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Research and Surveying

Research and surveying are crucial so as to generate a knowledge-base of national biodiversity, such that in turn necessary measures for its protection can be considered. They also aid for the establishment of a sound ecological network of protected areas. 

The Authority’s main contribution towards biodiversity research is in relation to the setting up of biodiversity research and communication policy, rather than to scientific research itself. Through national law it has the obligation to promote research. Indeed, research initiatives have been promoted and supported. Various calls for tenders were issued along the years for the collation of information on threatened, endemic and alien species. Another commissioned study specifically focused on Posidonia oceanica meadows, amongst others.

Furthermore, staff at the Ecosystems Management Unit is involved in selected ad hoc surveys as required, often related to the mapping and assessment of important habitat types and species. Selected surveys include: 

  • mapping of habitat types of European importance (namely in connection with the designation of Natura 2000 sites);
  • mapping of the location and distribution of important trees (namely in connection with the designation of Tree Protection Areas);
  • identification and mapping of algal communities in the medio-littoral zone along the Maltese Islands.

Additionally, research work carried out by local experts throughout the years has greatly aided in collating invaluable information about local biodiversity. The areas of study are various, and include botany, entomology, mammalogy, ornithology, malachology, ichthyology and arachnology. Communication between local experts in such fields and the staff at the Ecosystems Management Unit has positively benefited the knowledge base of the status of biodiversity found in the Maltese Islands and surrounding waters. Since a considerable number of national experts serve as academic staff at the University of Malta, a description of the work that they carry out can be found on the website of the University of Malta. Some of these local experts were involved in the commissioned tenders mentioned above, and/or were involved in the data collation to compile the datasheets and maps in relation to sites selected for inclusion in the Natura 2000 network. The Authority then supports selected research, such as that carried out by students following relevant courses at the University of Malta, including BSc and MSc courses in biology; research includes vegetation surveys, amongst others.



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