Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades Presidencia Española del Consejo de la Unión Europea IEO, CSIC
Personal MORANTA MESQUIDA, Joan

MORANTA MESQUIDA, Joan

Científico Titular

Contact
Address:
Moll de Ponent, s/n.
07015, Palma de Mallorca.
Illes Balears. España.
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Telephone: +34 971 707 923
Fax: +34 971 404 945
http://www.ba.ieo.es
Information:
Biography and Research Interest

I have more than 25 years of research experience in the field of marine biology and ecology. I carried out numerous expeditions in the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, researching ecosystems ranging from coastal to the deep sea.

At the start of my career (1991-1993), I carried out my research at the Marine Biology Laboratory of the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB). Throughout this period, I participated in projects monitoring artificial reefs deployed around the Balearic Islands. The reefs were deployed for protection of the Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadow and enhancement of the associated fish production. The projects revealed novel science because the main ecological function of the reefs, rather than the production of new fish biomass, was attraction of native fish from the adjacent rocky areas, ultimately favouring the local fisheries and potential overfishing.

Part of my research, carried out at the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (CSIC-UIB IMEDEA) (1993-2006), focused on conservation biology and the study of the reserve effect following the creation of marine protected areas. In 1993, we pioneered a study of fish communities associated to the rocky bottoms of the Cabrera Archipelago National Park, created in 1991. The results of this study were paramount for determining the success of the implementation of the National Park for the recovery of fish populations. Subsequently, in 1994 we investigated the communities around the nearby El Toro and Malgrats islands, including their bionomic cartography of the benthic communities and the fish assemblages associated to the rocky bottoms. The findings obtained were used as baseline information to declare both islands as marine protected areas in 2004.

In 2008, already as a researcher at the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO, CSIC) (2006-present), during my one year stay at the School of Ocean Sciences, at Bangor University, UK, I led the proposal to setup of a regional network of sustainable managed areas responsible for the implementation of an Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management in the Mediterranean. Between 2009 and 2013, I led LIFE+ INDEMARES project, undertaking a comprehensive study of the oceanography, biodiversity and habitat mapping of Menorca channel. We used the findings from this project to influence the policy and ultimately include the Menorca channel in the Spanish Natura 2000 Network in 2014 and ban its trawling from 2016. Finally, from 2010 to 2012 I was the Scientific Coordinator of the Coastal and Marine Research Station Jaume Ferrer placed in the Mahón harbour in Menorca.

Throughout my career I have focused on the ecosystem effects of fishing, resulting in a significant number of publications. For instance, in 2005 my research significantly contributed to introducing ban of the bottom trawl fishery in the Mediterranean at depths below 1000 m. The supporting research included information on the depth-related trends of the faunal composition, bathymetric distribution and zonation of the demersal fishes along a continuous transect between depths of 200 and 1800 m. The research also analysed the bathymetric variations in community traits and body size spectra related to within-fauna patterns and described the existence of a fish biomass peak around 1200 m with the presence of large individuals of numerous species. In addition to commercial fisheries, my research on fishing impact also includes recreational fisheries. I contributed to brining into light that in Balearic Islands the amount of biomass exploited by recreational fishers is at least half of that of the commercial fisheries.

I am also interested in the relationship between oceanographic dynamics and ecosystem processes and aim to explain the link between faunal changes, ecosystem oceanography and environmental variability. Specifically, I strive to better understand the interaction between faunal communities and their environments at multiple spatial scales, temporal variations, trophic interactions, life history traits of the species and habitat preferences and distribution of early juvenile fish.

Currently, I am involved in three main research lines in which I will pursue in the coming years:

1. Fish littoral ecology and conservation of coastal ecosystems: the main objectives of this line of research are: i) understanding the factors affecting settlement and post-settlement processes of littoral fishes within nursery habitats; ii) understanding the spatial and temporal distribution patterns of juvenile littoral fishes related to three dimensional habitat structure and protection; iii) improving the knowledge on the relative contribution of the environmental and anthropogenic factors affecting littoral fish populations to better the management and conservation of coastal fish species. Within this line of research, I supervised two PhD and one post-doctoral tesis. In collaboration with Dr Hilmar Hinz (CSIC-UIB IMEDEA), I was co-leading a project entitled "The effect of habitat quality and protection on the behaviour, condition and growth of coastal fish” (PROFISH: 2019-2022-Extension granted-, Ref. PGC2018-096256-B-I00), financed by the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación).

2. Challenges and perspectives to move towards sustainable and inclusive food systems: I am one of the founders of the scientific association Alimentta (https://alimentta.com/), created in 2018 with the aim of creating a think tank for a sustainable food system. Alimentta uses expert knowledge and an interdisciplinary approach adapted to the Mediterranean environment, from low impact farming and fishing systems, healthy diets and public policy. So far, we have published nine reports on these disciplines, four of them related to fisheries. A scientific paper analysing the carbon footprint of the hake supply chain in Spain has been published in the Journal of Cleaner Production. We are currently continuing this line of research by analysing the carbon footprint of the mussel supply chain and the international trade network, including connections to global catches and consumption, for different marine and aquaculture species (e.g. hake, mussel, tuna).

3. Transformative socio-economic actions to halt biodiversity loss and climate change mitigation: perpetual economic growth, necessary to maintain today's capitalist societies, requires a continuous and ever-increasing consumption of materials and energy. This results not only in large amounts of waste and emissions, but also in significant social inequalities and a violation of fundamental human rights. As a result, multiple global environmental problems exist, with our planet profoundly transformed and some planetary boundaries already transgressed. Climate change and biodiversity loss are two of the planetary biophysical limits that we have already crossed. They are therefore two of the greatest ecological challenges facing the society today. With the above in mind, in collaboration with researchers from the Universitat de les Illes Balears, firstly, focussing at local level, we addressed the need for tourism degrowth to favour production and those economic systems which are better for environmental conservation. Subsequently, in two recent studies, we analysed the failure of the global climate and biodiversity agendas. We argue that current policies encourage sustainable development based on economic growth which, in turn, like an oxymoron, is at the root of the planet's deterioration.

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Scopus Author ID: 55974923100

Orcid Code: 0000-0002-9814-0735

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Update in January 2023