Through the 'Interreg V-A Italia-Malta' project "HARMONY", the Physical Oceanography Research Group within the Department of Geosciences recently released a three-minute promotional video on social media to showcase the extensive array of marine scientific surveying work conducted by the group within Maltese waters this summer.
Through project funds, the research group purchased a Remotely-Operated Vehicle (ROV) which it submerged under hundred of meters of sea water, during efforts to map the distribution of coralligenous assemblages within a local Marine Protected Area (MPA) off the North-East coast of Malta.
The Group also participated within SCUBA diving surveys conducted within Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows as well as, within coastal surveys focusing on biogenic reefs known as vermetid trottoirs.
As a result, the HARMONY project collected useful field data relevant to two Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) Descriptors: 2 (Non-Indigenous Species) and 6 (Seafloor Integrity). This was achieved by sampling within three different coastal and marine habitats of high conservation importance within two local MPAs.
The principal investigator at the University of Malta within the HARMONY project is Prof. Alan Deidun, who is assisted on the project by colleagues Dr. Adam Gauci and Dr. Anthony Galea. Staff from the ERA (Environment and Resources Authority) actively participated within the same surveys.
Prof. Deidun, Malta’s first-ever Ocean Ambassador, has a long history of producing audio-visual tools at generating interest in the marine environment, by steering, for example, the production of underwater documentaries featuring the nearshore environment of Filfla, Comino, Mgarr ix-Xini, Dwejra and Rdum Majjiesa, with all 5 productions being available on YouTube.