Mapping activities in Association Sunce began due to a lack of spatial data on coastal and marine habitats and species that were necessary for the development of effective management. At that time, there was a lack of capacity and interest in scientific institutions, while enthusiastic individuals from the BIUS (Biology Students Association) participated in researches within Sunce, with a common love for diving and marine biology.
The first research fields were organized in 2006, during which the method applicable to these needs, the available equipment and the level of expertise of divers were searched for. The characteristics of the first research field were trials, errors, but also successes. This was followed by international financial support within projects aimed at better management of marine ecosystems, through which we strengthened our own capacities needed for the protection of the sea in Croatia.
To date, Association Sunce has produced numerous maps of marine and coastal habitats of protected areas and ecological network areas, which are still the most accurate maps as such in Croatia. Monitoring of Posidonia meadows has been established in order to monitor negative impacts in a number of protected areas and ecological network areas. So far, we have mapped about 350 km2, organized over 50 research fields, made more than 1000 diving profiles, with the participation of over 100 divers, volunteers and associates. More recently, we have also started monitoring coralligen, Pina nobilis, marine litter, etc. Part of our research activities are also focused on determining the distribution and intensity of different pressures on coastal and marine ecosystems. The purpose of our research activities is to gather information necessary to establish new and more efficient management of existing protected areas and ecological network areas, and to find professional and practical solutions to reduce the many pressures to coastal and marine ecosystems.