Research Profile | Baptiste Orsoni | Marine Science & Climate Change

Assessment of Dentex dentex abundance and prey trophic structure in a Corsican Marine Protected Area using Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUV) sampling
21st February 2023

Describe your MSc project?

The proposed study aims to conduct Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUV) deployments in order to assess the specie abundance as well as the prey trophic structure of Dentex dentex in the Natural Marine Park of Cap Corse and Agriate in protected and unprotected sites of professional and recreational fishing, in collaboration with Stella Mare laboratory.
This non-destructive and passive sampling technique could make it possible to complete recent studies concerning Dentex populations in Corsica and to compare the various data collected in order to improve the state of knowledge on the exploitation, biology and population structure of the Dentex in Corsica in a broader context that aims to contribute to the sustainable fishery management of this species.

What type of research has it involved and what skills have you learned?

The first stage of the project was to carry out a literature search to analyse the studies that had already been carried out in this area, using similar techniques. The pilot study was the second important stage of my research, as I had to build the two BRUVs and test them several times in order to make modifications so that they were optimal and operational for the start of my internship at Stella Mare.
Over the two months of the course, I spent 14 days at sea deploying my BRUVs 76 times in total in the Gulf of Saint-Florent. I learnt a lot during this period, both technically with the deployment of the BRUVs, and in terms of relationships with the people I met in the laboratory and all the knowledge I gained. The analysis of the video sequences allowed me to develop a lot of knowledge about Mediterranean fish and their identification. Statistical analysis was also an essential part of the report with the use of software such as PRIMER, SPSS or R Studio, as well as the writing and organisational part, which we think we may have a solid basis on thanks to the previous academic years but which represented a challenge for a particular mission such as the realisation of a research project.

Were there any partners/stakeholders on your project?

My research project was funded by Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps and was carried out during a two-month internship at the UMS UCPP- CNRS 3514 Stella Mare (Sustainable TEchnologies for LittoraL Aquaculture and MArine REsearch) laboratory.

Why should the public know about this topic?

The common dentex is an emblematic coastal marine fish of the Mediterranean and particularly of Corsica and representing an important economic interest for the island’s small-scale professional fishing industry. The common dentex is the only species of Sparidae listed as “Vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list of threatened species in the Mediterranean. Nevertheless, no moratorium has been put in place concerning fishing for dentex, despite the significant impact of this practice on the populations.
There has long been a recognition that predator-prey interactions are crucial to ecosystem dynamics because predators influence prey distributions, behaviour, and abundance. Predator abundance can have important consequences for ecosystem structure, health, resilience and diversity.

What is the wider impact of your research?

Some long-term impacts may result from this research:
  • Establish population-based monitoring through the regular deployment of BRUVs over the years in order to produce estimates of abundance
  • Capitalise on this new knowledge at population level to propose appropriate management measures and long-term monitoring perspectives
  • Communicate and raise awareness about these species via website, exhibition, conferences etc.
This study will hopefully lead to the democratisation of population monitoring by BRUV sampling in the Mediterranean Sea on vulnerable or endangered species.

Comments from Head of School

Baptiste has conducted the first ever assessment of MPA effectiveness in Corsica with regards to fish biodiversity and trophic structure. This study highlights the importance Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) play in localised conservation efforts for economically- and ecologically-important species such as Dentex dentex. For truly sustainable fishing to occur, fishing within neighbouring areas can reap the ‘spillover’ effects of higher fish abundance within protected areas.
We thank Dr Eric Durieux and his team at StellaMare for hosting Baptiste and Frédéric Caliendo (Charter Fishing Corsica) for his expert local ecological knowledge.
  • MSc

    Master in Marine Science & Climate Change

    Designed and delivered by expert academics and scientists, this full or part-time interdisciplinary programme blends theoretical study with practical, field-based work. You will cover specialist subject areas and gain the skills required to tackle the complex issues associated with the sustainable development of marine ecosystems.[...]

    1 Year

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