A transnational marine ecological observatory in the Adriatic Sea to harmonize a fragmented approach to monitoring and conservation


The design and establishment of Marine Ecological Observatories (MEOs) are fostered at the European level. MEOs should adopt a holistic view, integrating and harmonizing long-term oceanographic and ecological research and monitoring, and increasing conservation strategies effectiveness according to the ecological connectivity concept. The data and knowledge collected and made available through MEOs should inform policies dealing with conservation and management of the marine environment. We present and discuss these issues in the Adriatic Sea context, where the transnational ecological observatory “ECOAdS” is under development in the framework of the Interreg Italy-Croatia project ECOSS (Observing System in the Adriatic Sea: oceanographic observations for biodiversity), which aims to support Natura 2000 network implementation and cross-border coordination of multiple monitoring initiatives. We analyse the main EU directives that deal with marine conservation, notably the Habitats and Birds directives, the Water Framework Directive, and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, as they are the primary instruments that can guide the development of the observatory while strengthening cooperation at the basin scale. We bring out the synergies and discrepancies among these legal instruments, and build on them ECOAdS as a monitoring platform that may respond and contribute to their requirements, boosting the synergies and overcoming the weaknesses. Finally, we provide some hints for the further development of this transnational MEO as a collector of the existing monitoring efforts aimed at harmonizing their approaches and incorporating the ecological connectivity to foster an ecosystem-based approach to conservation management.



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marine ecological observatories, transboundary coordination, ECOAdS, Adriatic Sea, ECOSS project
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How to Cite
Manea, E., Bergami, C., Bongiorni, L., Capotondi , L., De Maio, E., Oggioni, A., & Pugnetti, A. (2021). A transnational marine ecological observatory in the Adriatic Sea to harmonize a fragmented approach to monitoring and conservation. Advances in Oceanography and Limnology, 12(1). https://doi.org/10.4081/aiol.2021.9811