Echinoderms occurence in a strongly contaminated Bay (Portman, Spain), using ROV and Scuba-diving surveys

Sampling event
Latest version published by Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) on Mar 19, 2019 Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)
Publication date:
19 March 2019
CC0 1.0

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Context : The bay of Portman and the adjacent shoreline are exposed to one of the most severe cases of sediments contamination by heavy metals of the whole Mediterranean Sea, due to decades of industrial mining activities which took place in the locality from 1951 to 1991.

This dataset countains fine scale distribution data for echinoderms collected around the bay of Portman (Murcia, Spain) by the Marine biology laboratory (ULB) in October 2013.

The fine scale cartography was realized for both the contamination gradient pattern and the benthic species distribution within the study area. Environmental data are gathered into the Measurement or Facts extension. Most of these data concern heavy metal concentrations (Fe,Cu,Cd,Pb,Zn), for both the total and the finest (particle size <63µm) granulometric fractions of the sediments. Benthic species distribution data are compiled in a DarwinCore archive. The major part of the data are derived from imagery-based identifications on video transects operated with a micro-ROV (VideoRay PRO3 GTO). But it also countains observations made by scuba divers, ad hoc observations, and sampled specimens for the purpose of physiological/ecotoxicological studies.

Data Records

The data in this sampling event resource has been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A), which is a standardized format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 15 records.

2 extension data tables also exist. An extension record supplies extra information about a core record. The number of records in each extension data table is illustrated below.

Event (core)

This IPT archives the data and thus serves as the data repository. The data and resource metadata are available for download in the downloads section. The versions table lists other versions of the resource that have been made publicly available and allows tracking changes made to the resource over time.


The table below shows only published versions of the resource that are publicly accessible.

How to cite

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

Danis B (2016): Echinoderms occurence in a strongly contaminated Bay (Portman, Spain), using ROV and Scuba-diving surveys. v1.5. Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). Dataset/Samplingevent.


Researchers should respect the following rights statement:

The publisher and rights holder of this work is Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). To the extent possible under law, the publisher has waived all rights to these data and has dedicated them to the Public Domain (CC0 1.0). Users may copy, modify, distribute and use the work, including for commercial purposes, without restriction.

GBIF Registration

This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: ec8064cf-81c1-4e99-9c62-b36ac0d0f1a0.  Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by Belgian Biodiversity Platform.


Samplingevent; Portman Bay; Benthic communities; BIOMAR ULB; Marine ecosystems; Ecotoxicology; heavy metals contamination; Remotely Operated Vehicle; Fine scale cartography; Occurrence


Bruno Danis
  • Originator
  • Point Of Contact
Université Libre de Bruxelles
Maxime Coupremanne
  • Point Of Contact
Data Liaison officer
Belgian Biodiversity Platform
22 Avenue de la faculté
5030 Gembloux
Maxime Coupremanne
  • Point Of Contact
Data liaison officer
Belgian Biodiversity Platform
22 Avenue de la faculté
5030 Gembloux
Danis Bruno
  • Principal Investigator
Université Libre de Bruxelles

Geographic Coverage

Portman Bay and adjacent North-Estern shoreline (Approximately 1.4 kilometer section). Only shallows (depth<25 meters) were sampled.

Bounding Coordinates South West [37.58, -0.86], North East [37.59, -0.78]

Taxonomic Coverage

All marine organisms that could be indentified were recorded. Thus the dataset countains different marine phyla. Nevertheless, the sampling methods and identification efforts prioritized echinoderms (Echinodermata) and the majority of the occurrences belongs to this phylum.

Kingdom Animalia (Animals), Plantae (plants)
Phylum Echinodermata (Echinoderms)

Temporal Coverage

Start Date / End Date 2013-10-17 / 2013-10-24

Project Data

The benthic ecosystems of the Portman Bay (Murcia, Spain) and along the adjacent shoreline are exposed to one of the most severe case of sediment contamination by metal of the whole Mediterranean Sea. Although the mining activities that have caused this outstanding contamination have been halted for more than twenty years, the gradient is still strongly marked, reaching extreme levels of contamination in certain points. In october 2013, a team composed of two permanent members of the Marine Biology Laboratory of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB ; Professor Bruno danis as project leader and Philipe Pernet) assisted by three master students carried out a fine scale cartography of both environmental and biological components of the impacted area and the adjacent shoreline. The aim of this campain was to obtain a detailed baseline in order to assess and study the impacts of the sediments contamination on benthic ecosystems, taking the Echinoderms as a model group for the studies.

