Updated: Jul 27
It is the only endemic seagrass species of the whole Mediterranean Basin forming vast underwater prairies, integral part of an emblematic and complex marine ecosystem. Their role is essential to provide biomass, increase the levels of oxygen while sequestrating CO2 and providing shelter to thousands of marine species. Pierre Descamp, biologist and founder of Andromède Océanologie, scientific research and marine exploration company, have recently visited Monaco Oceanographic Museum and the Maison de l'Océan in Paris to present concrete solutions to preserve this marine plant symbol of the Mediterranean Sea. According to the evidence, 10% of Posidonia's meadows disappeared within a period of 100 years as a result of anthropogenic factors like: coastal urbanisation and industrialisation, the uncontrolled use of unsustainable fishing methods as well as the invasion of exotic species. The additional climate change effects, ocean warming, sea level rise, eutrophication and extreme weather events, worsened the situation. Thus, the need to act quickly for its preservation.
Pierre Descamp pointed out: « In the Mediterranean Sea, Posidonia is the cornerstone of our coastlines. It provides us with countless services. It is endemic to the Mediterranean and is perhaps the oldest living organism in the world. Some colonies would be over 100,000 years old. We would therefore consider it as a bonsai forest made of very small trees that grow extremely slowly, a few centimetres per year. Posidonia is a primary oxygen producer as well as a carbon storage and water purification. But it is also a habitat for over 1,700 species of fish (...) passing through the herbarium ».
Moreover, Posidonia (Posidonia Oceanica) meadows have an economic value that can go in favour of those who care. As reaffirmed by the marine biologist, the aquatic plant is able to save up to 46 billion euros a year of which only 4.8 million is spent to preserve its survival, not being as popular as the Amazon Forest of the Coral Reefs.
Andromède Océanologie offers several concrete solutions to achieve the mission to facilitate the dissemination of Posidonia. A targeted application, named Donia, is addressed to all who sail the sea. Developed in ten years of testing, this App has been updated with seabed data, from Banyuls-sur-Mer to Bonifacio and Monaco, including international partnerships with the Balearic Islands and some locations in Italy, notably Sardinia, Ligurian Sea, etc.. Currently followed by over 50,000 users, Donia is becoming a reference point for those who want to respect marine ecosystems avoiding damaging the 'Posidonia forests' while throwing the anchor. A set of smart buoys are at disposal of the App users, on the basis of a subscription, and 20% of the profits are reinvested to fund restoration actions. All that implements a virtuous process to encourage the work of those who have been defined Seagrass Gardeners.
According to a recent research study by Marc Verlaque, Professor at the University of Aix-Marseilles focused on ecology linked to the Mediterranean sea and climat and researcher at CNRS, the yachting impact on seagrass was devastating between 2010 and 2019, up to a loss of 30% in some marine areas (e.g.: Golf Juan). Luckily, a stricter regulatory framework is producing some improvements.
The chance to recreate new meadows of Posidonia is real in marine protected areas provided that sea water is high-quality. The perfect combination to trigger a virtuous process contrary to that of destruction. Andromède Océanologie is fully committed in testing new ways to assure a fruitful transplantation of Posidonia with a high probability of survival, estimated between 80% and 90%. A quite promising rate.
🎥 Monaco Urbanisation at sea - innovative transplantation of Poseidonia Oceanica by Andromède Océanologie © Infochantiers Monaco
The Principality of Monaco has always been sensitive to the theme by providing a specific action plan in the design of the new district Mare Terra, besides Larvotto Beach. The most ambitious urban extension after Fontvieille, has set the priority of respecting marine ecosystems of the Monaco's coastline waters part of an emblematic marine protected area. Special barriers and underwater devices have been set to encourage the proliferation of marine species and coral reefs, including a high-tech transplanting operations to keep Poseidonia growing in the sea in front of Monaco. ***
By Maurice Abbati
Springer International Publishing