Protection and management of marine areas in the Mediterranean Sea: applications of satellite remote sensing


Zeichen, Marta Manca (2010) Protection and management of marine areas in the Mediterranean Sea: applications of satellite remote sensing. University of Southampton, School of Civil Engineering and the Environment, Doctoral Thesis , 398pp.

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Description/Abstract

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are recognised globally as effective tools for protecting valuable and vulnerable marine ecosystems (habitats, species and communities), maintaining the biological diversity, and safeguarding the associated historical and cultural resources. MPAs accommodate local communities and regulate the different uses of the sea, fostering more sustainable use of marine resources. Moreover, MPAs are increasingly being used as environmental laboratories, enabling a greater scientific understanding of marine systems. In the Mediterranean Sea about a hundred of MPAs have been designated during the last decades, all but one of which are in coastal areas.

This study develops a new way of using RS techniques tailored for the monitoring and management of Mediterranean MPAs. The advance in satellite Remote Sensing (RS) technologies has made possible to look at the MPAs not only by means of discrete in situ surveys but rather on the basis of a “synoptic” and repeated view. The primary aim of this thesis was to establish how the satellite sensors can be successfully used and whether RS provides reliable tools for monitoring and managing Mediterranean MPAs. The study aimed specifically at describing and identifying, by means of passive remote sensors, the spatial and temporal scale of the bio-physical processes occurring in Mediterranean MPAs. Observations retrieved by ocean colour and thermal infra-red sensors, for a range of MPA study sites, were used to depict system functioning by the analysis of the prevailing spatial and temporal variations of the geophysical parameters and biophysical conditions. The seasonal variations of the ecological indicators (i.e. phytoplankton blooms and thermal trends) were analysed over various MPAs located in different regions of the Mediterranean basin, and different biooptical algorithms were tested in a coastal MPA. The short-term and long-term monitoring (interannual) of the ecological indicators is key to elucidating trends and modifications in the biogeochemical balance of the basin possibly caused by environmental changes which could potentially affect the MPA’s resilience. Consequently it is now possible to monitor MPAs easily and at low cost, by integrating RS with the traditional sampling methodologies to work towards safeguarding of valuable marine habitats and species. RS should be considered as key tool that fosters
the ecosystem-based management.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GC Oceanography
T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Engineering and the Environment > Civil, Maritime and Environmental Engineering and Science
ePrint ID: 195605
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2011 15:36
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 19:45
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/195605

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