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Alain Crivelli of the Pelican Specialist Group is SG coordinator of the month


Area of investigations: wetlands of the Mediterranean (freshwater and brackish) region My main interest is conservation biology with studies on threatened species (bird, fish and amphibians) within the Mediterranean region. I have expertise in colonial waterbirds, freshwater and brackish fish and ecosystem management.

I am currently project leader of the Marble Trout rehabilitation project in Slovenia, and of the Pelican International Research, Management and Conservation programme (I am the chairman of the Pelican Specialist Group of SSC since 1978). The pelican programme is running since 1983 involving scientific studies, implementation of management measures and undertaking conservation actions and public awareness. This programme has been very successful in south-eastern Europe where the number of breeding pairs of Dalmatian pelican has almost double. I am the author or co-author of ca 150 publications in refereed journals. In 1993, I have organized with Dr P. Maitland a workshop entitled "Endemic Freshwater Fishes of the North Mediterranean Region: Status, taxonomy and Conservation". The Proceedings were published in a special issue of Biological Conservation in 1995 which became a landmark for the conservation of fish in the Mediterranean region. In 2004, I got a contract from IUCN to make the Red list of freshwater fishes endemic to the Mediterranean catchment. This work was validated by fish experts of the study area during a workshop in December 2004. More than 250 fish taxa were identified. Conservation issues within the Mediterranean region The main environmental issue within this area in the future years will be the management of freshwater for multiple uses. This issue is suspected to become even more acute due to global warming effects. The exceptional dry and hot summer 2003 is a good example what could be the worse situation for fish and aquatic ecosystems. Already today, rivers, lakes and reservoirs might dry out completely in summer. Water demand for domestic use is increasing, and building of dams, of water diversion are the main answers to this demand. In some areas, in addition, domestic, agricultural and industrial pollution is a real problem. Conservation of fish is far behind in this area in comparison with bird and mammal conservation. The IUCN workshop for the Red list showed how poorly fish species distribution, abundance and ecology are known within the Mediterranean region. Taxonomic issues within the Mediterranean region During the four main glaciations in the Pleistocene, the Mediterranean region acted as a refuge for freshwater fishes, which explains partly the high degree of endemism within this area. Numerous descriptions of new species or subspecies have been published throughout the last two centuries within this Mediterranean region. In our opinion, the taxonomic designations of a large number of species and subspecies are in need of revision, or at least need confirmation. This point has been confirmed during the IUCN workshop for the Red list, especially for the genus Barbatula, Rutilus and in a lesser extent for Cobitis, Knipowitschia, Nemacheilus, Phoxinellus (Paraphoxinus, Pseudophoxinus) and Salmo. Alain wears two hats in the family of Specialist groups -as the global Coordinator of the Pelican Specialist group and as a core member of the newly established Wetlands International / IUCN SSC Freshwater Fish Specialist group [Tunde Ojei]. Alain Crivelli. Station biologique de la Tour du Valat (Private Foundation) , Le Sambuc, 13200 Arles, France. Email: Aaron Jenkins (WI Oceania), Ward Hagemeijer (WI HQ), and Alain Crivelli at the recent inaugural meeting of the WI/IUCN SSC Freshwater Fish SG meeting hosted by North of England Zoological Society, Wetlands International and IUCN WANI in Chester, U.K

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