What is Vibrio Sea Project

Vibrio project is a satellite application for monitoring of environmental factors influencing vibrios concentration in seawaters.

The objectives of Vibrio Sea Project are :

- To study emergence and spread of waterborne diseases (WBD) in a changing climate scenario and within the Mediterranean area. To set up predictive and preventive measures to avoid disease outbreaks. The specific environmental/climatic factors influencing distribution, concentration and persistence of pathogenic vibrios, including V. cholerae, Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Vibrio vulnificus, in the Mediterranean Sea coastal areas, are now being analyzed.
These parameters can be monitored from space using large satellites coverage .
The establishment of clear correlations between specific parameters and quantity and distribution of Vibrios would be the basis for early warning system for vibrios-related health risks. The EWS would be used to alert, within period compatible with the preparation of an adequate response of European public health institutions (European-CDC, European Union network for the epidemiological surveillance and control of communicable diseases, designated authorities in Member States among others) for the risk management of environment-related disease caused by vibrios.

The main goals of the project are (in its first phase) :

- To create a network of coastal stations/sites acquiring environmental, climatic, clinical/epidemiological and microbiological data from a number of selected marine sites in different Mediterranean areas located in France, Italy, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria.

- To look for correlations between environmental parameters measured in situ and by remote sensing.

To develop adequate and specific algorithms establish relationship between
- environmental and climatic parameters and presence, quantity and quality of Vibrios bacterial cells in water, plankton, sediments and seafood.

- To set up a database repository and a metadata catalogue open to the partners of the project and later to other scientists

In a second phase of the project the possibility of setting up a satellite-based EWS receiving data in real-time or near-real-time from all the sites of the network and processing/managing them will be examined. The validated EWS will serve to alert adequate European public health institution on vibrios-related disease risks due to climatic/environmental changes and to prepare a waterborne disease outbreak modelling for the Mediterranean area.



- Monitoring key environmental/climatic parameters by in situ methods
- To determine concentration and distribution of vibrios in water, sediments, plankton, and shellfishes from at risk and not-at-risk areas
- To Establish a relationship between environmental/climatic parameters and concentration and distribution of vibrios in water, plankton and shellfishes.
- To perform Taxonomical and serological characterization of the isolated vibrios
- To study epidemiology of the vibrios species and serotypes isolated from Mediterranean marine environment
- To analyze the virulence potential of the isolated vibrios (?)


1. In each area at risk and each area not-at-risk satellites will monitor sea surface temperature (SST), sea surface height (SSH), chlorophill A concentration, ocean colour,.....
2. In each area parameters will be monitored 1/2 times/month using in situ methods
3. To analyze the correspondence between the values of environmental parameters measured in situ and by satellites. Use and/or create algorithms
4. Select in each area 6 sampling sites and monthly/bi-monthly obtain samples of water, sediment, plankton and shellfishes
5. To obtain samples when unexpected alterations in environmental/climatic factors are detected by satellites (heat waves, intensive raining, ...)
6. Isolation and quantification of vibrios contained in each sample using culture and molecular methods
7. Identification of the Vibrios species isolated by biochemical methods and/or PCR. Variations in the vibrios species distribution in relation with environmental/climatic variations : relative abundance and distribution
8. Serotipization of V. cholerae, V. vulnificus and V. parahaemolyticus. Distribution of the species and serotypes in areas and matrices (water, plankton, sediment, shellfish)
9. Search for the presence of virulence genes in vibrios species by PCR


- Evolution of physico-chemical parameters in sampling sites over the duration of the project
- Abundance and distribution of vibrios in water, sediment, adhered to plankton and in shellfish in each sampling site
- Correlation between evolution of key environmental/climatic parameters and vibrios abundance /distribution patterns
- Most frequent vibrios species and serotypes isolated
- Distribution of vibrios species and serotypes in the different studied areas at risk
- Incidence of virulence genes in marine vibrios in the areas at risk