Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: ENV.2010.2.2.1-1 | Award Amount: 9.65M | Year: 2010
EURO-BASIN is designed to advance our understanding on the variability, potential impacts, and feedbacks of global change and anthropogenic forcing on the structure, function and dynamics of the North Atlantic and associated shelf sea ecosystems as well as the key species influencing carbon sequestering and ecosystem functioning. The ultimate goal of the program is to further our capacity to manage these systems in a sustainable manner following the ecosystem approach. Given the scope and the international significance, EURO-BASIN is part of a multidisciplinary international effort linked with similar activities in the US and Canada. EURO-BASIN focuses on a number of key groups characterizing food web types, e.g. diatoms versus microbial loop players; key species copepods of the genus Calanus; pelagic fish, herring (Clupea harengus), mackerel (Scomber scombrus), blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou) which represent some of the largest fish stocks on the planet; piscivorous pelagic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) and albacore (Thunnus alalunga) all of which serve to structure the ecosystem and thereby influence the flux of carbon from the euphotic zone via the biological carbon pump. In order to establish relationships between these key players, the project identifies and accesses relevant international databases and develops methods to integrate long term observations. These data will be used to perform retrospective analyses on ecosystem and key species/group dynamics, which are augmented by new data from laboratory experiments, mesocosm studies and field programs. These activities serve to advance modelling and predictive capacities based on an ensemble approach where modelling approaches such as size spectrum; mass balance; coupled NPZD; fisheries; and end to end models and as well as ecosystem indicators are combined to develop understanding of the past, present and future dynamics of North Atlantic and shelf sea ecosystems and their living marine resources.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: ENV.2008.2.2.1.3. | Award Amount: 7.40M | Year: 2009
Europes four regional seas (Baltic, Black, Mediterranean and NE Atlantic) have suffered severe environmental degradation due to human pressure. Existing measures to manage pressures have proven inadequate and the EC has responded by proposing a new policy (Maritime Strategy Blue Book) and environmental legislation (Marine Strategy Directive), both currently close to adoption. These instruments rely on the Ecosystem Approach, a management paradigm that encompasses humans and the supporting ecosystem. But the science base for this approach needs strengthening and practical tools must be developed and tested for policy implementation. In particular, criteria for assessing costs and benefits of management actions are poorly developed, particularly in the complex marine environment where multiple uses and management conflicts are common. The KnowSeas consortium will strengthen the science base for managing Europes seas through the practical application of systems thinking. It will work at the two scales envisaged for emergent EU policy: the Regional Sea Scale and Member State Economic Exclusive Zones (EEZs). We have developed a new approach of Decision Space Analysis to investigate mismatches of scale. Knowledge created through the FP6 European Lifestyles and Marine Ecosystems project, augmented with necessary new studies of climate effects, fisheries and maritime industries - in EEZ case studies - will provide a basis for assessing changes to natural systems and their human causes. New research will examine and model economic and social impacts of changes to ecosystem goods and services and costs and benefits of various management options available through existing and proposed policy instruments. Institutional and social analysis will determine conflicts of interest and examine governance as well as stakeholder values and perceptions. Our research will develop and test an assessment toolbox through regional liaison groups and a multisectoral Project Advisory Board.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: BG-08-2014 | Award Amount: 20.65M | Year: 2015
The overarching objective of AtlantOS is to achieve a transition from a loosely-coordinated set of existing ocean observing activities to a sustainable, efficient, and fit-for-purpose Integrated Atlantic Ocean Observing System (IAOOS), by defining requirements and systems design, improving the readiness of observing networks and data systems, and engaging stakeholders around the Atlantic; and leaving a legacy and strengthened contribution to the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) and the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). AtlantOS will fill existing in-situ observing system gaps and will ensure that data are readily accessible and useable. AtlantOS will demonstrate the utility of integrating in-situ and Earth observing satellite based observations towards informing a wide range of sectors using the Copernicus Marine Monitoring Services and the European Marine Observation and Data Network and connect them with similar activities around the Atlantic. AtlantOS will support activities to share, integrate and standardize in-situ observations, reduce the cost by network optimization and deployment of new technologies, and increase the competitiveness of European industries, and particularly of the small and medium enterprises of the marine sector. AtlantOS will promote innovation, documentation and exploitation of innovative observing systems. All AtlantOS work packages will strengthen the trans-Atlantic collaboration, through close interaction with partner institutions from Canada, United States, and the South Atlantic region. AtlantOS will develop a results-oriented dialogue with key stakeholders communities to enable a meaningful exchange between the products and services that IAOOS can deliver and the demands and needs of the stakeholder communities. Finally, AtlantOS will establish a structured dialogue with funding bodies, including the European Commission, USA, Canada and other countries to ensure sustainability and adequate growth of IAOOS.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: Ocean.2010-2 | Award Amount: 16.58M | Year: 2011
