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Asian algae threaten the coast of Murcia and Almeria

22_06_06_Asian algae threaten the coast of Murcia and Almeria
Rugulopteryx okamurae was detected in 2015 in Gibraltar and has already spread to other areas of the Spanish coast. A scientific project has been used to observe the appearance of invasive algae in Murcia and Almeria.

The “Sentinelas del Mar” project has detected the presence of an invasive Asian seaweed in Águilas and Mazarrón. It is Rugulopteryx okamurae. Since its detection in 2015 in Gibraltar, it has spread to other areas of the Spanish coast.

“Sentinels of the Sea” has had the support of different collaborators, from divers to fishermen and sailors from the Murcian and Almeria coasts in order to collect data on indicators of the effects of climate change on marine ecosystems such as changes in water temperature, mass die-offs of invertebrates and algae, the appearance of alien species, algal blooms such as the aforementioned Rugulopteryx okamurae or reproductive events of plants and animals. This project was conceived as a citizen initiative on marine science, encouraging public participation in research activities, to which they can actively contribute with their intellectual effort, knowledge, tools or resources.

The “Sentinels of the Sea” project, funded by the Biodiversity Foundation and linked to the LIFE INTEMARES project, has been developed by the UMU’s “Marine Ecology and Conservation” research group under the coordination of Professor of Ecology José Antonio García Charton and the technical direction of Dr. Amalia Cuadros.

In addition, this initiative linked to national and international citizen science networks such as “Observers of the Sea” and “Reef Check Med” has had continuity with the initiative “Sentinels of the Sea II”, also funded by the Biodiversity Foundation, which was developed throughout the years 2020 and 2021, and with which the network of “Sentinels of the Sea” for the monitoring of marine biodiversity in the environment of marine reserves was strengthened.

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