MARINE ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING

 

     

Key Services that MER offers include:

  • Design and implement Monitoring Programs
  • Sample and analyze physicochemical and Biological Quality Elements in marine water and sediment to assess ecological quality
  • Identify risk and thresholds
  • Advise on mitigation strategies

 

During the last few decades, the rapid expansion of anthropogenic development has induced unforeseen impacts to the marine environment. Human development is altering the biosphere’s climate and as the emissions of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continue to rise, the threat of temperature increase, deoxygenation and acidification in the oceans becomes a reality. Environmental changes will eventually lead to ecosystem shifts, habitat and species loss, and spread of invasive species. Coastal development is associated with more direct impacts such as habitat loss and pollution, eutrophication, overexploitation of resources and the list goes on…Natural systems are gradually degraded and biodiversity is reduced at all levels. Biodiversity is a key resource, as it provides both goods and services to people. EU legislation and initiatives such as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive which aims at improving the environmental conditions of EU waters by 2020 and protecting the resources upon which marine-related economic and social activities depend require tools such as environmental monitoring and impact assessments.

 

Environmental monitoring is used to describe the processes and activities that need to take place in order to characterize and monitor the quality of the environment. Environmental monitoring should be used in the circumstances in which human activities pose a risk to adverse impacts to the natural environment. Data collected can assist decision making. MER can monitor biotic and abiotic indicators of the marine environment before, during and after anthropogenic activities to help minimize disruption to coastal marine habitat and communities.

 

Long-term environmental monitoring can be offered to assess coastal anthropogenic impacts.

 

MER has the required expertise and equipment to conduct monitoring studies in the marine environment for the implementation of the Water Framework Directive. Currently only fish farms are monitored while many coastal users (such as power plants, desalination plants, hatchery units, sewage outfalls, ports and harbours) known to induce adverse impacts to the marine environment are yet not monitored at Cyprus. Hopefully this will change in the near future.