Title Portmàn Bay : Ecological and Toxicological studies about the impacts of highly contaminated sediments on benthic organisms
Funding Université Libre de Bruxelles ; Marine Biology lab ( Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (
Study Area Description Portman'Bay and the adjacent N-E shoreline (for about 1.4 Km long). From 17 to 24 october 2013.
Design Description The sampling campain was designed in order to assess the influence of the Heavy metals (H.M) contamination level on the echinoderms, considering both physiological and distributional aspects. All the biological aspects studied were related to the contamination gradient through a fine scale cartography of H.M (Fe, Cu, Cd, Pb and Zn) concentration within the sediments. The physiological aspects investigated along the contamination gradient were the intra-coelomic acidity and the symbiotic bacterial communities associated with the digestive tract. Twoo species of sea urchins (Paracentrotus lividus and Arbacia lixula) were used as models for these studies. The distributional patterns were determined for all the echinoderm species encountered within the study area. In a first time, Specimens were collected by dive samling in order to collect the sea urchins needed for the physiological studies, and potentially distinct species that were identified and preserved as references for the video captures analysis. The High definition Video captures were obtained using a micro Remotely operated vehicle (ROV). A standardised procedure was used for each station (Cf. each event) in order to obtain comparable video samples and to optimise the discovery of specimens (more information available into the sampling methods section. A short report of the mission is reachable at :

The personnel involved in the project:

Bruno Danis
  • Principal Investigator
Philippe Pernet
  • Content Provider
Valérie Rossez
  • Content Provider
Andrea Garvetto
  • Content Provider
Coupremanne Maxime
  • Publisher

Sampling Methods

Each sampling station was reached by pneumatic boat (Zodiac MK2 Virage). The first step was to record station relative data ; - WGS84 Coordinates (using a hand GPS Garmin Dakota© 20) - Sea Surface Temperature. In a second time, the following samples were collected by divers ; - 50mL Falcons were filled with sediments, waiting the return to the laboratory for the separation of the finest granulometric fraction (<63µm size) and the H.M content analysis. The metal content analysis methods and results (average of 3 replicates) are detailled in the Measurement Or Facts extension for both the total and the finest fractions. - Water samples for pH and salinity determination. - Specimens : Echinoderms were preserved into ethanol (80%) and stored into the marine biology labs under the collection name 'ULB P'. Each specimen that could belong to a potentially distinct species was collected. The collection was used as a material basis for the identification and as a reference for the imagery based recognition. In another hand, sea urchins (Paracentrotus lividus, Arbacia lixula) and some algae samples were preserved for comparative studies on acid-base physiology and microbial community structures. The last step was the realisation of high resolution video transects, using a micro-ROV (VideoRay pro 3 XE GTO) equipped with an additional HD camera (GOPRO 3 HERO). Straight transects (N,S,E and O) were performed from the georeferenced point to the maximum ROV range (75 meters), respecting a maximum effort of 30 minutes per station.

Study Extent The sampling campain was conducted from the 17 to the 24 october 2013, and each sampling event was performed between 10 am and 5pm. Only shallow water ecosystems were sampled (<25m depth). Two sets of sampling stations were determined in order to describe the contamination gradient patterns (1) within the bay of Portman and (2) along a section of the adjacent North-East shoreline. 1: 7 Stations were determined within the bay. The initial principle was to operate two parallel transects starting from the shoreline (the presumed source of contamination)and heading seaward. 2. 6 others samling stations were placed alongside the shoreline for about 1.4 km long. Only The North-Eastern coast side, following the main current, has been sampled. For the data publication process, new events have been generated to store the ad Hoc observations made during the sampling campain.
Quality Control Some images extracted from the videos recordings and used as a basis for the observation records have been shared on the following web page : The shared pictures only concern uncertain or incomplete identifications and are open to comments (corrections and new observations).

Method step description:

  1. Each video sample has been carefully viewed. Sure identifications were directly recorded in a spreadsheet, and all uncertain observations were previously extracted to the jpeg format using Avidemux software (V2.6.8). Finally, all data were stored into a spatialised database (MySQL), for their verification and their re-organisation under a Darwin Core schema.

Collection Data

Collection Name ULB-P
Specimen preservation methods Alcohol

Additional Metadata

Purpose This pool of samples and video transects constitutes a unique benchmark to address potential future changes, for example in the mining activities of the Bay of Portman.
Alternative Identifiers ec8064cf-81c1-4e99-9c62-b36ac0d0f1a0