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09/14: Training session on ecological monitoring in MPAs

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RAC/SPA has organized in the framework of the MedMPAnet project (MedPartnership) the 4th regional training session on ecological monitoring in marine protected areas, from 22 to 27 September 2014.  


The training course, organized in collaboration with the Research Marine Centre (CIMAR) - University of Alicante, was carried out in the Santa Pola Cape and Nueva Tabarca Marine Reserve. Ten participants, marine protected area (MPA) managers and practitioners, marine researchers and students, coming from Algeria, Croatia, Egypt, Lebanon, Montenegro and Tunisia, took part to this event.Listen to the interview (French) with Atef Limam, Coordination and technical backstopping officer - MedMPAnet project, to learn more about the context of the training session, or read the translation in English.


Atef Limam, Coordination and technical backstopping officer -  MedMPAnet project

The courses were provided by Prof. Alfonso Ramos Espla, Director of CIMAR , and Prof. Aitor Forcada, Department of Marine Sciences & Applied Biology - University of Alicante, with the support of the staff of the CIMAR. They included practical sessions in non-protected, partially protected and highly protected areas, as well as laboratory sessions and lectures. The aim of the course is to further strengthen the capacity and skills of participants by providing them with the practical tools needed to improve their knowledge on ecological monitoring in MPAs. 


Location of the three sampling sites

Nueva Tabarca is the first marine reserve in Spain (since 1986). Its name was given in reference to Tabarka island in Tunisia.

Explanations (Spanish) of José Manuel Pérez Burgos, Director of the Nueva Tabarca Museum. Click here to read the translation in English.


José Manuel Pérez Burgos, director of the Nueva Tabarca Museum

Protecting the island has recovered species of interest for fishing. The "reserve effect" is being observed even beyond the boundaries of the marine protected area. The success of the protection is in part due to the surveillance and monitoring of the marine reserve.

Felio Lozano Quijada is the Coordinator of the surveillance service of the M.R. of Nueva Tabarca. He is monitoring the marine reserve with his team.

Listen to Felio to learn more about his work in the M.R. of Nueva Tabarca (Spanish), or read the translation in English 


Felio Lozano Quijada (middle) with his team

Monitoring MPAs is important to control and assess their effectiveness. It has to be done using simple tools and non-destructive methods.

Based on the experience gained during the four Santa Pola training sessions, a simplified practical manual on standardized methods of MPA monitoring in the Mediterranean will be produced by RAC/SPA and University of Alicante.

Listen to the interview (French) with Prof. Alfonso A. Ramos Espla, Director of CIMAR, Scientific coordinator of the training session, to learn more, or read the translation in English.


Professor Alfonso A. Ramos Espla working on Santa Pola Cape

The 10 trainees worked on four categories of species/communities: limpets, sea urchins, macro algae and fish. These species/communities are relatively abundant in the Mediterranean and considered as bio-indicators. Moreover,  they are easy to recognize, to count and to measure. The participants measured the size and density (or the cover percentage) of the species. The salinity, temperature and other physical-chemical parameters were also recorded.

Click on the photo below to view the Flickr album.


Counting fish (photo credit : Yassine Ramzi Sghaier)

All the data collected was analyzed through R programme. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) has been used to assess if protection "benefits" to the studied species. The data collected in the previous training sessions (2012 and 2013) have been also used for statistical analysis.


Professor Aitor Forcada explaining how to use R programme

The last training day, group presentations were made in the Municipal Aquarium of Santa Pola.  A local official, Mr. Antonio Perez Huerta, was present during the closing ceremony and congratulated all the participants and organizers, for their excellent work.


Group photo in the Municipal Aquarium of Santa Pola (Photo credit : Museo Nueva Tabarca)

Listen to two participants, Ms. Vesna Mačić, Researcher (Institute of Marine Biology, Montenegro) and Ziad Samaha, Program Manager (IUCN-ROWA, Lebanon), to know how the training session will be useful in their work and the challenges they have to take up. Click here to read the interviews in English.




Mr. Ziad Samaha, Program Manager (IUCN-ROWA, Lebanon) (left), and Ms. Vesna Mačić, Researcher (Institute of Marine Biology, Montenegro) (right)




Download the presentations (pdf) :

Presentation of the Course: 'Ecological Monitoring in Marine Protected Areas' (Professor Alfonso A. Ramos Espla), Introduction to Experimental Design (Aitor Forcada), Experience and evolution of the fishing activity in the Marine Reserve of Tabarca (SE Spain) (Professor Alfonso A. Ramos Espla)

To have all the training material please send us a request by email at the following address: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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Photos credit: Dorra MAAOUI / RAC/SPA

Last Updated on Friday, 27 November 2015 12:23