Sea cucumber distribution on different habitats: could be used as bioindicators

Type: 
Master Thesis subject (30 ECTS)
programme: 
EMBC+
Research questions: 1) Are different sea cucumber species inhabiting different habitats? 2) If the same species are present in different habitats, are they in equal density? 3) Is there a size distribution of the sea cucumber species among habitats? 4) Which is the minimum distances among adults of the different species? Are the sea cucumbers territorials? 5) Could be used some sea cucumbers species as bioindicators specially for high organic matter concentration on sediments? Background In the last years many sea cucumber fisheries from Pacific and Indian Oceans have been overexploited. This situation has resulted in catch of new target species from Mediterranean Sea and Northeastern Atlantic Ocean whose fisheries are in the process of development or really working (Gonzalez-Wanguemert et al., 2014; 2015). For example, only in the last year more than 550.000 Kg of sea cucumbers were caught in Turkey (80% H. polii, 10% H. mammata and 10% H. tubulosa). The main problem of these new fisheries is the existence of several sea cucumber species living at the same region with similar external morphology and with scarce information about their life strategies, population dynamics, ecology, reproduction and evolution history. This topic allows to obtain valuable information about ecology and behavior of the different sea cucumber species living in the Mediterranean Sea (Holothuria mammata, H. tubulosa, H. polii, H. sanctori, H. forskali), which could be used to right management of their fisheries and also to future development of aquaculture of these species. Finally we can obtain interesting information about their value as bioindicators of organic matter on sediments.
prerequisites: 
1) dive course is not mandatory but appealing. 2) ability for field work 3)positive attitude
Number of students: 
1
academic year: 
2015-2016
Contact person email: 
contact person first name: 
Mercedes Wanguemert
Institutes Involved: 
Reference Number: RP-35412