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© Biodiversity Research Group

Conservation in the Mediterranean


Known for its great climate, good food (and wine), beautiful landscapes, biodiversity and beaches, the Mediterranean region is a unique biodiversity hotspots with high richness, rich biodiversity and many endemic species, but also one of the most highly populated and threatened regions worldwide. Over 250 million people live around the Mediterranean and a similar number visit each year, across more than 20 Mediterranean countries ranging from Europe to Asia and Africa. It is a complex and challenging area for conservation. Recent discoveries of large oil and natural gas reservoirs in the Eastern Mediterranean and large pressures of fisheries, aquaculture, desalination, coastal development tourism and others make marine spatial planning essential in the region. In the past decade, Kark’s Biodiversiy Research Group has been working on research questions related to conservation planning and prioritisation in the Mediterranean Basin and Mediterranean Sea aiming to contribute to better science, management and decisions in the region that will take into account biodiversity, ecosystems and human needs.

We have created a group of scientists and experts from over 15 Mediterranean and other countries, who meet on a regular basis to address major questions and challengers for Mediterranean conservation. The first International Workshop on Advancing Conservation Planning took place in Santorini, Greece in 2012, the second in Michmoret, Israel in 2013 and the third international workshop in the series will take place in Lecce Italy in 2015. These workshops and collaborations have led to a series of research projects and scientific publications (see Publications section) that deal with Mediterranean conservation. We closely collaborate with Professor Noam Levin on these topics and our student Tessa Mazor has recently been granted her PhD (supervised by of Salit Kark and Hugh Possingham), focusing on conservation planning in the Mediterranean Sea in times of change.  Please see the Publications and Workshop tabs for more information.

Selected Publications

The value of migration information for conservation prioritization of sea turtles in the MediterraneanAdobe_PDF_icon
Mazor T, Berger M, McGowan J, Possingham HP & Kark S (2016). Global Ecology and Biogeography 25: 540-552. DOI:10.1111/geb.12434.

Socioeconomic impacts of marine protected areas in the Mediterranean and Black Seas
Pascual M, Rossetto M, Ojea E, Milchakova N, Giakoumi S, Kark S, Korolesova D & Melià P (2016). Ocean & Coastal Management, 133:1-10. DOI: 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2016.09.001.

Marine conservation challenges in an era of economic crisis and geopolitical instability: The case of the Mediterranean SeaAdobe_PDF_icon
Katsanevakis S, Levin N, Coll M, Giakoumi S, Shkedi D, Mackelworth P, Levy R, Velegrakis A, Koutsoubas D, Caric H, Brokovich E, Ozturk B & Kark S (2015). Marine Policy 51: 31–39. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2014.07.013.

Biodiversity data requirements for systematic conservation planning in the Mediterranean SeaAdobe_PDF_icon
Levin N, Coll M, Fraschetti S, Gal G, Giakoumi S, Göke C, Heymans JJ, Katsanevakis S, Mazor T, Öztürk B, Rilov G, Gajewski J, Steenbeek J, Kark S, (2014). Marine Ecology Progress Series 508:261-281. DOI: 10.3354/meps10857.

A framework for systematic conservation planning and management of Mediterranean landscapesAdobe_PDF_icon
Levin N, Watson JEM, Joseph LN, Grantham HS, Hadar L, Apel N, Perevolotsky A, DeMalach N, Possingham, HP and Kark, S (2013). A framework for systematic conservation planning and management of Mediterranean landscapes. Biological Conservation, 158 : 371-383. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2012.08.032.

Can satellite-based night lights be used for conservation? The case of nesting sea turtles in the MediterraneanAdobe_PDF_icon
Mazor T, Levin N, Possingham HP, Levy Y, Rocchini D, Richardson AJ and Kark S(2013). Can satellite-based night lights be used for conservation? The case of nesting sea turtles in the Mediterranean. Biological Conservation, 159 : 63-72. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2012.11.004.

Setting Priorities for Regional Conservation Planning in the Mediterranean SeaAdobe_PDF_icon
Micheli F, Levin N, Giakoumi S, Katsanevakis S, Abdulla A, Coll M, Fraschetti S, Kark S, Koutsoubas D, Mackelworth P, Maiorano L and Possingham HP (2013). Setting Priorities for Regional Conservation Planning in the Mediterranean Sea. PLoS ONE, 8(4): e59038.1-e59038.16. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0059038.

Summary of policy recommendations from the project led by Salit Kark and Noam Levin examining options for systematic spatial conservation planning in Israel’s Exclusive Economic Zone using decision support tools (Hebrew).Adobe_PDF_icon