One of the aims of cross-border cooperation in Europe is the joint management of natural risks, especially if it crosses national borders (2006/702/EC). This is definitely the case for the threat posed by the invasive species M. leidyi in the English Channel and the North Sea. A European cooperation concerning monitoring, research and management measures is urgently needed.
The knowledge gaps related to M. leidyi are diverse, i.e. the development of standard protocols for identification and monitoring; investigation of dispersion and distribution; research on physiology, feeding preferences and predation; modeling of potential impacts. This requires expertise in various scientific fields. The involved partners agreed to share their specific competences and available data to pursue a common goal, i.e. to assess the environmental impact of M. leidyi and to formulate advices to minimize its impact in the 2 seas region.
New procedures and analytical methods will be jointly developed and implemented in integrated sampling surveys, data exploration, experiments, mathematical models, reports and international publications. By exchanging and sharing knowledge, technology, staff, funds and infrastructure, this cooperation between partners will significantly increase the cost-efficiency and performance of the proposed research actions, as compared to separate national approaches.
The outreach of the MEMO project will contribute to the sustainable development of the 2 seas region, especially regarding fisheries, tourism and industrial activities. Furthermore, the fact that forces are being joined at the research level will facilitate and promote the joint implementation of possible future management measures.
The MEMO project is based on a high degree of cooperation between the partners, each having expertise in a particular research field. It will give the opportunity to bring together partners with complementary skills, to address scientific issues efficiently and interactively in a way that could not be achieved without cooperation.
The cooperation includes transfer of techniques and expertise through workshops on comb jelly taxonomy, molecular-genetic analysis, habitat and mechanistic ecosystem modeling. In the same vein, standard protocols for sampling, preservation and analysis will be developed by the experts in each field and then shared amongst the partners. It will result in the development of a homogeneous methodology and a shared monitoring of the invasive species M. leidyi, which will provide a highly added value to the project. At the mid-term of the project, a joint survey will be carried out, covering the 2 seas area.
Cooperation will also involve transfer of samples collected during national surveys to the adequate partner specialized in a particular analysis or requiring specific material to achieve the project objectives. Joint incubation experiments on M. leidyi physiology (e.g. growth, feeding, predation) will be carried out in order to test different environmental condition effects (e.g. temperature, salinity) simultaneously.
Cross-border cooperation will be facilitated by regular meetings between the partners, and by short-term visits of scientists to the different partners’ laboratory to fulfill activities of the project. Partners will collaborate through the supervision of Master and PhD students who will realize short-term missions in all partners’ laboratory to ensure collaboration related to their subject of study. Finally, we will share organization and expenses relative communication.