The Project

HARMONY aims to suggest a set of monitoring and control measures between the two cross-border regions of Sicily and Malta.

Aims

The project will work on the integrity of marine seafloor and the inhabiting species. The effects of habitat fragmentation in facilitating the diffusion of Non-Indigenous Species (NIS) will also be investigated.

Objectives

By integrating these two aspects, HARMONY will reach a better understanding of marine ecosystem functioning in a cross-border context and will directly contribute to the monitoring obligations for Descriptor 2 (Non-indigenous species do not adversely alter the ecosystem) and for Descriptor 6 (The sea floor integrity ensures functioning of the ecosystem) within the MSFD (Marine Strategy Framework Directive).

Marine Research at the University of Malta

The Physical Oceanography Research Group within the Department of Geosciences at the University of Malta recently released a 3-minute video to showcase the extensive array of marine scientific surveying work that the same Research Group conducted within Maltese waters this summer as part of project-related obligations.

Through HARMONY project funds, the Research Group purchased a Remotely-Operated Vehicle (ROV) which it deployed at water depths of hundred of meters during efforts to map the distribution of coralligenous assemblages within a local Marine Protected Area (MPA) off the North-East coast of Malta. The Research Group also participated within SCUBA diving surveys conducted within Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows as well as within coastal surveys focusing on biogenic reefs known as vermetid trottoirs.

As a result, the HARMONY project managed to collected useful field data relevant to two Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) Descriptors – 2 (Non-Indigenous Species) and 6 (Seafloor Integrity) – by sampling within three different coastal and marine habitats of high conservation importance within two local MPAs.

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