The Lobster Palinurus elephas is the most appreciated lobster species in the Northeast Atlantic and the Mediterranean (Photo: IEO)
Annual study of red lobster behaviour in Columbretes ends
Tuesday, October 08, 2019, 09:40 (GMT + 9)
The Balearic Oceanographic Center of the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) has successfully completed the second 2019 scientific survey carried out in the marine reserve
A team of six researchers from the IEO Balearic Oceanographic Center concluded the sixth cruise of the MAREMATING project, whose objective is the study of the ecology and behavior of the red lobster in waters of the Marine Reserve of the Columbretes Islands.
For nine days, between August 13 and 23, the scientific team set ight primed video structures to learn about the behavior processes of the red lobster, Palinurus elephas, with special emphasis on competition between males in conditions of high density of individuals. These conditions are within the Marine Reserve of the Columbretes Islands, a marine reserve of fishing interest coordinated by the General Directorate of Fisheries Resources of the General Secretariat of Fisheries of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment (MAPA).
In this cruise, video priming methodologies are used that are calibrated by means of scuba diving, areas are usually sampled up to a depth of 40 meters, but occasionally it is sampled up to 75 meters deep. In addition, in this second study of 2019 specific dives were made to determine the red lobster settlement index, sampling in rocky areas the annual arrival of post-puerulus specimens, first benthic phase of the red lobster between 8 and 18 millimeters in length of cephalothorax.
The oceanographic survey, carried out on board the resarch vessel BIC Socib, is part of the Competition for mating at high density in a marine reserve project, acronym MAREMATING, a 4-year research project (2017-2020) funded by the 2016 call of the State R&D&I Program oriented to the challenges of society (CTM2016-77027-R), and led by the research team of the RESMARIEO group of the IEO's Oceanographic Center of the Balearic Islands.
The main objective of this project is to investigate the processes of intrasexual selection under conditions of high population density. In many lobstere species, movements and competitive behaviors linked to size or sex have been observed. These interactions are increased by increasing density, as in marine protected areas (MPAs), which boosts their responses to protection and competition processes.
The existence of the Columbretes Islands marine reserve, a protected marine area that is more than 25 years old, offers an exceptional opportunity to shed light on competitive processes that do not exist for any other species or MPAs in Spain.