- Salomé FABRI-RUIZ
DIVMAR - Disentangling the drivers of DIVersity patterns in MARtinique
Tropical coastal marine ecosystems protect coastal communities against flooding and beach erosion, and provide important goods and services. While tropical islands such as Martinique display a high biodiversity and endemism – but seldom documented - they are impacted by multiple stressors such as urbanization, harvesting, or climate change. How life is organized and how biodiversity patterns are constrained by forcing drivers is still poorly understood, but an essential prerequisite for implementing monitoring and conservation strategies. Here, our project will 1) assess the spatial patterns of assemblages biodiversity in Martinique and 2) identify “hotspots” to 3) help the setting up of a conservation plan. Biodiversity will be explored from a multi-faceted perspective, and sensitivity of assemblages to variations in their environment will be defined. The originality of the project lies in the use of the Madibenthos database that results from an expedition led in Martinique with: 1) thousands of specimens collected, 2) a sampling strategy specifically designed to appraise biodiversity as a whole, 3) a focus on overlooked taxa (algae, mollusks, crustaceans) instead of the classical "flagship" (corals or fish) taxa approach ordinarily used in conservation. The project will 1) contribute to a comprehensive understanding of biodiversity patterns in a tropical ecosystem, 2) challenge the relevance of commonly-used conservation strategies – e.g. based on umbrella and emblematic species - in such ecosystems and 3) help to improve future monitoring surveys and conservation actions in tropical regions. Close collaborations will be undertaken with stakeholders of the Martinique marine park: outcomes of the project are expected to be of crucial importance for protecting Martinique's marine ecosystems and tropical marine ecosystems in general, while ensuring the sustainability of marine and economic activities. Project analysis could be then transposed to other territories.