Key Species

These are some of the Key Species, or Biodiversity Indicators, that we monitor along our research transects. Each species gives us information about the health of the ecosystem:

The oceans are the world’s heart and lungs, producing half of the world's oxygen and absorbing 30 percent of man-made carbon dioxide. The effects of greenhouse gases is causing oceans to rapidly warm and acidify, water circulation to be altered and dead zones within the ocean depths to expand.

Key Species, or Biodiversity Indicators, help us to answer questions about how ecosystems are responding to man made and natural impacts:

  • Are there signs that the ecosystem is under stress from the effects of greenhouse gases and climate change?
  • Is the ecosystem is regressing, static or regenerating?
  • Is the ecosystem being affected by nutrification due to agricultural runoff or proximity to aquaculture facilities?
  • Are important slow-growing native species like Posidonia oceanica being over-run by faster growing invasive species - with a resulting loss of biodiversity?
  • Is the ecosystem threatened by pressures from commercial fishing?
  • How is the ecosystem being affected by sports fishing and tourism?

For our voluntary work with the SILMAR Project we collect data on key species along two transects running through different ecosystems - one that is now within a protected zone and the other in an unprotected yet abundant area.