Marine life makes a substantial contribution to the economy and society of Europe. VECTORS will elucidate the drivers, pressures and vectors that cause change in marine life, the mechanisms by which they do so, the impacts that they have on ecosystem structures and functioning, and on the economics of associated marine sectors and society. VECTORS will particularly focus on causes and consequences of invasive alien species, outbreak forming species, and changes in fish distribution and productivity. New and existing knowledge and insight will be synthesised and integrated to project changes in marine life, ecosystems and economies under future scenarios for adaptation and mitigation in the light of new technologies, fishing strategies and policy needs. VECTORS will evaluate current forms and mechanisms of marine governance in relation to the vectors of change. Based on its findings, VECTORS will provide solutions and tools for relevant stakeholders and policymakers, to be available for use during the lifetime of the project. The project will address a complex array of interests comprising areas of concern for marine life, biodiversity, sectoral interests, regional seas, and academic disciplines as well as the interests of stakeholders. VECTORS will ensure that the links and interactions between all these areas of interest are explored, explained, modelled and communicated effectively to the relevant stakeholders. The VECTORS consortium is extremely experienced and genuinely multidisciplinary. It includes a mixture of natural scientists with knowledge of socio-economic aspects, and social scientists (environmental economists, policy and governance analysts and environmental law specialists) with interests in natural system functioning. VECTORS is therefore fully equipped to deliver the integrated interdisciplinary research required to achieve its objectives with maximal impact in the arenas of science, policy, management and society.
News Article | November 28, 2016
Wouldn't it be great if we could tell the state of an ecosystem or the like - whether it's healthy or heading for a crisis - by keeping track of just a few key signals? Thanks to the theory of 'tipping points', that's not unthinkable. Now a team of researchers led by Alena Gsell of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) has tested early warning signals: in lakes. In the Early Edition of PNAS online, they conclude that predicting works but not in all cases yet. The term 'tipping point' has become popular to describe sudden and fundamental changes that take place even though exterior conditions haven't changed as radically. Think of a financial crisis. Think of a wall that will fall down - like the Berlin Wall - or one that will end up being built somewhere else just as suddenly. And what's true for human society is also true for ecosystems: in shallow lakes, clear, limpid water may suddenly turn into smelly green soup. Once such a 'regime shift' has occurred, it's difficult or even impossible to get things back to the way they were. But that doesn't mean there are no alarm signals. There is in fact a whole range of statistical indicators that have been proposed as possible early warnings. An international team led by NIOO-researcher Alena Gsell - formerly of the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries in Berlin - has now for the first time tested the potential of four of these indicators to be applied to a wide range of lakes. "We've looked at five lakes for which long-term monitoring data (16-34 years) is available", explains Alena Gsell. One of them is the Veluwemeer in the Netherlands, another Lake Washington in the United States. The good news is that in some cases, early-warning indicators were indeed detected up to several years ahead of the moment when a 'regime shift' would take place. "That leaves some time for water managers to step in and take appropriate measures." These indicators show that the resilience of lake ecosystems becomes less ahead of a regime shift. "It's something you can observe if you know an ecosystem well", says Gsell. Perturbations become bigger: water turns turbid temporarily, smaller zooplankton species are favoured and edible green algae lose ground to the less tasty bluegreens. But on the whole, the team's tests produced many negative results as well. According to Gsell, this mixed outcome shows that the early warning indicators do hold promise as a method, but are not yet as suitable for general application as had been hoped by many. For the early alarm signals to be more effective, argue the researchers, collecting long term data - an essential "window into the past" - isn't the only thing that's important. The methods for mining the data also need to become more advanced. More frequent data collection would help: per day or even hour, instead of per week or less. "If you look at the current state of the environment, investing in the adaptation of indicator methods would definitely be an effort well spent." The NIOO counts more than 300 staff members and students and is one of the largest research institutes of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). The institute specialises in water and land ecology. Since 2011, the institute is located in an innovative and sustainable research building located in Wageningen, the Netherlands. The institute has an impressive research history stretching back 60 years