Subcontractors of Department of Fisheries and Marine Research (Republic of Cyprus) for the “Regional cooperation for the transnational ecosystem sustainable development” (RECONNECT) project

~2 years (September 2018  – June 2020)

Funded by: 
Interreg Balkan-Mediterranean

Subcontracted by:
Department of Fisheries and Marine Research (Republic of Cyprus)

Collaborator experts:
Professor Giacomo Bernardi (University of California, Santa Cruz)

Project Description:
Regional cooperation for the transnational ecosystem sustainable development (RECONNECT) project was funded by the Τransnational Cooperation Programme Interreg V-B “Balkan-Mediterranean 2014-2020 and aimed to develop strategies for sustainable management of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and Natura 2000 sites.

The establishment of common practices and a joint regional strategy are the main challenges of RECONNECT. The overall objective of the project was to promote efficient management of natural systems which enhances the competence of local management authorities through the development of a multidisciplinary Decision Support System (DSS). The new transnational holistic approach aimed to change the current protection strategies in the Balkan-Mediterranean area promoting more efficient and accurate management practices. The main outputs of the RECONNECT project was to provide information concerning habitat attributes, as well as the essential biodiversity, socio-economic and cultural values, which are freely available as tools through a web-based platform.

The scope of this contract was the implementation of some of RECONNECT’s specific activities on behalf of the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research (DFMR), one of the project partners.

Briefly, the following services were provided by MER Lab:

  • Participation together with the project’s partners, in activities related to the Project Identity Set of the program (e.g. preparation of informative and education material, press-releases, etc.);
  • Organization and implementation of an Open Day Activity and participation in the Researchers’ Night organized by the Research Promotion Foundation;
  • Organization and implementation of a training seminar regarding the Decision Support System;
  • Field work at the Cavo Greko MPA (biodiversity and marine litter assessments, established long-term monitoring stations in rocky reefs and seagrass meadows, sampling of Vermetids and seagrass Posidonia oceanica for genetic analyses), analysis of results and drafting of relevant deliverables;
  • Contribution to the development of the TraitBank database, including bibliographic review for marine organisms;
  • Bibliographic review and preparation of relevant report on environmental indices related to genetic biodiversity, with special emphasis on key species;
  • Contribution to training seminars related to the management toolbox;
  • Development of best practice protocols for the monitoring of marine areas through citizens’ Activities;
  • Development of a guide for managers that included inter alia indicators for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, recommendations and strategies aimed at cross-border management of Marine Protected Areas, and translation of the guide to Greek.


RECONNECT project partners:

Lead Partner: Institute of Marine Biology, Biotechnology and Aquaculture (Hellenic Centre for Marine Research)

Partners:  Management Agency of Dodecanese Protected Areas; Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research-BAS; Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cyprus; Department of Fisheries and Marine Research, Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment; Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Tirana; International Centre for Research on the Environment and the Economy (ICRE8)

Observer Partners: Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies, University of Salento; Mediterranean Institute of marine and terrestrial Biodiversity and Ecology