Contribution of phenology to study the impact of climate change in coastal marine environment: the octocorals as models species

Project description 
This project aims to study the impact of environmental fluctuations on the phenology of metazoans in marine coastal waters of different regions of Mediterranean Sea. The selected species for this purpose are three emblematic cnidarians: the red gorgonian Paramuricea clavata, the yellow gorgonian Eunicella cavolinii, and the red coralCorallium rubrum. These species are in fact major elements of coralligenous ecosystems associated with high biodiversity in Mediterranean. They also have an important socioeconomic value either through diving or harvesting for the red coral. The aim of our project is to continue and extend the monitoring of the phenology of these species at the Marseille region and in other Mediterranean regions to better understand the dynamics of these populations and their potential response to climate change. In this context, the objectives of this study are: 
- Test the impact of temperature on the phenology of these species, including the reproduction: we will consider the variability in thermal regime (depending on depth) and different levels of anthropogenic impact suffered by these populations in French (Marseille) and Algerian (Annaba) populations; 
- Study the impact of environmental fluctuations on the stress level and identify critical phases for the survival of colonies at genetic and physiological levels; 
- Estimate the variability in response to environmental changes and stress between species and within each species between populations in different Mediterranean regions; 
- Estimate and model the impact of environmental fluctuations on population phenology and dynamics. Expected results are: 
- Characterize the life cycles of red gorgonian Paramuricea clavata, yellow gorgonian Eunicella cavolinii, and red coral Corallium rubrumand estimate reproductive effort in different sites of coastal zones in Mediterranean Sea; 
- Observe gametogenesis and embryogenesis in P. clavataE. cavolinii and C. rubrum
- Test the relationship between the reproductive cycle of these species (and between different stages of the cycle) and temperature fluctuations from different ecological conditions; 
- Compare the reproductive cycles between P. clavata and E. cavoliniiand between populations (different thermal regimes) within the same species; 
- Monitor the expression of the genes of stress response during the life cycle and in response to fluctuations in temperature; 
- Test and model the impact of environmental fluctuations on the phenology of marine metazoans in coastal waters in the Marseille region such as gorgonian P. clavataE. cavolinii and C. rubrum.