Tromso, Norway
Tromso, Norway

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Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: ENV.2008. | Award Amount: 6.55M | Year: 2009

The broad interdisciplinary consortia assembled in the Arctic Tipping Points (ATP) project will be managed (WP1) to identify the elements of the Arctic marine ecosystem likely to show abrupt changes in response to climate change, and establish the levels of the corresponding climate drivers inducing the regime shift for these tipping elements. ATP will evaluate the consequences of crossing those tipping points, and the associated risks and opportunities for economic activities dependent on the Arctic marine ecosystem. Historical records of Arctic climate change and projections of future changes in Arctic sea climate and ice systems are compiled (WP2), and time series of Arctic ecosystem components analysed using novel statistical tools to detect regime shifts and ecological thresholds and tipping points, and evaluate their sensitivity to climatic forcing (WP3). Experimental manipulations and comparative analyses across broad climatic ranges will be used to detect climatic thresholds and tipping points of Arctic organisms and ecosystems, using genome-wide analyses to develop genomic markers of climate-driven stress useful as early-warning indicators of the proximity of tipping points (WP4). A biological-physical coupled 3 D model will be used to generate future trajectories of Arctic ecosystems under projected climate change scenarios and to identify their consequences for the Arctic ecosystem (WP5). The impacts of abrupt changes in the Arctic ecosystems for activities of strategic importance for the European Arctic and the associated impacts on employment and income will be elucidated, and policies and legislative frameworks to adapt and mitigate these impacts will be analysed (WP 6). The effectiveness of possible alternative, post-Kyoto policies and stabilization targets in avoiding climate-driven thresholds in the Arctic ecosystem will be examined, and the results and projections will be conveyed to policy makers, economic sectors and the public in general (WP7).

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME | Phase: SME-2011-1 | Award Amount: 1.80M | Year: 2012

Turbot (Scophthalmus maximus) is identified as one of the most promising candidates for marine aquaculture in Europe, with several characteristics that make it an interesting species for commercial growers and European consumers. The species has tremendous potential as an aquaculture species but many of its attributes are currently unexploited utilize. European production of turbot has been increasing during the last 20 years from about 100 to over 11000 metric tons. However, in order to expand the production beyond this level, new bio- and technological solutions are urgently needed. The biological and technological focus in the present project will be on improving the rearing environment, optimized slaughter methods and improved fish welfare and quality of the produced products. We also include a comprehensive assessment of the economic ramifications of the proposed optimized rearing. These measures are all aimed at improving productivity of the turbot farms leading to more cost effective production and better use of the resources involved. By addressing the whole value chain it is foreseen that the current proposal may lay the foundation for more cost-effective production of turbot in Europe. The approach of the project is multidisciplinary where the Project Consortium will work with those scientific and practical problems considered most important for future sustainable expansion by the SME proposers. This project brings together a balanced and integrated consortium of fish farmers and scientists, with wide project experience, in a number of interrelated disciplines; growth physiology, immunology/health, welfare, slaughter methods, quality aspects and fish economics; all concentrating on improving the culture of turbot. To increase the general applicability of the MAXIMUS proposal, the innovative slaughter methods will also be tested for sole (Solea solea, S. senegalensis). Sole is a promising European aquaculture species, cultured side-by-side with turbot facing similar technological challenges.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ENV.2012.6.2-3 | Award Amount: 12.05M | Year: 2012

The objectives are to: (i) improve our understanding of human activities impacts (cumulative, synergistic, antagonistic) and variations due to climate change on marine biodiversity, using long-term series (pelagic and benthic). This objective will identify the barriers and bottlenecks (socio-economic and legislative) that prevent the GES being achieved (ii) test the indicators proposed by the EC, and develop new ones for assessment at species, habitats and ecosystems level, for the status classification of marine waters, integrating the indicators into a unified assessment of the biodiversity and the cost-effective implementation of the indicators (i.e. by defining monitoring and assessment strategies). This objective will allow for the adaptive management including (a) strategies & measures, (b) the role of industry and relevant stakeholders (including non-EU countries), and (c) provide an economic assessment of the consequences of the management practices proposed. It will build on the extensive work carried out by the Regional Seas Conventions (RSC) and Water Framework Directive, in which most of the partners have been involved (iii) develop/test/validate innovative integrative modelling tools to further strengthen our understanding of ecosystem and biodiversity changes (space & time); such tools can be used by statutory bodies, SMEs and marine research institutes to monitor biodiversity, applying both empirical and automatic data acquisition. This objective will demonstrate the utility of innovative monitoring systems capable of efficiently providing data on a range of parameters (including those from non-EU countries), used as indicators of GES, and for the integration of the information into a unique assessment The consortium has 23 partners, including 4 SMEs (close to 17% of the requested budget) and 2 non-EU partners (Ukraine & Saudi Arabia). Moreover, an Advisory Board (RSC & scientific international scientists) has been designed,to ensure a good relationship with stakeholders

