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09/22: Media advisory


The Mediterranean Symposia, a scientific event dedicated to the Mediterranean marine and coastal biodiversity and its conservation







Subject: The Mediterranean Symposia on Marine Vegetation, Coralligenous, Dark Habitats and Non-Indigenous Species, to be held from 19 to 23 September 2022 in Genoa, Italy.

This event is organized by SPA/RAC, the Specially Protected Areas Regional Activity Centre of UNEP/MAP – Barcelona Convention, in partnership with the Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA), the University of Genoa and its Department of Earth, the Environment and Life Sciences, and the association “Società Italiana di Biologia Marina” (SIBM).

The Mediterranean Symposia have been endorsed as an Ocean Decade Action by IOC-UNESCO. It will bring together renowned specialists, students, researchers, marine resources managers, from across the region. Almost 150 participants have registered for this hybrid event, both online and in person.

Date: 19 - 23 September 2022
Venue: Sala Quadrivium, Piazza Santa Marta, 2, 16121 Genoa, Italy.

All the Mediterranean Symposia sessions will be broadcast live on the SPA/RAC YouTube channel.

Main themes:
The four main themes are marine vegetation, coralligenous and other calcareous bio-concretions, dark habitats, and non-indigenous species.


  • The sustainable management and restoration of Posidonia oceanica meadows, (widely known as the “lungs of the Mediterranean”) which produces oxygen, provides a habitat for several species, and constitutes an important carbon sink.
  • The conservation status and monitoring methods of coralligenous, the three-dimensional habitats that support 15-20% of Mediterranean species.
  • Filling knowledge gaps on dark habitats in the Mediterranean, which are subject to the adverse impacts of climate change, in addition to pressure from bycatch and other unsustainable practices.
  • Biological invasions in the Mediterranean Sea, which will be addressed from the perspective of monitoring and management options. Non-native species (NIS) are a considerable threat to Mediterranean biodiversity. In 2020, more than 1150 species were reported by Mediterranean countries (Cf. Mamias, 2020), 109 of which are considered invasive, with adverse impacts on the environment.

The detailed programme of the event is available at https://symposia.spa-rac.org/provisional-programme/

Language: The working languages are French and English, with simultaneous translation available in the meeting room.

Exhibition "Deep-sea corals of the Ligurian Sea: a tale of extraordinary discoveries":
A photographic exhibition, entitled "Deep-sea corals of the Ligurian Sea: a tale of extraordinary discoveries", will be held at the Mediterranean Symposia venue.

The exhibition presents the main discoveries made in the Ligurian Sea by the deep marine zoology research group of the University of Genoa, and spans ten years of exploration. It recounts an underwater journey through the eyes of a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) and captures breathtaking scenes from the twilight zone (between 50 and 200 m) up to the deep bathyal escarpment (600-700 m), and over the peaks of ancient underwater volcanoes (140-1800 m) in the depths of the Ligurian Sea.

The photographic gems that the exhibition offers include the recent discoveries made in the canyons of the Ligurian Sea as part of the Curiosity project: extensive bioconstructions of white corals home to a rich community of organisms.

The exhibition offers a compelling look at the reach and sheer size of the human footprint in these supposedly remote environments. It was created by Marzia Bo, Francesco Enrichetti and Federico Betti (DISTAV, UNIGE) in the framework of the Project Curiosity, entitled "Lost coral reefs: ancient bioherms in a modern world", financed by the University of Genova (Italy) in 2020-2022.


For further information, please contact:
Ms Dorra Maaoui, Communications Assistant at SPA/RAC: dorra.maaoui@spa-rac.org