ECOSUBVEG - Changes in submersed vegetation: assessing loss in ecosystems services frondose to depauperate systems dominated by opportunistic vegetation

  • Team: Island Aquatic Ecology
  • Type: EU-BEST
  • Category:International Research Project
  • 2013 to 2016


The management of natural systems cannot incorporate all ecological information, so simplifications of this information into a format that can advise policy-makers is a required step to better manage ecosystems. A method for simplifying ecological information into management frameworks considers provision of ‛goods and services’ by ecosystems. On coastal areas of the world, frondose vegetation (e.g. seagrasses and large brown macroalgae) exert a paramount role on community structure and function, e.g. increasing habitat complexity, protecting coastlines, filtering terrestrial run-off, sequestering carbon and nutrients, and providing food and shelter for invertebrates and fishes. Conservation of these valuable habitats is therefore important, particularly since seagrass meadows and frondose brown algal beds are declining worldwide, mainly in areas of intense human activities, where these habitats are replaced by opportunistic vegetation. Because the structural and functional characteristics of ecosystems generate the services they provide, replacement of frondose vegetation by opportunistic vegetation might induce diverse impacts on ecosystem services, with some services being enhanced and others being unchanged or depressed. The aim of this proposal is, therefore, to empirically quantify changes in the magnitude of ecosystem services, including supply of primary production, provision of habitat for epifauna, quality of food for epifauna, provision of habitat for juvenile fishes and water clarity, between frondose vegetated systems and those dominated by opportunistic vegetation within similar areas in 3 UPRs: Canaries, Azores and Guadalupe Island (Lesser Antilles). Adequate management of coastal areas requires such knowledge, and so we expect a transfer of our results to environmental policy-makers to take decisions under different scenarios.

Funding Institution

Voluntary Scheme for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Territories of the EU Outermost Regions and Oversees Countries and Territories (BEST 07.032700/2012/635752/SUB/B2).


Project Coordinator: Fernando Tuya, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC), Gran Canaria, Spain-;

Participants from other Institutions: ClaudeBouchon, Yolande Bouchon-Navaro and Sébastien Cordonnier (Université des Antilles et de la Guyane);

Project Collaborators: Ricardo Haroun Tabraue (ULPGC).