Programme for Environment and Climate Action (LIFE)

Title: “Deep REef restoration And litter removal in the Mediterranean Sea”
Reference: LIFE21-NAT-IT-LIFE DREAM/101074547Acronym: LIFE21-NAT-IT-LIFE DREAM
Duration: 01/09/2022 – 31/08/2027
Total budget: 5.308.472,89€; EU contribution: 60%Web page:

Marine Deep Reefs (H1170 Habitat Directive; DR hereon) have an exceptional ecological value on a global scale, as they provide key ecosystems services that are necessary for maintaining a healthy ocean and human wellbeing, including CO2 sink and attracting highly diverse fauna. Multiple anthropogenic stressors are jeopardizing these vulnerable ecosystems, including climate change, illegal dumping, wasting practices and fishing operations with bottom contact gears. Despite their importance, DR are poorly understood, and knowledge gaps persist on their ecological traits and on the environmental factors governing these charismatic ecosystem components. Therefore, protecting and restoring DR, and improving our understanding on their ecology, are urgent needs.

LIFE21-NAT-IT-LIFE DREAM transnational project, led by CNR-ISMAR, will contribute to the targets of the 2020 Biodiversity strategy, particularly to the full implementation of the EU nature legislation and the protection and restoration of reef ecosystems and the services they provide. With this aim, a coordinated effort involving Italy, Spain, and Greece, will monitor the status of five areas of important relevance across the Mediterranean Sea, and with focus on mitigate the anthropogenic pressure and promote their protection, recovery, and preservation.

Main lines of actions and expected results:

– Increase knowledge on the distribution and health status of DR across the Mediterranean Sea; and protect them by means of the extension of the Natura 2000 (N2K) network to 2 new deep-sea sites.

– Apply restoration actions (either active or passive) on deep habitats that will extend the surface of the target habitats and provide new substrate for reefs forming species.

– Foster circular economy by engaging local fishing communities in habitat rehabilitation, through collection of marine litter in the areas, and recycle the plastic by transforming it into fuel for marine transport, using a prototype developed in this project.

– Evaluation of the effectiveness of the restoration activities and production of scientific data to enhance the communication with decision-makers and improve natural resources management and governance.

UNIVPM will participate in the LIFE21-NAT-IT-LIFE DREAM Project through two departments, the Department of Life and Environmental Sciences (DiSVA) and the The Department of Management (DiMA).

UNIVPM activities:

–  report on the socio-economic impact.

Life DREAM Consortium:

1. Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche – Istituto di Scienze Marine (CNR/ISMAR) (IT)

2. Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro (IT)

3. Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (EL)

4. Net European Consulting Srls (IT)

5. Enaleia Astiki Mi Kerdoskopiki Etaireia (EL)

6. Università Politecnica delle Marche (IT)

7. Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior De Investigaciones Cientificas (ES)

8. Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II (IT)

9. Regione Puglia (IT)

10. Region of Thessaly (EL)

11. Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn (IT)

12. Federpesca – Federazione Nazionale delle Imprese di Pesca (IT)

DIMA contact person: prof. Mauro Gallegati,