by A. Borja

Within DEVOTES, two innovative biodiversity monitoring devices (ARMS: Autonomous Reef Monitoring System, and ASU: Artificial Substrate Unit) for hard-bottom substratum have been deployed in locations across different regional seas (Baltic, Atlantic, Mediterranean, Black Sea and Red Sea: for details, see DEVOTES Newsletter 2, November 2013).

At each location, 9 devices were deployed at 3 different sub-locations. Once collected, these devices will be used to explore benthic colonization on standardized surfaces, which will be evaluated through genomic sequencing. The final purpose of the study is to compare biodiversity and assess connectivity across regional seas.

These devices were deployed in Spring-Summer 2013 and, after one year, they are ready to be recovered and studied. During this time, we were fretting over the results of this experience, as the winter in Europe was very hard, with numerous storms and waves; thus, we thought that the devices could not support the wave energy and be lost. Luckily, they have survived and have been colonized (see examples from the Basque coast in the photographs). We have already started uninstalling them and hope that the information obtained could contribute to a better understanding of biodiversity.
An additional goal of the study is to determine the cost-benefit of these devices and to compare it with that of traditional methods for biodiversity assessment.


Colonization of ARMS (red circles) and ASUs (blue circles) installed in the Basque coast during one year

Video of the recovery

Protocol of the recovery: video with the recovery of ARMS and ASUs and the laboratory work.