The "Paulis" Project

 “PAULIS” is the vernacular name of temporary ponds in Sardinia (Italy).

The aim of the project “PAULIS" is to investigate on the biodiversity of Mediterranean Temporary Ponds in Sardinia in order to provide a framework of information for their management at local and regional scales.

The project is supported by the Regione Autonoma della Sardegna - Legge Regionale 7 agosto 2007, n. 7: “promozione della Ricerca Scientifica e dell’innovazione tecnologica in Sardegna” 

In the context of the project an interactive guide to the flora of Mediterranean Temporary ponds was created in collaboration with the University of Trieste.

The Mediterranean temporary ponds

Mediterranean temporary ponds are small bodies of freshwater which are fed almost exclusively by rain, and hence ephemeral and highly dependent on annual rainfall. Under these unstable and unpredictable conditions a unique and highly specialized flora and fauna are developed, that includes many rare species of conservation concern.

The Habitat Directive recognizes them as Habitats of Community Interest, included in the group of freshwater stagnant vegetation with the codes 3120, 3130 and 3170 *. 

In Sardinia, Mediterranean temporary ponds are mainly located in the plateaus and in the lowlands at altitudes ranging from 10 and 1200 m, in bioclimatic conditions which vary from the meso-Mediterranean belt (mean annual temperature: 15°C, annual precipitation: 946 mm) to the temperate-sub-Mediterranean belt (mean annual temperature: 10°C, annual precipitation 1000 mm). They occupy small depressions on hydromorphic soils and on impermeable bedrock with poor drainage (eg. granite). The maximum depth of water varies in relation to the morphology of the substrate, and often it is possible to recognize a zonation of vegetation into three belts: an external belt, an intermediate belt and a central belt. 


The activities of the project “PAULIS" are structured in 4 work packages:

WP1: quantifying and characterizing the taxonomical and functional diversity of vascular plants, bryophytes and aquatic fauna at regional scale:

  • Implementation of a data-base of vascular plants, bryophytes and aquatic fauna
  • Identification of functional types in relationship to the different hydrological regimes

WP2: assessing spatial-temporal variability of the habitat and the related biodiversity and the main drivers of the variability:

  • Mapping of distribution of Mediterranean Temporary ponds currently present in Sardinia
  • Evaluation of temporal dynamic in the last decades
  • Analysis of the distribution of biotic assemblages and identification of the drivers controlling the distribution
  • Monitoring of the inter-annual variability and climatic factors

WP3: analysing soil seed/spore bank:

  • Comparison  between soil/spore seed bank and vegetation 

WP4: providing synthesis results to improve the effectiveness of conservation actions:

  • Cross taxon analysis
  • Gap analysis 
  • IUCN assessment

Staff involved in the project

  • University of Sassari:

Simonetta Bagella – Coordinator

Giovanna Becca, Maria Carmela Caria, Jordi Compte Ciurana, Stefania Pisanu, Elena Pittao 

  • University of Cagliari:

Annalena Cogoni – Coordinator of the research unit

Giorgia Filippino, Giuliano Vaquer

  • University of Girona:

Dani Boix, Stéphanie Gascón