UTOPIAN (identification of priority conservation areas within the coral reefs of La Réunion island) (2020 call)

Budget: 39,979.84 EUR
Coordinator: BEST RUN

Based on the current monitoring networks (GCRMN, reserve effect, DCE, POPMER, Reef Check, etc.), it can be concluded that the coral reefs of Réunion are degrading. However, if these networks allow this negative observation, on the other hand, they do not completely make it possible to locate, qualify and quantify the relictual ecological issues, nor to identify and prioritize the causes of the degradations observed.

Faced with this issue, the UTOPIAN project has three objectives: Evaluate the ecological state of all coral reefs of Reunion; Research the links between ecological issues and environmental pressures; Propose conservation and restoration actions to the Réunion Marine Nature Reserve (RNMR).

These objectives can be achieved through: The implementation of a robust and operational method (MERCI-Cor) in validation on a national scale (OFB); The strong replication of sampling (> 150 stations) thanks to the participation of M2 students; Expert-level statistical analysis power; The establishment of a working group to interpret the results and propose courses of action.

Furthermore, although this objective is not specifically assigned to this project, the data acquired will make it possible, if necessary, to test the effect of the spatial mosaic of the various management/conservation policies (integral reserve, fishing reserve, off-reserve ) on the various ecological indicators of the MERCI-Cor method.