What was recorded at the Konavle Aquatorium?

The collection of data on marine habitats and species at the Konavle rock Aquatorium was carried out on site during 2016 and 2017 within the 4M project (volunteers and employees of Sunce Association, Public Institutions for the Management of Protected Natural Values of Dubrovnik-Neretva County and the Green Home Association from Montenegro Up).

Aquatics along the Konavle rocks is an area of the ecological network (Natura 2000 area HR3000170), located in the southern part of the Adriatic Sea, from Cavtat to Molunat, including the 50-400m wide seaside and Cavtat and Molunat islands. The area is included in the ecological network due to the following types of habitats: Posidonia oceanica marine habitats, large shallow bays, reefs and partly sunk or submerged caves. During the establishment of protection, several threats to this area were defined: invasive species, urbanization, maritime transport and related infrastructure, recreational activities, fishing and wastewater discharge.

During the diving field in 2016 and 2017, 104 diving transits were made. Of the total area of coastal habitats (68.49 ha), 5.7% are under the anthropogenic influence (3.9 ha). There are beaches, harbors, built coasts and a few buildings built in the narrow coastal belt.

The coastal area is dominated by a solid bottom with large stones and rocks, often lined with cliffs along the coast. Landlines and talus contributed to the mosaic of the habitat and the meadows of seagrass of Posidonia oceanica were often intersected with large rocks where biocenosis of infralittoral algae was recorded, but sometimes also biocenosis of semi-caves. Seagrass Posidonia oceanica is the most widespread habitat of the mediolittoral area, recorded in more than 30% of total mapped habitats. But the condition of the meadow is not satisfactory in all areas, so the Posidonia oceanica meadow in the Bay area of Tiha (wider areas in front of the Epidaurus hotel) occupies vast areas but is largely devastated by anchoring. It is therefore necessary to establish quality and targeted monitoring to assess the density and condition of this flowering field in the Aquatics area. Coraligenic biocenosis and biocenosis of semi-caves have been recorded in significant areas only in the area of Mrkanac, Bobar and Velika Škola islands in front of Molunat, while on the southern sides of the island Mrkan and Ražnjić appear only sporadically in very small areas. Mediolittoral caves are mapped along the entire coast and there are 45 caves in total.

Along with all transcriptions, 147 species were recorded together. Algae Padina pavonica and invasive Caulerpa cylindracea have been recorded most of the times (more than 80% of transects). In the bay of Gornji Molunat, there is a presence of an extremely large number of bivalve mollusks of Pinna nobilis and it is recommended to establish the monitoring of this shellfish.