Grantee name: Lucia Rizzo
Sending institution: Institute of Sciences of Food Production – National Research Council of Italy (ISPA – CNR )
Receiving institution: Institute of Environmental Science and Technology – Autonomous University of Barcelona (ICTA – UAB)

Marine Animal Forests (MAFs) encompass some of the most important coastal and marine benthic habitats where numerous sessile suspension feeders like anthozoans, ascidians bivalves, bryozoans, corals, sea pens, sponges, and tube worms occur. Since they raise unique structures and support important ecosystem functions, in the last decades, some MAFs have been the object of international conventions, EU directives, and national policies to address human-induced disturbances. The STSM has allowed to provide a list of protected species occurring in Mediterranean MAFs by screening the main international policies for the protection of coastal and marine fauna. Reporting the status of the MAF species that should be considered in management and conservation measures will be crucial for by policy-makers, as well as for mitigating current and future impacts on these unique marine environments.

Grantee name: Declan Morrissey
Sending institution: University of Galway
Country: Florianopolis – Brazil 

I undertook an STSM in July 2023 to better understand the diversity of deep-sea corals from the South Atlantic, specifically bamboo corals (Family Keratoisididae). During this month, Dr Renata Arantes and I undertook detailed morphological investigations of corals she had collected over the last few years.  Furthermore, we generated sequencing data for these corals. We are both happy to report that the STSM was a success and preliminary data suggests the presence of both new genera and new species. Some species we examined are remarkably similar to colonies observed in the Northeast Atlantic. In addition to the science, Renata showed me around the beautiful Island and welcomed me into her home. She embodies the amazing hospitality I came to know from the Brazilian people. Our work continues as we continue to explore new avenues for future collaborations. 

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Latest Updates

We are pleased to invite you to Inspire - 6th Fortaleza Austral Spring School, an international school organized by the Postgraduate Program in Tropical Marine Sciences (PPGCMT) with the support of AirCentre (The Atlantic International Research Center).
Our COST Action CA20102 MAF-WORLD recently held a training workshop on "Changes in the Marine Biota (MAF) of the Black Sea" in partnership with Karadeniz Technical University. The event took place in Trabzon on September 18, 2023, and lasted four days.
Our Action has been selected and invited to this unique event of experts for the UN Science Summit, organised by the European COST Assocaition and the National Science Foundation (NSF) in New York.
On 25-27th September 2023, SEA-UNICORN COST Action organises a Case Study Workshop on “Marine functional connectivity (MFC) and ecological coherence between the protected areas of the Adriatic and eastern Mediterranean”.
The upcoming edition will be led by Dr. Davide Seveso (University Milano-Bicocca), Prof. Giovanni Strona (Joint Research Center, European Commission, Ispra, Italy) and Prof. Valeriano Parravicini (Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes and CRIOBE, Perpignan, France).
It has been a great beginning for our MAF-WORLD COST Action. After a successful year, we are ready for the second, with some exciting COST Action activity set.