the coastal areas were based mainly on the fact that they are subjected to high intensity human uses linked to coastal zone pressures and impacts. Work will focus on studying the pressures and impacts on pelagic and benthic ecosystems; non indigenous species, pollution (persistent organic pollutants-POPs and toxic metals and finally on physical disturbances such as noise and litter. In both cases (WPs), the need to address the descriptors for the assessment of the environmental status according to the MSFD has been considered a prerequisite; and Based on the identification, verification and, lastly, prioritization of gaps, during the Umbrella Workshop (T12) the experimental strategy for the selected areas will be set in detail.

Figure 1

WP1 & 2 study areas. Rectangles represent experimental areas in WP1 and numbers refer to WP2 sites [Barcelona (1), Mediterranean coastal area of Morocco (2), Rhone River and Marseilles (3-4), Naples (5), Northern Adriatic (6), Southern Croatia (7), Gulf of Tunis (8), Saronikos gulf-Athens (9-10), Haifa (11), Sea of Marmara and Istanbul (12-13), Varna (14), Costanza (15) and Danube delta (16), Northern Western Black Sea (17), Gelendzhik (18)]

to evaluate environmental status using existing and upgraded monitoring and modelling capabilities will be developed through the basin of the SES. WP3 (Upgrade-expand the existing observational systems and fill short term gaps) will work in the same study areas as WP1 and WP2. The strategy for the achieving the planned homogeneous observing system for the two basins (of key relevance to PERSEUS) will be finalized after the Umbrella Workshop (T12) where gaps will be identified, prioritised and filled, combining existing and new observing platforms. WP4 will engage existing and upgraded remotely operated monitoring and modelling capabilities through the implementation of modelling activities at regional and basin scale (Mediterranean and Black sea).

Figure 2
Regional modelling activities

cluster (WP5 and WP6) aims to support the implementation of the MSFD principles across the MSFD and develop an appropriate adaptive policy framework. WP5 aims to strengthen networking and increase the SES capacity for ecosystem state assessment, definition of Good Environmental Status, monitoring and management based on the 11 MSFD descriptors, and to provide tools for the application of MSFD principles in non-EU countries of the SES. WP6 will develop the Adaptive Policy Framework (APF) through the APF Tool Box and the Stakeholder Platforms (SHPs). WP5, together with WP6, will provide decision makers with a scientific basis needed in order to set common environmental targets for the SES ecosystems. Four case study areas within EU countries are selected (from those studied in WPs 1, 2, 3 and 4), on the basis of data availability, sensitivity to anthropogenic and natural pressures, while ensuring geographic coverage across the SES study areas, and yet addressing different spatial scale issues. In these case study areas analysis of elements for assessment (criteria and methodologies) will be performed. The extracted elements will then be applied on datasets in the six case study areas in non-EU countries selected in order to cover different regions and geomorphological areas, as approaches may vary due to the regional conditions (the data collection exercise by local partners in the non-EU countries will be thus finalized and kicked-off during the PERSEUS Umbrella Workshop). In tandem the APF will be first developed and tested on the same four EU case study areas (PERSEUS Policy Pilot Cases, where it will implement as many stakeholder platforms (SHPs) as cases. The APF will be also applied across the SES basin level (requiring the implementation of a SES SHP. So PERSEUS will ‘work’ on four Pilot Case SHPs and one SES SHP.

Figure 3

Areas for demonstration of the MSFD principles and development of Adaptive Policy Framework (APF). Demonstration of MSFD principles: yellow rectangles=EU studies; green rectangles=non-EU studies. Areas for development of APF=shaded rectangles.