The APB and IMEDEA research benthic biodiversity at the Port of Palma


Photos: (1) Colony of marine worm tubes; (2) Placement of biofouling structures in the port of Palma; (3) Seaweed and sediment obtained by hard surface scraping (environments of marine worms)



Esporles, August 2, 2017. The Port Authority of the Balearic Islands (APB) and the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (IMEDEA) have signed a research contract to analyse the seabed (benthic) biodiversity at the Port of Palma. The project, led by doctors Joan Pons from IMEDEA and Maria Capa from the NTNU University Museum in Norway, aims to compare the number and abundance of species of marine worms (annelid polychaete) present at the Port of Palma with the port areas with less human impact, such as Portitxol, and both with regards to the protected marine area of the Bay of Palma.


Marine worms are excellent indicators of water quality. Therefore, the APB and IMEDEA have launched this meticulous study which, besides increasing our knowledge on the biodiversity of polychaete in the Balearic Islands, will be able to detect the presence of invasive species (introduced into the water surrounding Mallorca in boat hulls or in ballast water).


Thanks to the results obtained, there will be better management of the biodiversity conservation plans and invasive species will be able to be detected and managed. The data obtained from this study may have a large impact on the Port Authorities, as they are implementing and testing a methodology that can be used in the future, thus maximising environmental control systems and control of the entry of exotic species. In addition, a database will be generated with the species identified, meaning that future monitoring campaigns can be sped up and less expensive.


The first samples from the Port of Palma and Portitxol, and also in the marine reserve of the Bay of Palma, were taken in the last week of July. Over 30 sediment and hard surface scraping samples have been processed with the marine worms kept in ethanol for subsequent further study in terms of both morphology and genetics.



Photo: Palma's Port Orthophoto




More information: La APB y el IMEDEA investigan la biodiversidad bentónica del puerto de Palma (APB).