Faced with the accelerated loss of species and degradation of marine habitats, the protection figures have become the main tool for the conservation of biodiversity, according to the Club Ánfora of underwater activities. Likewise, the entity emphasizes that, in order to achieve efficient protection, it is essential to know the species and habitats present in the area to be conserved.
In this context, the research carried out at INBIOMAR has contributed to the renewal of the inventories of existing marine species and habitats in the Site of Community Importance (SCI). Aguadú Cliffs maritime-terrestrial zonelocated in the Autonomous City of Melilla, in addition to the preparation of the same for the Al Hoceima archipelago and the Vélez de la Gomera rock. In this way, INBIOMAR aims to contribute to the effective protection of the southern slope of the Alboran Sea, as well as to value the biodiversity present on the Spanish coast and lay the foundations for the protection of new marine areas.
The overall objective of the project has been to update the inventory of fish and invertebrates that make up the biological community, as well as the marine habitats present in the SCI Aguadú Cliffs maritime-terrestrial zone and to prepare the inventories of fauna, flora and marine habitats of the remote enclaves of the Alhucemas archipelago and the rock of Vélez de la Gomera.
The specific objectives were as follows:
The INBIOMAR project has been focused on the generation of knowledge on marine biodiversity that inhabit the seabed of the SCI Maritime-terrestrial Zone of the Aguadú Cliffs (Melilla), the Alhucemas Archipelago and the Rock of Vélez de la Gomera, as a way of contributing to the creation of figures for the protection of marine species and habitats. Thus, during its two sampling campaigns, a total of 83 fish species have been censused, together with 72 species of marine macroinvertebrates, and five underwater habitats composed of macroalgae and sessile invertebrates have been described. In addition, the project has provided information on 40% of species whose conservation status is unknown. All this information has made it possible to produce 17 distribution maps: 6 maps of fish species, 6 of invertebrate species and 5 of identified habitats.
On the other hand, INBIOMAR has fostered the knowledge transmission to society, which is why, throughout the project, various activities have been carried out to outreach activities in educational centers, in addition to the publication of news on social networks or the organization of a photographic exhibition with the images of marine fauna and flora obtained during the campaigns. Also noteworthy is the contribution to the international guide to marine biodiversity
Reef Species of the World
and the Fish-watch marine fish guide. Likewise, the I INBIOMAR Conference “getting to know the marine biodiversity that surrounds us” was held in the Autonomous City of Melilla, where the first results of the project were presented, together with several presentations on different aspects of biodiversity. Finally, the project was widely disseminated through social networks and the media.