and which spans the entire country and beyond its borders. Article: Evaluating early-warning indicators of critical transitions in natural aquatic ecosystems, Alena Sonia Gsell, Ulrike Scharfenberger, Deniz Özkundakci, Annika Walters, Lars-Anders Hansson, Annette B. G. Janssen, Peeter Nõges, Philip C. Reid, Daniel E. Schindler, Ellen van Donk, Vasilis Dakos & Rita Adrian, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), 23 november 2016 (Early Edition, alvast online voorafgaand aan officiële uitgave in tijdschrift), http://www. Institutions involved: Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (Duitsland); Nederlands Instituut voor Ecologie (NIOO-KNAW); Free University of Berlin (Duitsland); Waikato Regional Council (Nieuw Zeeland); US Geological Survey (VS); Lund University (Zweden); Wageningen University; Estonian University of Life Sciences (Estland); Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science (VK); Plymouth University (VK); Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom (VK); University of Washington (VS); ETH Zürich (Zwitserland)
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: ENV.2007.1.1.3.1. | Award Amount: 9.77M | Year: 2008
The overall goal of the European Project on Ocean Acidification (EPOCA) is to fill the numerous gaps in our understanding of the effects and implications of ocean acidification. EPOCA aims to document the changes in ocean chemistry and biogeography across space and time. Paleo-reconstruction methods will be used on several archives, including foraminifera and deep-sea corals, to determine past variability in ocean chemistry and to tie these to present-day chemical and biological observations. EPOCA will determine the sensitivity of marine organisms, communities and ecosystems to ocean acidification. Molecular to biochemical, physiological and ecological approaches will be combined with laboratory and field-based perturbation experiments to quantify biological responses to ocean acidification, assess the potential for adaptation, and determine the consequences for biogeochemical cycling. Laboratory experiments will focus on key organisms selected on the basis of their ecological, biogeochemical or socio-economic importance. Field studies will be carried out in systems deemed most sensitive to ocean acidification. Results on the chemical, biological and biogeochemical impacts of ocean acidification will be integrated in biogeochemical, sediment and coupled ocean-climate models to better understand and predict the responses of the Earth system to ocean acidification. Special special attention will be paid to the potential feedbacks of the physiological changes in the carbon, nitrogen, sulfur and iron cycles. EPOCA will assess uncertainties, risks and thresholds (tipping points) related to ocean acidification at scales ranging from sub-cellular, to ecosystem and from local to global. It will also assess pathways of CO2 emissions required to avoid these thresholds and describe the state change and the subsequent risk to the marine environment and Earth system should these emissions be exceeded.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: ENV.2007.2.2.1.4. | Award Amount: 8.58M | Year: 2008
MEECE is a scientific research project which aims to use a combination of data synthesis, numerical simulation and targeted experimentation to further our knowledge of how marine ecosystems will respond to combinations of multiple climate change and anthropogenic drivers. With an emphasis on the European Marine Strategy (EMS), MEECE will improve the decision support tools to provide a structured link between management questions and the knowledge base that can help to address those questions. A strong knowledge transfer element will provide an effective means of communication between end-users and scientists.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: ENV.2009.1.1.6.3 | Award Amount: 1.16M | Year: 2010
Although there is no certainty regarding the precise nature and rate of future climate change, even the most moderate scenarios predict a continuing change of the marine environment, with associated major environmental and social impacts. To prepare society for the necessary mitigation and adaptation measures, the awareness of citizens to research results, both certainties and uncertainties, in this specific area should be raised. During the last years, much new information has been gathered in large EU-funded research, but to date this information has not been synthesized nor has it become an important part of public knowledge. The aim of this proposal is to make a synthesis of EU research results on the impacts of climate change on the marine environment and to make this knowledge and its socio-economic consequences better known to European citizens and society at large. Together with expert representatives of major Networks of Excellence, large EU projects and research networks, we will produce a state-of-the-art overview of European research results on the effects of climate change on marine environment. An up-to-date overview of public knowledge and perception on the effects of climate change on marine environments and their socio-economic consequences will be produced by means of polls and questionnaires. The results will be used to identify the main issues to be addressed and the best practices to be used during the outreach activities. Enhancement of public knowledge on climate change impacts on the marine environment, including the socio-economic consequences, will be achieved by means of challenging and innovative tools such as an interactive Pan-European conference at the end of 2010 and a high-quality internet-based portal within an e-learning platform. These outreach activities will build upon recent experience as has been gathered within EU-funded research to communicate with European citizens on impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems.