This new open-access PRIDE research on Pontocaspian social networks can be found in the journal of bioRxiv
Social network analysis and the implications for Pontocaspian biodiversity conservation in Romania and Ukraine: A comparative study
by Aleksandre Gogaladze, Niels Raes, Koos Biesmeijer, Camelia Ionescu, Bianca Pavel, Mikhail O. Son, Natalia Gozak, Vitaliy Anistratenko and Frank P. Wesselingh
ABSTRACTRomania and Ukraine share the Black Sea coastline, the Danube Delta and associated habitats, which harbor the unique Pontocaspian biodiversity. Pontocaspian biota represents endemic aquatic taxa adapted to the brackish (anomalohaline) conditions, which evolved in the Caspian and Black Sea basins. Currently, this biota is diminishing both in the numbers of species and their abundance because of human activities. Consequently, its future persistence strongly depends on the adequacy of conservation measures. Romania and Ukraine have a common responsibility to effectively address the conservation of this biota. The socio-political and legal conservation frameworks, however, differ in the two countries - Romania is a member of the European Union (EU), thus complying with the EU environmental policy, whereas Ukraine is an EU-associated country. This may result in differences in the social network structure of stakeholder institutions with different implications for Pontocaspian biodiversity conservation. Here, we study the structure and implications of the social network of stakeholder organizations involved in conservation of Pontocaspian biodiversity in Romania, and compare it to Ukraine. We apply a mix of qualitative and quantitative social network analysis methods to combine the content and context of the interactions with relational measures. We show that the social networks of stakeholder organizations in Romania and Ukraine are very different. Structurally, in Romanian network there is a room for improvement through e.g. more involvement of governmental and non-governmental organizations and increased motivation of central stakeholders to initiate conservation action, whereas Ukrainian network is close to optimal. Regardless, both networks translate into sub-optimal conservation action and the road to optimal conservation is different. We end with sketching implications and recommendations for improved national and cross-border conservation efforts.
The open-access article can be found here