Sensitivity of Coastal Lagoon Ecosystems to Climate and Related Global Changes: Developing a North African Lagoons Network

 Scope and rationale: Lagoon ecosystems in the coastal zone of North Africa represent an important source of fish and shellfish, which provide a  critical economic  resource for the Mediterranean region. Expected warming in the Mediterranean Sea and changes in freshwater and sediment flows as  a result of coastal storms, which  alter bottom sediment dynamics, salinity and oxygen levels, and nutrients, could disrupt the productivity of the trophic  chain and potentially jeopardize food security and  livelihoods in coastal communities that depend on these fisheries. Despite their high ecological and  economic value, North African lagoons have received relatively little  attention, especially with regard to environmental conditions and risks. This  project will provide a quantitative assessment of the biogeochemical budgets of the North  African coastal lagoons and a qualitative assessment of their  sensitivity and adaptability to climate change. In doing so, the project will enhance local stakeholders’  awareness of the potential impacts of climate  change on these environments and of potential adaptation strategies.

For more information please visit the project website: 

Principal Investigator

Prof. SNOUSSI, Maria, University Mohamed V, MOROCCO

Professor Snoussi is the Head of the Coastal Environments & Climate Change Research Group at University Mohammed V-Agdal in Morocco. She is a Water team leader for the scientific board of the International Geological Correlation Programme at UNESCO and the Coastal Ecohydrology team leader for the Flow Regimes from International Experimental and Network Data program at UNESCO. With a background in coastal geology, she will investigate the biogeochemical budgets of Moroccan coastal lagoons to assess their vulnerability and adaptability to climate change.


Prof. KARA, Hichem, University of Annaba, ALGERIA

Dr. Kara teaches and is the head of the Marine Bioresources Lab at the University of Annaba in Algeria. He will rely on 20 years of post-Doctoral experience in marine biology to establish biochemical budgets of lagoons in Northern Africa and assess the vulnerability of their fish and shellfish populations to climate change. He will analyze the corresponding impacts on community adaptation strategies to food security risks in the region.


Dr. TRIGUI EL MENIF, Université 7 novembre à Carthage, TUNISIA

Dr. Trigui is a Professor of Marine Biology in the Faculty of Sciences of Bizerte at the University of 7th November, Tunisia. In this research project, he will study environmental, biogeochemical and socioeconomic parameters for three lagoons in Tunisia and analyse the impacts of human activities and climate change on these ecosystems.



Dr. MAHE, Gil, IRD/ HydroSciences Montpellier, FRANCE

Dr. MAHÉ is a Research Director at the Research Institute for Development (IRD, formerly ORSTOM). He serves in the Joint Research Unit of HydroSciences in Montpellier, France and has a temporary teaching position at the University Mohamed V in Morocco. He is the General Coordinator of the MEDFRIEND program and head of the SIGMED program on GIS and sediment transport in Morocco and Algeria. He will collect hydrological data in Moroccan lagoons to evaluate the impact of climate and human-induced ecosystem change.


Mr. BOYER, IRD/ Engineer Montpellier, FRANCE

Mr. BOYER is an engineer in Information Systems at the Institute of Research for Development and serves in the Joint Research Unit on HydroSciences in France. He is the UNESCO Database Expert for the Flow Regimes from International Experimental and Network Data (FRIEND) program; a Hydrological Cycle Observing System project expert for the World Meteorological Organization; the Head of the Databases and Information Systems at the HydroSciences research unit; and Manager of the Environmental Information System on Water Resources and Modeling project. For this research project, he will be responsible for building a database on North Mediterranean lagoons that will support community planning for global environmental changes.


Ms. Newton, Alice, NILU/ Chemistry and Biochemistry Kjeller, NORWAY

Ms. Newton is senior scientist at the Centre of Ecology and Economics at the Norwegian Institute for Air Research in Norway and a professor in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Departments at the University of Algarve in Portugal. She serves as the LOICZ/ International Geosphere Biosphere Program Chair and is the coordinator of the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master program on Integrated River Basin Management and Integrated Coastal Zone Management. She received a graduate degree in Oceanography from the University of Wales in England. She will generate models that focus on the biogeochemical budgets of coastal ecosystems on the northern coast of Africa, which will contribute to project recommendations for land-use and coastal zone development.

Last Updated on September 4th, 2012