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PALEOPARK: Millenary changes in the insular Spanish National Parks: perturbations, resilience and trends after the seagrass archives

PALEOARK aims to use paleo-archives as tools for the reconstruction of the dynamics of coastal and terrestrial ecosystems in the Spanish insular National Parks, to highlight interactions with natural and anthropogenic perturbations as well as to assess and price the carbon stocks and fluxes associated to the seagrass sediments. The information derived from this mission will serve to accomplish two main objectives: (i) providing the National Park with long data series of important variables of the ecosystem over the last few thousands of years and (ii) estimating the size and the dynamics of the massive carbon deposits under the meadows of the seagrass Posidonia oceanica. The objectives will be achieved by the participation of an international consortium of 25 researchers, in which, that will study geological, chemical, micro-paleontological, molecular, genetic, palinological, and isotopic proxies, together with archaeological and historical information available about the two Spanish Insular National Parks.

This research will ultimately help to highlight the amazing benefits the Mediterranean countries are obtaining from this marine grass that only occurs in the coasts of the Mare Nostrum, and to reinforce the urgent need to establish rigid and resilient management programs to ensure its conservation for the future generations. This will help to differentiate between human and natural derived impacts of perturbation in order to predict the evolution of invasive species and quantify the effects of CO2 rise in coastal and terrestrial ecosystems.

Researchers

Dr Oscar Serrano
Professor Paul Lavery
Dr Miguel A. Mateo

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