Project: From the Microbiome to the Ecosystem: Unraveling the Effects of Marine Protected Areas on Ecosystem Services through the Lens of Trophic Diversity

Acronym METRODIVER (Reference Number: 392)
Duration 01/03/2020 - 28/02/2023
Project Topic Preserving marine ecosystem services is a key priority for the European Union as they support the livelihood and well-being of millions of its citizens. The delivery of ecosystem services is nowadays jeopardized by alterations to species composition and functional diversity. While the effects of conservation tools such as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) on species diversity have been extensively investigated, the impacts of these tools on functional traits, especially those relating to trophic processes, remain, up to now, unknown. Similarly, understanding how the protection of these trophic traits affect ecosystem services, animal health, and ultimately human health, is another crucial question, which is yet completely unexplored. The goal of METRODIVER is to fill this gap by combining a multi-level approach (community, population, microbiome) with cutting-edge techniques and a large scale analysis (10 European MPAs) to answer three pivotal questions: What are the effects of MPAs on the trophic diversity and food web functioning? How do these effects mediate ecosystem services (e.g. productivity) and animal health (e.g. growth, body condition)? To what extent do they contribute to provide healthier food for human societies (e.g. nutritional value of fish flesh)? Our project is a multidisciplinary effort combining functional, ecological, and metagenomic approaches. Its impact is relevant from both a theoretical and operational perspective. We will provide a better understanding of the effects of MPAs and therefore a better understanding of human influences on marine biodiversity. This project, strongly associating scientists and MPA managers, will enable a better management of current and future MPAs, maximizing their effectiveness and ensuring sustainable ecosystem services. In this regards, our project is directly in line with the scientific objectives of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development that will be launched in 2021.
Network BiodivERsA3
Call 2018-2019 Joint Call

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 École Pratique des Hautes Études, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Université de Perpignan Via Domitia Coordinator France
2 Universite Libre de Bruxelles Partner Belgium
3 Galway Mayo Institute of Technology Partner Ireland