Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 63, Issue 2, pp 289–311 | Cite as

The Cost of Mediterranean Sea Warming and Acidification: A Choice Experiment Among Scuba Divers at Medes Islands, Spain

  • Luís C. RodriguesEmail author
  • Jeroen C. J. M. van den Bergh
  • Maria L. Loureiro
  • Paulo A. L. D. Nunes
  • Sergio Rossi


A choice experiment is undertaken to elicit preferences of scuba divers in the Marine Protected Area of Medes Islands (Spain). This is the first non-market valuation study of a typical Mediterranean habitat, the Coralligenous, which is characterized by high biodiversity, geomorphologic complexity and iconic species like gorgonians. This habitat is not only very attractive for scuba diving, but is also threatened by climate change and ocean acidification, which is our motivation for undertaking this valuation study. Choice attributes include the number of divers on a diving trip, underwater landscape, presence of jellyfish species, expected state of gorgonians, and price of a dive. Results of multinomial and random parameter logit models indicate a decrease in the attractiveness of Coralligenous areas for scuba diving as a result of both environmental pressures. Estimates of welfare values show that the local extinction of gorgonians had the highest negative effect on utility equivalent to a cost of €60 per dive, followed by abundance of stinging jellyfish with a cost of €26 per dive. Choice probabilities for the selection of different dive experiences indicate the highest rejection rates for the combined sea warming and acidification scenarios.


Choice experiment Coralligenous Gorgonians Jellyfish  Mediterranean Sea Ocean acidification Scuba diving Sea warming 



Climate change


Choice experiment

\(\hbox {CO}_{2}\)

Carbon dioxide


Contingent valuation


European Central Bank


Gross domestic product


Independence of irrelevant alternatives


Identically and independently distributed


Implicit price


Lagrange Multiplier


Likelihood-ratio test


Mediterranean Action Plan


Millennium Ecosystem Assessment


Multinomial logit


Marine Protected Area


Ocean acidification


Regional Activity Center


Random parameter logit


Specially Protected Areas


United Nations Environment Programme


Willingness to accept


Willingness to pay



This study is part of the project “European Mediterranean Sea Acidification in a changing climate” (MedSeA), funded by the European Commission under Framework Program 7 ( The authors would like to thank: Wouter Botzen, Veronica Fuentes, William Greene, Livia Madureira, Kenneth Train, and Patrizia Ziveri for helpful comments and information; Yannick Alan de Icaza Astiz, Annelies Broekman, Stefan Drews, Ardjan Gazheli, Anna Rippoll, Anaid Rosas, Marta García Sierra, and Juliana Subtil for assistance with the field work; and the personnel from the Natural Park of Medes Islands, el Montgrí and el Baix Ter as well as from various diving centres of L’Estarit, for their collaboration in several stages of this study. Maria L. Loureiro thanks the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, Project Number ECO2012-39553-C04-02.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luís C. Rodrigues
    • 1
    • 6
    Email author
  • Jeroen C. J. M. van den Bergh
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
  • Maria L. Loureiro
    • 3
  • Paulo A. L. D. Nunes
    • 4
  • Sergio Rossi
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Environmental Science and TechnologyUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBellaterraSpain
  2. 2.ICREABarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Department of Economic TheoryUniversidade de Santiago de CompostelaA CoruñaSpain
  4. 4.Ecosystem Services Economics Unit, Division of Environmental Policy ImplementationUNEP – United Nations Environment ProgrammeNairobiKenya
  5. 5.Faculty of Economics and Business Administration and Institute for Environmental StudiesVU University AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  6. 6.ENT Environment and ManagementVilanova i la GeltrúSpain

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