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Kane I.O.,University of Versailles | Vanderlinden J.-P.,University of Versailles | Baztan J.,University of Versailles | Touili N.,University of Versailles | Claus S.,Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee
Coastal Engineering | Year: 2014

Risk communication has recently evolved from the design of unidirectional (from scientists to the public) information flow toward a more integrative deliberative procedures (involving scientists, policymakers, stakeholders and the general public) aimed at reconciling diverging social constructs of risk. Furthermore, risk communication is seen now as an activity that is transverse to the risk governance process as a whole. Risk communication is therefore part of the preassessment, appraisal, characterization/evaluation and management phases of risk governance. At the same time the development of risk management Decision Support Systems are increasingly geared at facilitating decision making while taking into account and streamlining all the phases of the risk governance process. These recent trends lead to a redefinition of the role of risk communication in the context of the development of DSS.This paper explores these issues by analysing how risk communication can be integrated into THESEUS's DSS. A first step of this analysis consists of applying grounded theory to analyse stakeholders' perception in three of THESEUS's application settings. We then compare this theorization to the grounded theorization of the foundational model of THESEUS's DSS. The result of this comparison points to diverging, yet not incompatible, paradigmatic views on the nature of coastal risks. These divergences are further analysed through semi-structured interviews with key informants involved in the development of the DSS.Building on these results we develop a communication scheme that should allow a progressive convergence of paradigmatic views occurring through the use of the DSS; we are thus proposing that the DSS in itself be a locus where risk communication as a deliberative practice occurs. In order to achieve this we propose that the cognitive pathways followed by DSS users be proactively designed and involves integrative exchanges between designers, users and policy makers. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. Source

Moore M.N.,Plymouth Marine Laboratory | Moore M.N.,University of Exeter | