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RCMed_2001_2020: Reef Check Med - key Mediterranean marine species 2001-2020
Citable as data publication
Ponti, M., Turicchia, E., Rossi, G., Cerrano, C.; Reef Check Italia onlus; (2020): Reef Check Med - key Mediterranean marine species 2001-2020.

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Availability: Creative Commons License This dataset is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

The dataset consists of abundance records of 43 marine species in the Mediterranean Sea from 2001 to 2020. Selected species include some protected and non-indigenous species, ecosystem engineers, species sensitive to climate change, and/or threatened by human activities. Taken together, these taxa represent key ecological aspects of Mediterranean subtidal habitats (Cerrano et al., 2017) and can be used to calculate the MedSens, an index of the environmental status of subtidal rocky coastal habitats based on species sensitivity (Turicchia et al., 2021). Observations were carried out by the EcoDivers (trained scuba divers, freedivers and snorkelers) according to a rigorous protocol (RCMed U-CEM) developed by the association Reef Check Italia onlus. more

Observations were carried out by the EcoDivers (trained scuba divers, freedivers and snorkelers) according to a rigorous protocol (RCMed U-CEM) developed by the association Reef Check Italia onlus. Records include geographic coordinates (decimal degrees, WGS84), site name, date, survey depth range (min and max, in metres), prevailing habitat (from an options list), the sampling size in term of searching time (minutes), taxon name, abundance category (coded from 0 to 6), occurrence depth range (min and max, in metres) and the name of the EcoDiver who made the identification. The Reef Check Med Underwater Coastal Environment Monitoring (RCMed U-CEM) protocol is a Citizen Science initiative, developed by the Italian non-profit association Reef Check Italia onlus, aimed to assess the ecological status of the Mediterranean marine coastal habitats (Cerrano et al., 2017; Turicchia et al., 2021). Taxa were selected based on a combination of criteria including identification easiness and being key indicators of the shifts Mediterranean subtidal habitats may undergo under local pressures and climate change. When it is not easy to discriminate between species, genus level or higher was chosen, as in the case of the two protected Mediterranean seahorses. Before diving, each EcoDiver (i.e. the trained volunteer scuba divers, freedivers and snorkelers) chooses which and how many of the 43 taxa, included in the protocol, will be searched for, according to the expected habitat typology and personal motivations. Abundance (using numerical or descriptive classes according to the countability of organisms) and occurrence depth range (min and max, in metres) of searched taxa are recorded. Taxa actively searched for, but not encountered, are recorded as absent. Diving sites are localised by using global positioning system (GPS) receivers, nautical charts or known points (e.g., mooring buoys at MPAs). Geographical coordinates (WGS84) are recorded with ± 6 arc-second (i.e. about 200 m) accuracy, which is in the distance range usually explored by divers in a single dive. The adopted abundance categories are (in brackets the corresponding descriptive categories): Category 0: 0 specimens (absent) Category 1: 1 specimen (isolated specimen) Category 2: 2 specimens (some scattered specimens) Category 3: 3-5 specimens (several scattered specimens) Category 4: 6-10 specimens (a crowded area) Category 5: 11-50 specimens (some crowded areas) Category 6: > 50 specimens (several crowded areas) The prevailing habitat is identified according to the following categories: - Coastal rocks - Offshore rocks - Rocky cliff - Posidonia - Posidonia and sand - Posidonia and rocks - Cave - Metal wreck - Sand - Mud - Breakwaters and ports - River mouth - Coastal lagoon

Biology > Benthos, Biology > Fish, Biology > Macroalgae
Marine/Coastal, Citizen science, Climate change, diver, Ecosystem engineers, human, Human activities, Non-indigenous species, Overfishing, Protected species, EurOBIS calculated BBOX, Mediterranean Region, Aplidium Savigny, 1816, Aplysina Nardo, 1834, Arca noae Linnaeus, 1758, Astroides calycularis (Pallas, 1766), Axinella Schmidt, 1862, Balanophyllia Wood, 1844, Caulerpa cylindracea Sonder, 1845, Caulerpa taxifolia (M.Vahl) C.Agardh, 1817, Centrostephanus longispinus (Philippi, 1845), Chromis chromis (Linnaeus, 1758), Cladocora caespitosa (Linnaeus, 1767), Conger conger (Linnaeus, 1758), Corallium rubrum (Linnaeus, 1758), Diplodus Rafinesque, 1810, Epizoanthus Gray, 1867, Eunicella cavolini (Koch, 1887), Eunicella singularis (Esper, 1791), Eunicella verrucosa (Pallas, 1766), Geodia cydonium (Linnaeus, 1767), Hippocampus Rafinesque, 1810, Homarus gammarus (Linnaeus, 1758), Leptopsammia pruvoti Lacaze-Duthiers, 1897, Maasella edwardsii (de Lacaze-Duthiers, 1888), Ophidiaster ophidianus (Lamarck, 1816), Palinurus elephas (Fabricius, 1787), Paracentrotus lividus (Lamarck, 1816), Paramuricea clavata (Risso, 1827), Parazoanthus axinellae (Schmidt, 1862), Patella ferruginea Gmelin, 1791, Pecten jacobaeus (Linnaeus, 1758), Pectinidae Rafinesque, 1815, Pinna nobilis Linnaeus, 1758, Polycitor [Renier], [1804], Pyuridae Hartmeyer, 1908, Rapana venosa (Valenciennes, 1846), Sciaena umbra Linnaeus, 1758, Scyllarides latus (Latreille, 1803), Stolonifera, Tethya Lamarck, 1815, Trisopterus minutus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Geographical coverage
EurOBIS calculated BBOX Stations
Bounding Box
Coordinates: MinLong: -1,1546; MinLat: 35,4027 - MaxLong: 25,362; MaxLat: 45,7636 [WGS84]
Mediterranean Region [Marine Regions]

Temporal coverage
2001 - 2020

Taxonomic coverage
Aplidium Savigny, 1816 [WoRMS]
Aplysina Nardo, 1834 [WoRMS]
Arca noae Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]
Astroides calycularis (Pallas, 1766) [WoRMS]
Axinella Schmidt, 1862 [WoRMS]
Balanophyllia Wood, 1844 [WoRMS]
Caulerpa cylindracea Sonder, 1845 [WoRMS]
Caulerpa taxifolia (M.Vahl) C.Agardh, 1817 [WoRMS]
Centrostephanus longispinus (Philippi, 1845) [WoRMS]
Chromis chromis (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]
Cladocora caespitosa (Linnaeus, 1767) [WoRMS]
Conger conger (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]
Corallium rubrum (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]
Diplodus Rafinesque, 1810 [WoRMS]
Epizoanthus Gray, 1867 [WoRMS]
Eunicella cavolini (Koch, 1887) [WoRMS]
Eunicella singularis (Esper, 1791) [WoRMS]
Eunicella verrucosa (Pallas, 1766) [WoRMS]
Geodia cydonium (Linnaeus, 1767) [WoRMS]
Hippocampus Rafinesque, 1810 [WoRMS]
Homarus gammarus (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]
Leptopsammia pruvoti Lacaze-Duthiers, 1897 [WoRMS]
Maasella edwardsii (de Lacaze-Duthiers, 1888) [WoRMS]
Ophidiaster ophidianus (Lamarck, 1816) [WoRMS]
Palinurus elephas (Fabricius, 1787) [WoRMS]
Paracentrotus lividus (Lamarck, 1816) [WoRMS]
Paramuricea clavata (Risso, 1827) [WoRMS]
Parazoanthus axinellae (Schmidt, 1862) [WoRMS]
Patella ferruginea Gmelin, 1791 [WoRMS]
Pecten jacobaeus (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]
Pectinidae Rafinesque, 1815 [WoRMS]
Pinna nobilis Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]
Polycitor [Renier], [1804] [WoRMS]
Pyuridae Hartmeyer, 1908 [WoRMS]
Rapana venosa (Valenciennes, 1846) [WoRMS]
Sciaena umbra Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]
Scyllarides latus (Latreille, 1803) [WoRMS]
Stolonifera [WoRMS]
Tethya Lamarck, 1815 [WoRMS]
Trisopterus minutus (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]

Abundance category of biological entity specified elsewhere [BODC]
Depth maximum of biological entity specified elsewhere on the bed by epibenthic sampling [BODC]
Depth minimum of biological entity specified elsewhere on the bed by epibenthic sampling [BODC]
Sample duration [BODC]

Reef Check Italia onlusdata creator
Ponti, Massimo
Turicchia, Eva
Rossi, Gianfranco
Cerrano, Carlo

Related datasets
Published in:
EurOBIS: European Ocean Biodiversity Information System, more

