Macroalgae experiment

Two sampling campaigns, aiming to assess the tourism impact on marine coastal areas through short-term experiments with macroalgae, were carried out in June (low-tourist season) and August (high-tourist season) 2017 in Cyprus and Sicily (Italy).

In both islands, macroalgae collected from a pristine site were deployed for 3 days within small nylon net bags, in a high-tourist site (Paralimni and Giardini Naxos respectively in Cyprus and Sicily) and in a control site with very low flux of tourists (Cavo Greco and Fondaco Parrino respectively in Cyprus and Sicily).

Macroalgae bags were kept at a depth of ~1-1.5 m from the sea surface to ensure an optimal solar radiation for macroalgae metabolism. Environmental variables were contextually measured through a multimeter probe. At the end of the experiment, macroalgae were collected for further laboratory analysis (δ15N), which are currently in progress.

The results will provide information on the exposure of macroalgae to anthropogenic nutrients and will be used to create maps showing the occurrence and the extent of plumes of nutrients of anthropogenic origin. The approach used may represent an efficient system for seawater quality monitoring in many coastal touristic destinations.