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Linking Human Mobility and Marine Megafauna Movement in the Mediterranean Sea for a better integration of Blue Growth

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MOVEMED (Linking Human Mobility and Marine Megafauna Movement in the Mediterranean Sea for a better integration of Blue Growth)

Reporting period: 2019-01-01 to 2020-12-31

The MOVEMED project investigates the dynamics and links between human mobility and marine megafauna movement using a computationally intensive data-driven approach.

The general aim of this proposal is to investigate the links between ship-based activities and marine megafauna in order to advance towards a dynamic and sustainable use of the marine environment.

Results will allow the linking of key enabling ocean observation technologies to their application in guiding future ocean research, assessing the potential impacts from anthropogenic activities and promoting the sustainable development of maritime industries. As an extension of the project, results have allowed to quantify the magnitude of change of ship-based activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a matter of enormous concern for Europe, since our results will provide the scientific basis to establish future conservation actions within the framework of Integrated Maritime Policy.
The MOVEMED project has developed a computationally intensive data-driven approach. The project has generated a unique database of environmental data, marine animal tracks and ship-based activities. Such achievement has been possible thanks to the network of collaborators created within the context of the project.

The MOVEMED project has contributed at identifying the main gaps of current ocean observing systems and assessing the potential of animal-borne sensors to contribute towards an integrated system. Improving observations in poorly sampled regions (e.g. high latitudes, shelf regions) have a great potential to advance our understanding of global ocean dynamics.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in unparalleled global impacts on human mobility. In the ocean, ship-based activities are thought to have decreased due to severe restrictions and changes in goods consumption, but little is known of the patterns of change, which sectors are most affected, in which regions, and for how long. MOVEMED project has contributed in mapping the global change of marine traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic and assess its temporal variability at a fine-scale in one of the most affected regions, the Mediterranean Sea.
Analyses of animal-borne instruments have revealed the potential of marine megafauna to support global ocean observing systems. Linking such information with environmental data offers new possibilities to determine dynamic areas of ecological importance to support conservation management. Adding the human dimension in the project, has allowed the assessment of potential impacts from anthropogenic activities and promoting the sustainable development of maritime industries. Overall, results derived from the project have major implications for ocean climate research, fisheries management and conservation management. In particular, results can support in the design of global ocean observing systems and assess the environmental and societal impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in marine ecosystems.
Project overview