The main objectives are:
* To provide a deep knowledge of the reproductive biology, recruitment patterns and population dynamics of the crustaceans and molluscs playing an important economic role within the East African mangrove ecosystems.
* To investigate the temporal patterns of key species' larval release in relation to environmental parameters and to describe larval stages.
* To provide the population genetic structure of two decapods, Macrobrachium rosenbergi and Scylla serrata, selected because of their commercial importance and geographical distribution.
* To appraise the traditional exploitation activities on mangrove forests and to analyse their transformation and changes, thus to weight the cultural heritage of the local population. To define the proposal risen from local population and verify their practicability in a small local scale.
The sampling protocols developed in this work should be readily transferable to other mangrove systems elsewhere. There is limited data on the seasonality of growth and reproduction of tropical species - the project will address this hiatus. Studies on the genetic separation of populations are currently largely limited to temperate areas - studies in tropical environments will be an important step forward.
The socio-economic benefits will be substantial and timely. Mangrove areas world-wide are still being depleted at an alarming rate, and any studies which highlight the economic benefits of healthy mangrove systems are justified on that basis, and needed now. The results of this project will enable the DCs involved to look more objectively at the costs and benefits of various coastal management options, and to optimise their resource base. This will lead, for the first time, to scientifically based management policies.
The key activities will be:
* Standardised sampling protocols and methods will be applied along the whole geographical gradient, to estimate macrobenthos biomass and reproductive status of key species. A new method based on a permanent TV system will be developed, together with image analysis systems, to gain information on the density and population structure.
* Population genetics of key species will be investigated by analysing anonymous DNA markers amplified by PCR with single primers, RAPDs. Partitioning of the revealed variability into within- and between- population components will be done.
* Contacts with traditional authorities will furnish information on infrastructures, market facilities, social services, demographic implications and other activities related to mangrove exploitation. The Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) will be applied to enable local people to share, enhance and analyse their knowledge of life and conditions, in relationship with the mangrove ecosystem.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
IM9 6JA Port Erin, Isle Of Man