Case Study 2.3: Mediterranean Sea: One System, Many Stressors

The Mediterranean Sea is an invaluable international marine resource in trouble.  Home to an unusually diverse flora and fauna, the Mediterranean is impacted by a wide variety of stressors. In this case study, we’ll focus on three very different threats to the Mediterranean ecosystem: a chemical pollutant (mercury); invasive alien species; and the physical impacts of the changing climate.  We’ll conclude by considering the possibilities and challenges faced by those trying to protect this resource.

Before you start, review some of the Background Materials on the Mediterranean Sea presented here.

Background Materials:

Follow these links to view several videos on the Mediterranean. Note the segment on the bluefin tuna in the National Geographic clip ( and the amazing shots of underwater life at

A web site giving general background on the Mediterranean basin is maintained by the European Commission at

For a brief overview of the challenges facing the Mediterranean, visit

For a more in-depth look at pollution in the Mediterranean basin and how countries are working together to develop coordinated approaches, visit these web sites:

For a brief overview of invasive species in marine ecosystems, view the National Geographic report at

For a more detailed review of this issue, visit IUCN’s comprehensive review at

Textbook References and Links:
Exercise 1:  Mission Blue Global exploration website:

Exercise 8:  Muhling et al. article “Predicting the effects of climate change on bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) spawning habitat in the Gulf of Mexico:

Downloadable data and files:
Exercise 8:  Muhling 2011.pdf