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME | Phase: SME-1 | Award Amount: 1.50M | Year: 2010

In general, marine fish species have a very short period (a quality window of few hours) when ovulated eggs are of outstanding quality and when fertilization results in high quality embryos and juveniles. Environmental conditions and broodstock tank construction should therefore be conducive to the occurrence of natural spawning, ensuring the collection of embryos of the highest possible quality. Under the correct environmental conditions, the most important of these being temperature and photoperiod regimes, combined with the proper physical surroundings, courtship and mating will take place in populations of captive broodstock. In addition to increasing the quality of the collected eggs, it should also be noted that animal welfare will be significantly improved by replacing stripping with natural spawning - without the use of hormones. Furthermore, it should be noted that some fish species considered to be good candidates for aquaculture are so susceptible to handling that the only feasible method of obtaining embryos will be through natural spawning; two such species are included in the study. While the correct environmental cues will induce natural spawning in captive fish, the physical features of the holding tanks may be manipulated to reduce the negative behavioural traits which may impede courtship. To achieve this end for flatfish, each female will be provided with a breeding nest, a gravel-filled structure, while demersal round-fish species will be held in shallow raceways so broodfish populations can perform schooling behaviour along a high-speed current axis. Both features are expected to facilitate undisturbed courtship. Infra-red cameras will document fish behaviour in the system. The expected improvement of egg quality will be verified through the implementation of different methods and a p

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME | Phase: SME-1 | Award Amount: 1.30M | Year: 2010

In 2005 the total world production of sea bass reached 80,000 tons. The estimated amount of feed used to support this production was 150,000 tons valued at about 100 million. Notwithstanding the increase in production, producers profit margins are squeezed by i) the increase in price of feed ingredients, and ii) the decline/instability of fish prices. Feed costs account for up to 60% of total production costs and inappropriate feeding management can therefore be detrimental to farmers profits. Optimal feed management includes the use of well balanced feeds covering the species nutritional and energy requirements and cost efficient feeding regimes. The large variation amongst generally poor industrial feed conversion ratios (FCR) obtained in European sea bass farming is a clear indication of inappropriate feeding. This project is a joint effort between European aquaculture stakeholders targeting the accurate determination of the basic nutritional requirements of sea bass throughout the production cycle and best practices in feeding regimes and technology in order to achieve a significant reduction in production FCR values. Specifically, the optimum dietary protein and energy levels which are crucial parameters for effective feed formulation will be determined for European sea bass and evaluated on the farm using the latest demand feeding technology. These requirements will be studied in relation to the main influencing biotic and abiotic factors which are fish size, diet composition, feeding level and frequency, water temperature and oxygen levels. The cost efficient use of diets with formulations targeting the specific seasonal and developmental needs of the fish will effectively improve production FCR and have a significant economic benefit for aquaculturists. Optimising feed utilization efficiency, fish growth, health and welfare besides promoting production efficiency and economy will also have a significantly positive environmental impact.

