Hidden Deserts
Deforestation of the seabed
Algal forests are fundamental ecosystems that provide a refuge and food for many marine species. Various factors such as overfishing, invasive fish and climate change are contributing to their disappearance. Underwater deserts or algae-free zones take their place, leaving exposed rocky areas with barely any production or biodiversity.
Scientific framework
Several institutions are researching the phenomena that cause the transition from an algal forest to an underwater desert. They are also monitoring how algae-free zones evolve and expand in order to prevent their appearance and assess the recovery of underwater forests.
How to get involved
If you dive, you can get involved in monitoring underwater deserts. Locate algae-free zones, take photos and state their location and size. Gather data at different times of year and report the presence of indicator species, such as sea urchins, salpa and rabbitfish.

Explore the map!

If you prefer, you can search for observations

By geographical location.

Scientific team
Jordi Boada
UB - Responsable del proyecto
Teresa Alcoverro
Bernat Hereu
Universitat de Barcelona (UB)
Enric Ballesteros
Scott Bennett
University of Tasmania
Fabio Bulleri
Universita di Pisa
Emma Cebrian
José Carlos Hernández
Universidad de la Laguna
Camila W Fagerli
Simone Farina
Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn
Scott Ling
University of Tasmania
Javier Romero
Universitat de Barcelona
Julia Santana
Adriana Vergès
University of New South Wales
Jana Verdura
Jorge Santamaría
Universitat de Girona
David Casals
Universitat de Barcelona

Would you like to be an observer?