Welcome to PAP/RAC Mediterranean Coastal Alert! This newsletter is regularly updated monthly. It contains abstracts of selected current articles and archives on various environmental themes, in particular those dealing with all aspects of coastal issues. The selection is made from the articles published in the leading international scientific journals. This newsletter is an excellent way of keeping you updated with coastal studies and processes.
The main geomorphological features of dunes/beaches were investigated along the central Adriatic coast of Italy (Abruzzo). Nine foredune areas typified by established dunes and incipient dunes were investigated through detailed geomorphological surveying and an analysis of historical maps and photographs (aerial and land).
The dunes are located along both low and high coasts. The morphology is typical of foredunes, with elongated fields parallel to the coastline. The total linear extension is 15,500 m; established dunes are more extended than incipient ones and occupy the greatest portion of the total surface area ( 1,500,000 m2).
Analyses of historical maps and photographs (aerial and land) led to the reconstruction of coastal dune morphology from the beginning of the 1800s to the turn of the 20th century, showing a surface reduction >80%. Accelerator mass spectrometry 14C dating, carried out on samples of Helix sp., outlines the minimum age of Abruzzo dune systems at about 730 ± 40 years before present.
The overall study enabled the reconstruction of different geomorphological arrangements of the dune areas, allowing us to define the dunes of the Abruzzo coast as semi-natural foredunes, with mainly direct and locally indirect management control. The reconstruction of dune evolution identifies Abruzzo's oldest recognisable period of aeolian deposition in the late Middle Ages; aeolian deposition was widely active until the early 1900s and dunes were a significant morphological component of the Italian coastal landscape. The first significant human-induced processes began in the 1900s; over the last 50 years human activity has played an important role in the coastal morphogenesis, with direct and indirect effects on coastal dune reduction and removal heavily affecting the whole coastal system.
Keywords: Coastal dunes; Geomorphological survey; Historical maps; Historical aerial and land photos; Historical dune variations; AMS datings; Geomorphological setting.
Source: E. Miccadei, F. Mascioli, T. Piacentini and F. Ricci (2011); “Geomorphological features of coastal dunes along the Central Adriatic Coast”, Journal of Coastal Research In-Press; Received: 30 October 2010; Accepted: 20 January 2011; Published online: 6 June 2011 under DOI: 10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-10-00161.1.
The edible sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus is commercially exploited in many European countries. In recent years, however, its stocks have shown a large reduction in several regions because of overfishing. This paper reports the effects of harvesting on P. lividus population structure in shallow rocky reefs from a central-western Mediterranean area where this activity is intensively practiced. Density, size (test diam), and biomass of sea urchin were assessed in October 2004 (just before the fishing season) and in May 2005 (immediately after the fishing season) at two locations where intense P. lividus harvest occurs and at two controls within an adjacent Marine Protected Area (MPA) where P. lividus harvest is prohibited. Density, size, and average biomass of P. lividus were significantly higher at the protected areas than at the exploited ones. In particular, large-sized specimens (test diam >5 cm) were notably less abundant at the fished locations; however, very similar results were detected for both the periods examined (i.e., before and after the fishing season), suggesting that effects of pressing activity of harvest through the past years may have produced effects much more evident than those attributable to the single fishing season. These results reveal the existence of a heavy-fishing impact on P. lividus in north-western Sardinia and the urgent need of regulating its harvesting to prevent severe direct effects on its populations.
Source: A. Pais, S. Serra, G. Meloni, S. Saba and G. Ceccherelli (2011); “Harvesting effects on Paracentrotus lividus population structure: A case study from north-western Sardinia, Italy, before and after the fishing season”, Journal of Coastal Research In-Press; Received: 17 August 2010; Accepted: 23 December 2010; Published online: 21 March 2011 under DOI: 10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-10-00119.1.
The present contribution aims to provide an insight into the sediment dynamics of the Bay of Marseille (BoM), France, an area characterised by a mostly rocky, steep-sloped, and protected shoreline. In terms of sediment composition, the northern part of the study area is dominated by fines, whereas sands of mean grain size 0.2 < d50 < 1 mm occur at most other locations. Posidonia oceanica meadows occupy many nearshore areas. Critical bed-shear stress was determined through tests in a unidirectional flume using 15 natural cores. Measured values ranged from 0.04 N/m2 to 0.46 N/m2 and were expressed as a function of the logarithm of d50. Mud content had no observable effect on sediment cohesion, whereas a weak positive trend between critical shear stress and clay content was discerned. Autonomous benthic stations (Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler/Conductivity, Temperature, Depth/Turbidity/ALTUS Data Collection System) were deployed for periods of 2–3 months, and several suspension and erosion events were identified for significant wave heights exceeding 1.5 m. Grain-size trends showed that the protected BoM appeared to favour accumulation of sediments advected from the surrounding areas. The southern sector of the BoM was found to be the area with the highest sediment agitation and erosion rates but with weak transport trends. The northern sector, exposed to dominant SW waves, was shown to be the second most active area in terms of sediment dynamics, whereas the several Posidonia oceanica meadows and sheltered locations along the study area appeared to be possible sediment sinks. The latter included locations close to port installations and the western part of the Cortiou area, known to have water quality issues, which, according to the present findings, are linked to low sediment mobility and/or dispersion of pollutants.
Keywords: Sediment transport; Sediment suspension; Grain size trends analysis; Bed erodibility; Fate of pollutants; Mediterranean Sea.
Source: M. I. Vousdoukas, R. Verney, F. Dufois, C. Pinazo, D. Sauzade, S. Meule, P. Cann and T. A. Plomaritis (2011); “Sediment Dynamics in the Bay of Marseille, Gulf of Lions (France): Hydrodynamic Forcing vs. Bed Erodibility”, Journal of Coastal Research In-Press; Received: 8 August 2010; Accepted: 1 November 2010; Published online: 2 February 2011 under DOI: 10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-10-00122.1.
Whilst spatial planning has evolved as a tool to manage the development and use of the terrestrial environment over decades, the development of spatial planning systems for the marine environment are in their infancy. This paper focuses on the integration of land- and marine-based spatial planning systems. This is informed by a brief overview of the regional development of the lands and seas of Europe which underlie spatial planning systems and by a discussion of respective spatial planning systems in terms of economic sectors, land use, and sea use. The integration of spatial planning systems is then considered, followed by evaluation of relationships between spatial planning, and the wider field of environmental management. This includes consideration of organisational and geographical scales, technical management including legal aspects, policy, strategic planning and time scales of decision-making. The paper identifies the significant factors which must be considered in the integration of marine and terrestrial planning systems over the coming decades.
Keywords: Marine spatial planning; Land-use planning; Sea-use planning; ICM; Europe.
Source: H. D. Smith, F. Maes, T. A. Stojanovic and R. C. Ballinger (20119; “The integration of land and marine spatial planning”, From the issue entitled "Special Issue: Maritime Spatial Planning / Guest Edited by Vittorio Barale and Nicole Schaefer", Journal of Coastal Conservation, Volume 15, Number 2, 291-303; Received: 4 August 2009; Revised: 15 February 2010; Accepted: 26 March 2010 under DOI: 10.1007/s11852-010-0098-z.