The data gathered by our previous eco dive volunteers has been analysed by our SILMAR coordinator, Gaynor Rosier, with Xavier Salvador from Girona University, in order to explore the impacts and pressures upon this part of the Catalan coast.
Monitoring the same Silmar Project research stations over six years, it is interesting to note the changes that are taking place to due global and local factors. For example, Kenna Eco Diving volunteer research divers have found the numbers of black sea urchins, Arbacia lixula, originally from tropical waters, steadily increasing as the Mediterranean is warming faster than other seas due to climate change.
Another species that is not indigenous, but is now thriving in the warming Mediterranean, is the Turkish wrasse, Thalasoma pavo. We are seeing many more than a few years ago.
Marine researchers are also finding a lot of unexpected species whilst training volunteers on the Silmar protocol, such as a juvenile Painted ray, Raja undulata, a rare Opistobranch, Pleurobranchus testudinarius, and a very large Dentex hunting in only 6 meters!
2013 was another successful year of eco dive volunteering for us with the SILMAR Project, monitoring key species at our underwater research stations. Several full surveys were completed with the assistance of volunteer divers from Europe, Russia, India, the USA, and the U.E.A.
The data has been analysed by our SILMAR coordinator, Gaynor Rosier, with Xavier Salvador from Girona University, in order to explore the impacts and pressures upon this part of the Catalan coast. Raw data from the surveys of indicator species and other observations are used to score each research station in terms of its ecological quality, and to judge whether biodiversity is increasing, is stable, or is being lost. This information is presented to the local town councils and the local media, with suggestions for improvements that could be made.
The SILMAR Project is one of several marine conservation activities carried out by Fundaciomar, a marine research and conservation organisation. Kenna Eco Diving is a voluntary coordinator for research at two SILMAR stations near L'Escala.
Volunteers assist the Silmar Project in fulfilling its mission of conserving marine ecosystems for their recreational, commercial, and intrinsic value by linking the diving community with scientists and conservationists through marine-life data collection. Volunteer divers are involved in surveying and cataloguing various key species and submitting that data to Silmar’s online database for further analysis. Volunteer divers learn to identify coastal species and recognize their key features and behaviours. Volunteers also explore threats to biodiversity, including over-fishing, habitat destruction, and pollution.