A safety measure for sure, but maybe not for everyone... 

The fragile soles of your feet will certainly be protected from all kinds of cuts and stings, but shoes can turn you into the Attila of the seashores! Never forget that you’re in an environment naturally populated by beings that are more fragile than you are, that are nevertheless vital. You’re never alone! Walking in the water is a very pleasant experience, but even more so when you pay attention to what's happening right under your feet! Whether on the sea or lake shore, close to home or far away, the flora and fauna around shore are present and fragile. It's up to us to ensure their preservation for future generations.

Examples of marine biodiversity essential to the ecosystem 

Respect the marine environment

Overseas flora and fauna 

Did you know that coral has an average annual growth rate of 1 to 2 cm, and that coral reefs are key to worldwide biodiversity - genuine nurseries? They are superb nurseries for the entire ocean ecosystem. It's thanks to coral reefs that you can admire all of those small multicoloured fish, moray eels, shells... They're also the first line of defence against the onslaught of the ocean and its destructive waves. Are you familiar with mangroves? They breathe through very fragile, small tubes that protrude a few centimetres from the ground, known as "pneumatophores". Mangroves look like half-submerged forests at high tide, serving as nurseries as well as a refuge for all of the animals that live there. They also protect shores from the onslaught of waves and therefore from erosion. Finally, did you know that genuine underwater meadows feed a lot of herbivores and shelter many fish and their eggs? They're plants, not algae, and they feed, among other things, the dugongs and green turtles that we all love. Located near the shore, they're very sensitive to human activity.

Our coasts closer to home 

In the Mediterranean, there are Posidonia meadows which are spawning grounds and nurseries for a whole host of fish, as well as important food sources for sea urchins for example. Fragile sea horses can also hide there. All along the water's edge, you'll encounter many animals that you must be careful not to crush: sea urchins, anemones, starfish, shellfish, and even nudibranchs (similar to tiny, multicoloured slugs)...

Fresh water 

Our lakes, rivers and ponds... So many areas full of aquatic life! Here, the reed beds offer shelter for nesting and feeding a whole host of birds, fish, insects and amphibians. Even in small puddles on the riverbanks you can spot a lot of small fish fry or tadpoles that will later give birth to frogs - essential for regulating insect populations. Wildlife is so rich that this is just a glimpse of everything you can discover at your feet (and not under them!). Nature guides and associations are often available wherever you might be on holiday, so don't hesitate to call on them and to turn your excursions into real discoveries of another world. Open your eyes, enjoy, walk safely, but be careful not to trample or damage anything, so that everyone coming after you can enjoy all the things you marvelled at on your summer holiday.

Underwater flora and fauna in fresh water

REMEMBER, ONE CRUSHING FOOT IS AN UNFORTUNATE ACCIDENT; MILLIONS OF FEET CREATE A GENOCIDE! 

Always watch where you're stepping...
Erika, diving sales assistant Decathlon Marseille

Erika 

Diving sales assistant - decathlon marseille - padi open water and subea sub'writer 

"I'm a retail assistant at Decathlon in Marseille and passionate about snorkelling. I also scuba dive and have my PADI Open Water certification. As an active member of the Longitude 181 Nature association, I'm delighted to contribute to this association's efforts to protect our oceans and their flora and fauna."