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RECOMPRA - Reef ecology and design of marine protected areas

Implementation Period:
Specific Funding Programme:

FP7-PEOPLE-2011-IRSES - Marie Curie Action “International Research Staff Exchange Scheme”



312 900 EUR

About the Project:

Reef ecosystems are among the most productive areas of the planet. They play a major role in coastal fisheries as nursery and feeding grounds, while providing a considerable array of ecosystem services. Coastal ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to human actions causing the erosion of marine biodiversity and the collapse of marine resources. Marine protected areas (MPAs) are increasingly used to conserve resources and protect biodiversity. The anticipated ecological effects of MPAs are multiple and affect populations, communities and ecosystems, as well as the associated fisheries and tourist activities. 

RECOMPRA aimed at consolidating an existing research network established by mutual bilateral relationships among EU (Spain, France and Italy) and South-American (Brazil and Argentina) labs. Their common objective was to study specific aspects of reef ecology, in order to provide sound criteria for the design, monitoring and management of MPAs in a scenario of global change. Special emphasis was given to strengthening the interplay between ecological and social sciences, in order to reach robust, long-lasting institutional arrangements for the governance of the coastal realm. The proposal was organised in one Work Package devoted to coordination activities, plus three thematic Work Packages covering the following topics: (1) reef fish mobility and connectivity, (2) functional response of reef environments to disturbance in scenarios of global change, and (3) MPAs network design for ecological function, marine governance and ecosystem services. The proposed staff exchange scheme was used to improve joint research of both early-stage and experienced personnel. This research was performed mostly in a number of MPAs where extensive investigations were being developed. The network aimed at reinforcing data collection in these pilot sites, and promoting shared analyses and synthesis of results at different spatial and temporal scales.

RECOMPRA could be used by maritime spatial planners to monitor MPAs and identify compatibilities and incompatibilities between human uses of the sea and the reef ecosystems. 

Project partners

Universidad de Murcia

María Sánchez-Merenciano

Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche

Fabio Badalamenti