Development of T-MEDNet

How was T-MEDNet implemented?

"Connaître le passé, observer le présent pour mieux prévoir l'avenir"
"Knowing the past, observing the present to better anticipate the future"
Jean-Claude Romano

Climate change effects such as shifts in species distribution and mass mortality events have been related to the warming trend observed in the Mediterranean Sea. However, despite the notable exceptions of very few long-term series, there was an enormous gap of knowledge on temperature conditions in coastal waters, which hindered an in depth analysis of climate change impacts on marine coastal biodiversity.

Since gaining representative data sets on in situ thermal regimes is crucial to describe the marine environment, assess conditions to which species have adapted, detect extreme events and analyze biological impacts, late in 1990s, Dr. J.G. Harmelin (Centre d’Océanologie de Marseille) setup the first temperature surveys using autonomous data loggers at three depths (12, 24 and 42m) in Marseilles' area (France). Since then, temperature surveys have been progressively extended to a growing number of sites, mostly in MPAs, using same data loggers and protocols for continuous monitoring over the long-term, generally at standard depths, every 5m from surface to 40m depth or more.

To date, T-MEDNet involves 16 public research institutions and 23 MPAs from 7 Mediterranean countries, under the scientific coordination of the Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM-CSIC). Continuous T-series are now undertaken in 40+ sites, mostly in the western Mediterranean, but also in the Alboran, Adriatic, Ionian, and Aegean sub basins resulting in a unified quality checked database of more than 12 million T-samples.

The acquisition of high-resolution T-series proved to be crucial for increasing our detection, understanding and forecasting abilities on climate change effects in Mediterranean coastal ecosystems. These abilities will be key to develop realistic climate change impacts and vulnerability assessments and implement sound management plans for the conservation of the rich Mediterranean biodiversity.

 

Maps on the deployment of sites and temperature data acquired