Southern European Lagoon Observational
Creation of networks in Greece and the Iberian Peninsular
1 Observational Networks
Southern European Lagoons are increasingly recognised as representing
a highly diversified series of ecosystems ranging over the whole arc
of the Mediterranean. They also are often systems of important economic
value to local and regional communities, and as such are often strongly
impacted by anthropogenic pressures. There is considerable scientific
interest in understanding the ecological functioning of lagoons and
the external pressures such as agriculture, industrial, tourism and
aquaculture etc. The recent international conference on Southern European
Coastal Lagoons: The influence of River-Basin coastal Zone Interactions,
Ferrara, Italy, 10-12 Nov 2003, highlighted some of the information
gaps that still need addressing.
The following proposal, arising from the discussions during the symposium,
has been made: to consider the setting up of a series of regional/national
networks to support and encourage co-operation research groups.
The objective of these regional/national networks would be the following:
i. To provide a forum for discussion and co-operation between research
groups who are studying biogeochemical and ecology processes in lagoons,
wetlands and salt marshes in the southern European area.
ii. To evaluate available information and present understanding of biogeochemistry
of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous flows in transitional and coastal
waters under the influence of catchment basins.
iii. Promote an agreed common approach to studies of biogeochemical
and ecological processes that can provide support to management and
policy applications (e.g. EU Water Framework Directive etc.)
iv. Discuss the feasibility of providing scientific products to IGBP
programmes and other regional and global monitoring/observation systems.
v. Consider the feasibility of one or more projects in collaboration
with similar networks in southern Europe such as LaguNet (Italy), PNEC
(France), and DITTY (EU project).
The development of regional/national (informal) networks would allow
a more focused response to major policy and science needs such as the
implementation of the EU Framework Water Directive or the assessment
of the impact of coastal lagoon ecosystems to local, regional and global
anthropogenic pressures (e.g. LOICZ programme).
The choice of proposing a number of regional/national networks in the
Mediterranean arc is a pragmatic way of focussing regional scientific
and management interests at an effective scale, and allows collaboration
between different regional/national networks to develop as mutual interests
and concerns are identified.
That such networks (over 20 lagoon sites) can effectively be developed
can be seen through the examples of the French (PNEC) and Italian (LaguNet,
www.dsa.unipr.it/lagunet) networks, and which are making a significant
scientific contribution in the understanding of many aspects of river-basin
coastal lagoon functioning. It is clear that a wider geographical coverage
is needed coverin the southern European arc.
A set of informal meeting could be held with groups already working
on coastal lagoons, to discuss the interest and feasibility of setting
up- such networks in Greece and the Iberian peninsular (Portugal-Spain)
paralleling those existing in Italy and France.
A further point for discussion would be the form of the links to be
developed with the other regional/national networks, and the objectives
to be identified. As a longer term step the feasibility of joining-collaborating
with EU Network of Excellence (NE) should be considered and potential