Biological characterization of study sites
Derivation of biological data base
- An eco-audit is carried out on the marine, littoral and dune-hinterland terrestrial ecosystems at the selected sites.
- Both abundance, inter and intra-specific variation under the different environmental conditions which prevail at the sites are studied to obtain an estimate of biodiversity.
- Plant biodiversity : characterisation of the vegetation cover at each study site and of the impact of human activities; diagnostic of vegetation in terms of structure, diversity, and productivity of communities and representative species.
- Animal biodiversity : inventory of species, population ecology and spatio-temporal dynamics of representative communities and species.
- Seasonal distribution of representative animal species is estimated by standard sampling techniques, which are agreed within partnership and used in an integrated methodology: standard searches, pitfall traps, sampling square units, cores, plant bio-mass, mobile cages of unitary volume, nets, baited traps, along transepts from the sea to the dune-hinterland is used.
- Substrate characteristics (grain size, salinity, pH, soil moisture, organic content) and local climatic data are monitored along with sampling to analyse the relations of population abundance and variation with environmental factors.
- Key species, common and widely distributed in the region, are selected and their life cycles, behaviour (timing of activity and spatial use) and physiology studied in the field and laboratory.
- Results regarding variations among populations from different sites, based on the integrated sampling programme above, will be merged in an interdisciplinary way, to establish a baseline for estimation of adaptability to environmental change.