Based on this dataset
Turicchia, E. et al. (2021). MedSens index: The bridge between marine citizen science and coastal management. Ecol. Indic. 122: 107296.
Chimienti, G. (2020). Vulnerable forests of the pink sea fan Eunicella verrucosa in the Mediterranean Sea. Diversity 12(5): 176.
Garrabou, Joaquim et al. (2019). Collaborative database to track mass mortality events in the Mediterranean Sea. Front. Mar. Sci. 6.
Di Camillo, C.G. et al. (2018). Building a baseline for habitat-forming corals by a multi-source approach, including Web Ecological Knowledge. Biodivers. Conserv. 27(5): 1257-1276.
Ponti, M. et al. (2018). The understorey of gorgonian forests in mesophotic temperate reefs. Aquat. Conserv. 28(5): 1153-1166.
Turicchia, E. et al. (2018). Mass mortality hits gorgonian forests at Montecristo Island. Dis. Aquat. Org. 131(1): 79-85.
de Francesco, M.C. et al. (2017). Characterization of Teatina coast marine habitats (Central Adriatic Sea) toward an Integrated Coastal Management. Oceanography & Fisheries Open Access Journal 5(1): 555653.
Turicchia, E. et al. (2017). May citizen science effectively support underwater monitoring programs?, in: 3rd European Conference on Scientific Diving, 22-23 March 2017, Funchal, Madeira Island, Portugal: Book of abstracts. pp. 46
Özalp, H.B.; Alparslan, M. (2016). Scleractinian diversity in the Dardanelles and Marmara Sea (Turkey): morphology, ecology and distributional patterns. Oceanological and Hydrobiological Studies 45(2): 259-285.
Turicchia, E. et al. (2016). From citizen sciences to environmental quality assessment: The Portofino MPA case study. Rapp. Comm. int. Mer Médit. 41: 522
Giusti, M. et al. (2015). An updated overview of the geographic and bathymetric distribution of Savalia savaglia. Mediterr. Mar. Sci. 16(1): 128-135.
Montefalcone, M. et al. (2015). A tale of two invaders: divergent spreading kinetics of the alien green algae Caulerpa taxifolia and Caulerpa cylindracea. Biological Invasions 17(9): 2717-2728.
Özalp, H.B.; Ates, A.S. (2015). The occurrence of the Mediterranean soft coral Maasella edwardsi (Cnidaria, Anthozoa, Alcyonacea) in the Aegean Sea coasts of Turkey. Marine Biodiversity Records 8: e55.
Turicchia, E. et al. (2015). Citizen science as a tool for the environmental quality assessment of Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas, in: Cerrano, C. et al. MMMPA/ CIESM International Joint Conference on Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas: Integrated Management as a Response to Ecosystem Threats – Conference Report, 15-17 October 2015, Ancona, Italy. pp. 29
Markantonatou, V. et al. (2013). Stakeholder participation and the use of web technology for MPA management. Adv. Oceanogr. Limnol. 4(2): 260-276.
Pairaud, I.L. et al. (2013). Impacts of climate change on coastal benthic ecosystems: assessing the current risk of mortality outbreaks associated with thermal stress in NW Mediterranean coastal areas. Ocean Dynamics 64(1): 103-115.
Turicchia, E. et al. (2013). Abundance, size, and growth rate of Geodia cydonium (Demospongiae: Geodiidae) in the northern Adriatic temperate biogenic reefs. Rapp. Comm. int. Mer Médit. 40: 699
Ponti, M.; Leoni, G.; Abbiati, M. (2011). Geographical analysis of marine species distribution data provided by diver volunteers. Biol. Mar. Medit. 18(1): 282-283
Ponti, M. et al. (2011). Reef Check: involvement of SCUBA diver volunteers in the Coastal Environment Monitoring Protocol for the Mediterranean Sea, in: 9th International Temperate Reefs Symposium, 26th June - 1st July 2011, Plymouth, UK: Book of Abstracts. pp. 164
Describing this dataset
Cerrano, C.; Milanese, M.; Ponti, M. (2017). Diving for science - science for diving: volunteer scuba divers support science and conservation in the Mediterranean Sea. Aquat. Conserv. 27(2): 303-323.

Dataset status: In Progress
Data type: Data
Data origin: Citizen science
Metadatarecord created: 2020-05-05
Information last updated: 2022-08-16
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