BUFFER
Produce scientific, policy and awareness-raising tools for the targeted conservation of a threatened ecosystem in a marine protected area

THE BUFFER PROJECT

CONTEXT AND MAIN ISSUES

The waters of the Parc National des Calanques are home to marine animal forests dominated by the purple gorgonian, an emblematic species essential to the ecological and economic balance of the northern Mediterranean.

Under the impact of climate change and increasingly frequent and intense marine heatwaves, these gorgonians are suffering massive mortality episodes, threatening colonies and the species that depend on them, including in Marine Protected Areas. However, some genetic variants appear to be resistant to these new extreme conditions, offering the hope of directed protection for these precious ecosystems.

Understanding the resilience of these (and other) colonies will enable the implementation of integrated biodiversity management in this marine protected area, and mitigation of marine heatwave impacts, to the benefit of ecosystems and humans alike.

Goals

Investigate the genetics of gorgonian colonies resistant to marine heatwaves to restore marine ecosystems in the Parc National des Calanques and beyond.

METHOD

The project is carrying out an advanced genetic investigation into the resistant colonies of purple gorgonians, as well as their associated micro-organisms, in order to understand the mechanisms of their survival in the face of marine heatwaves. This groundbreaking research will be complemented by in-depth studies of symbiotic interactions, providing valuable insight into the adaptation strategies of these species in the face of climate change.

Thanks to these data, it will be possible to produce scientific tools and management policies relevant to the conservation of this ecosystem in the Parc National des Calanques, and then replicate them elsewhere in the Mediterranean.

HOW IS THIS PROJECT INNOVATIVE?

Buffer stands out for its advanced scientific approach to understanding and restoring fragile red gorgonian ecosystems in the Parc National des Calanques. By combining the genetics of resistant colonies with studies on symbiotic micro-organisms, this project opens up new avenues for marine conservation. Pure Ocean supports Buffer’s commitment to developing innovative solutions to protect threatened marine habitats.

LOCATION

Graphic summary

NEWS

Project duration

2024 – 2026

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS

Results and progress

Coming soon

Step 1

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étape 2

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étape 3

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The team

Jean-Baptiste Ledoux

Marine biology researcher at the Centre Interdisciplinaire de Recherches Marines et Environnementales CIIMAR

Didier Aurelle

Associate professor at the Mediterranean Institute of Oceanology MIO

Bastien Mérigot

Associate professor at the University of Montpellier, UMR - MARBEC Laboratory

Joaquim Garrabou

Senior Researcher, Institut de Ciences del Mar, Spain

Partners

Institutional Partners

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