Ji R.,Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution | Jin M.,University of Alaska Fairbanks | Varpe O.,Norwegian Polar Institute | Varpe O.,Akvaplan Niva
Global Change Biology | Year: 2013

Arctic organisms are adapted to the strong seasonality of environmental forcing. A small timing mismatch between biological processes and the environment could potentially have significant consequences for the entire food web. Climate warming causes shrinking ice coverage and earlier ice retreat in the Arctic, which is likely to change the timing of primary production. In this study, we test predictions on the interactions among sea ice phenology and production timing of ice algae and pelagic phytoplankton. We do so using the following (1) a synthesis of available satellite observation data; and (2) the application of a coupled ice-ocean ecosystem model. The data and model results suggest that, over a large portion of the Arctic marginal seas, the timing variability in ice retreat at a specific location has a strong impact on the timing variability in pelagic phytoplankton peaks, but weak or no impact on the timing of ice-algae peaks in those regions. The model predicts latitudinal and regional differences in the timing of ice algae biomass peak (varying from April to May) and the time lags between ice algae and pelagic phytoplankton peaks (varying from 45 to 90 days). The correlation between the time lag and ice retreat is significant in areas where ice retreat has no significant impact on ice-algae peak timing, suggesting that changes in pelagic phytoplankton peak timing control the variability in time lags. Phenological variability in primary production is likely to have consequences for higher trophic levels, particularly for the zooplankton grazers, whose main food source is composed of the dually pulsed algae production of the Arctic. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Cole M.,Plymouth Marine Laboratory | Lindeque P.,Plymouth Marine Laboratory | Halsband C.,Akvaplan Niva | Galloway T.S.,University of Exeter
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2011

Since the mass production of plastics began in the 1940s, microplastic contamination of the marine environment has been a growing problem. Here, a review of the literature has been conducted with the following objectives: (1) to summarise the properties, nomenclature and sources of microplastics; (2) to discuss the routes by which microplastics enter the marine environment; (3) to evaluate the methods by which microplastics are detected in the marine environment; (4) to assess spatial and temporal trends of microplastic abundance; and (5) to discuss the environmental impact of microplastics. Microplastics are both abundant and widespread within the marine environment, found in their highest concentrations along coastlines and within mid-ocean gyres. Ingestion of microplastics has been demonstrated in a range of marine organisms, a process which may facilitate the transfer of chemical additives or hydrophobic waterborne pollutants to biota. We conclude by highlighting key future research areas for scientists and policymakers. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Benthic faunal data is regularly collected worldwide to assess the ecological quality of marine environments. Recently, there has been renewed interest in developing biological indices able to identify environmental status and potential anthropogenic impacts. In this paper we evaluate the performance of a general polychaete/amphipod ratio along the Norwegian continental shelf as an environmental indicator for offshore oil and gas impacts. Two main trends are apparent: first, a contamination gradient is discernible from where production takes place compared to stations 10,000. m away. Second, the quality of the marine environment has improved over time. These results are consistent with monitoring reports employing a combination of uni- and multi-variate statistics. Thus, we consider this ratio as a relatively simple, useful and potentially cost-effective complement to other more demanding assessment techniques. Because of its strong theoretical basis, it may also be useful for detecting ecological change as a result of other activities. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

All 36 known species names belonging to the genus Laonice (including 29 names of valid species) are reviewed. The review was based on the examination of type-specimens for 24 species names. The morphological characters used for taxonomic work on this genus are given in tabular form for all the Laonice species known, some of which are presented for the first time or corrected following the examination of type and non-type material. Refinements to the descriptions and remarks on several species are made. A lectotype is erected for Laonice cirrata. Aricidea alata, L. aperata and L. petersenae are synonymized with L. brevicornis. Two subspecies (L. cirrata postcirrata and L. cirrata praecirrata) are referred to species status and one new species, L. antipoda sp. nov., is described from South Africa. © 2011 Unione Zoologica Italiana.

Halsband C.,Akvaplan Niva | Kurihara H.,University of Ryukyus
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2013

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies involve localized acidification of significant volumes of seawater, inhabited mainly by planktonic species. Knowledge on potential impacts of these techniques on the survival and physiology of zooplankton, and subsequent consequences for ecosystem health in targeted areas, is scarce. The recent literature has a focus on anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, leading to enhanced absorption of CO2 by the oceans and a lowered seawater pH, termed ocean acidification. These studies explore the effects of changes in seawater chemistry, as predicted by climate models for the end of this century, on marine biota. Early studies have used unrealistically severe CO2/pH values in this context, but are relevant for CCS leakage scenarios. Little studied meso- and bathypelagic species of the deep sea may be especially vulnerable, as well as vertically migrating zooplankton, which require significant residence times at great depths as part of their life cycle. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

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