Sei qui: HomeRicercaProgrammi e Progetti di ricercaProgetti InternazionaliMPA Engage: Engaging Mediterranean key actors in Ecosystem Approach to manage Marine Protected Areas to face Climate Change



Climate change is dramatically affecting the Mediterranean Sea, which is warming at a rate 20% faster than the world’s average. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), despite the nature-based solution they offer to support efforts towards climate change adaptation and mitigation, are the first ones to feel the climate change effects. Several Mediterranean MPAs are already facing major biodiversity and functional alterations due to climate change, whereas others will likely face them in the next few decades. There is, therefore, an urgency to mitigate these risks and consider adaptation options in partnership with local communities; decision-makers at local, national, and regional level; civil society, civil society organizations; research bodies and other socio-economic actors.
MPA Engage, led by the Institute of Marine Sciences of the Spanish National Research Council, has the main goal to put Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas in the frontline for adaptation to Climate Change. To do this, the project will support Mediterranean MPAs to adapt to and mitigate the ongoing climate change effects in the Mediterranean Sea. Through a participatory approach, the project will monitor in a harmonized way the climate change impacts, will elaborate vulnerability assessments and will develop climate change adaptation action plans in 7 Marine Protected Areas located in 6 Mediterranean countries, namely Albania, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Spain

What we do

Our main lines of action are:

• Engaging local communities, small-scale fishermen and citizen scientists in monitoring climate change impacts
• Promoting MPAs as nature-based solutions for climate change adaptation
• Facilitating a Mediterranean policy dialogue with scientists, MPA managers, decision-makers, environmental NGOs and socio-economic stakeholders on climate change adaptation strategies.

The project will provide a framework for guiding regional adaptation and mitigation actions on climate change.


The project involves:

7 Marine Protected Areas

Portofino MPA (Italy)
Calanques National Park (France)
Brijuni National Park (Croatia)
Zakynthos National Marine Park (Greece)
Karaburun-Sazan National Marine Park (Albania)
Tavolara MPA - Punta Coda Cavallo (Italy)
Cap de Creus Natural Park (Spain)

4 Research Institutions

Spanish Research Council (LP) (Spain)
Zoological Station of Anton Dohrn of Naples (Italy)
Polytechnic University of Marche (Italy)
University of Vigo –Future Oceans Lab (Spain)

2 Regional Administrations

Department of Territory and Sustainability of the Government of Catalonia (Spain)
Regional Government of Liguria (Italy)

2 Non-Governmental Organizations

Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development (MIO-ECSDE)
DAN Diving Alert Network Foundation

30+ Associated Partners clustered in 3 groups

MPA4Change: MPAs interested in developing Climate Change adaptation plans
Science4Change: Scientists contributing to the development and validation of harmonized approaches
Med4Change: Mediterranean policy actors ensuring that the project outputs are coherent, policy relevant and mainstreamed into related policy processes.

Research Area

Conservation biology, testing and capitalizing

Project Lifetime

11/2019 to 06/2022

SZN Role

Partner responsible of the Work Packages 2 (Communication) and 3 (Testing)

Principal Investigator

Ernesto Azzurro senior researcher at IRBIM-CNR, affiliated to SZN

Funding Institution

Interreg MED programme, 85% co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (Grant number: 5216 | 5MED18_3.2_M23_007)

Contribution to SZN

285 813.95 €

Dedicated website



D’Amen, M., & Azzurro, E. (2020). Lessepsian fish invasion in Mediterranean marine protected areas: a risk assessment under climate change scenarios. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 77(1), 388-397.
D’Amen, M. and Azzurro, E., 2020. Integrating univariate niche dynamics in species distribution models: A step forward for marine research on biological invasions. Journal of Biogeography, 47(3), pp.686-697.
Azzurro E, Sbragaglia V, Cerri J, Bariche M, Bolognini L, Ben Souissi J, Busoni G, Coco S, Chryssanthi A, Fanelli E, Ghanem R. Climate change, biological invasions, and the shifting distribution of Mediterranean fishes: A large‐scale survey based on local ecological knowledge. Global change biology. 2019 Aug;25(8):2779-92.

Meet the team

Ernesto Azzurro senior researcher at IRBIM-CNR, affiliated to SZN
Francesco Colloca Senior researcher
Antonio Di Franco Researcher
Manuela D’Amen Post-doc
Sonia Smeraldo Post-doc
Giulio Franzitta Technician
Marco Signore Webmaster support

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