Coraligen – why we have to save it?

Coralligen is Mediterranean endemic habitat of ​​outstanding value. It is formed of marine reefs on which vibrant living communities are developed, largely red algae of the genus Corallinaceae hence the name itself is derived from them.

Coralligen occupies about 20% of the Mediterranean Sea and is one of the most attractive marine landscape highly valued in diving tourism. You can find more interesting facts about coralligen in the online exhibition made as part of the game “Search for Answers”.

Unfortunately, various negative impacts are affecting coralligen, and most significant are collecting of red coral, fishing, pollution, colonization by foreign species, anchoring, irresponsible diving, and global climate change.

One of the main threats to coralligen is the rise of carbon dioxide levels in the seas caused by global warming and acidification which is the biggest cause of coral deaths.

In order to preserve coralligen, during field research, we studied how many species live on coralligen, how much target species are damaged, and how many and which type of lost fishing gear are there. As target species, two species of gorgonians are selected, Eunicella cavolini and Paramuricea clavate.  Using quadrate, we measured their abundance, size, percentage, and type of damage. Along the transect, we studied species that form and live on coralligen. You can see more about the methodology itself and what a day in the field office looks like in the video.

Although this project is coming to an end, the research we have conducted will serve as a baseline for the development of protection measures, the potential designation of strict protection zones – no take zones, and more efficient management of protected areas. You can find research results here.

Interreg Italy-Croatia ADRIREEF aims to examine the potentiality of reefs in the Adriatic Sea in order to strengthen the Blue Economy. The term „blue economy“refers to the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem. Along with specific regulations and frequent monitoring, the project will therefore open concrete possibility to protect the environment and create new economic activities.