Horizon Europe Citizen Science App

EFFECTIVE | Protection and Restoration Management of Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas

EFFECTIVE, a Horizon Europe initiative, targets the emerging threat to the EU's Mediterranean Blue Natural Capital. By leveraging advanced science, technological nature-based solutions, digitalization, and social implication, the project aims to develop a comprehensive scientific knowledge base and practical guidance for the application of Ecosystem-Based Management to promote large-scale marine protected areas establishment in the European seas.

SPOTTERON TaxonomyService CitizenScienceApp

This project has received funding
from the European Union's Horizon Europe
research and innovation program
under grant agreement No. 101112752.

>  Learn more about Citizen Science
in Horizon Europe Partnerships

Marine restoration and protection is key in contributing to the implementation of the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Decade of Ocean Science and reaching the European Green Deal objectives. In order to combat the loss of EU biodiversity and promote its recovery by 2030, the European Commission has adopted the EU Biodiversity Strategy, which is based on the Ecosystem Approach (EA) and can be studied and managed in a holistic manner. However, despite its importance in policy and guidance documents, the concept of the EA remains imprecise and nebulous, making it difficult for implementation. To be more effective with putting the concepts of the EA and its management applications - the Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) frameworks - into practice, in a previous EU FP7 project (KnowSeas), EFFECTIVE partners developed the Ecosystem-Based Management System (EBMS), which introduces a common set of tools, procedures and language that facilitate knowledge transfer and capacity building for managers.

The EBMS, designed as a standard methodology based on a three-pillar structure (managerial, information, participation), has the aim to fulfill the vision-based management objectives that follow sustainable development principles based on the provision of ecosystem services. Furthermore, Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) play a fundamental role in biodiversity conservation and ecosystem management, as they have the potential to conserve marine resources as well as provide social and economic benefits to local communities. Despite covering only 8.33% of the Mediterranean Sea, only half of the MPAs have a management plan and there is a need for greater stakeholder participation and timely monitoring and evaluation, as highlighted in recent research exposing the gaps in designation and management of MPAs. Therefore, it is urgently necessary to place MPAs within the EBM frameworks by combining standard management application with digital tools to facilitate nested applications and improve the protection of marine environment, contributing to the development of solutions for degraded coastal and marine habitats and achieving the blueprints for the extension and connection of MPAs and networks.

SPOTTERON's role in the EFFECTIVE project is to develop a Citizen Science App related to biodiversity restoration solutions that not only covers in situ data collections in all pilot areas, but also involves the local population deeply in the project, with different layers of science communication, data quality and user privacy. The collected data in the Citizen Science App of the project will be synchronized with the data repository and the Digital Twin software platform.

Data loops will first be tested on pilot area locations and then expanded for regions and stakeholders across Europe. Special data access and management area that is protected by a secure login for data collection and community engagement activities will also be available for certain regional partners. To the public, the EFFECTIVE data set will be accessible as an anonymized OpenData download to work with and utilize the results for impact in their own region. Overall, this innovative "OpenStakeholder" concept propels the data management on to a regional access level for extended sub-partnerships, allowing local stakeholders to self-manage and organize data collection actions, clean-ups or habitat change monitoring in their local language.

Both the Horizon Europe projects EFFECTIVE and TRANSEATION culminate in the COSEA Citizen Science App that is geared towards marine and biodiversity restoration and protection, integrating communication and community-building tools for both citizen and scientists.


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Live Citizen Science Map Application from EFFECTIVE | Protection and Restoration Management of Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas

Open map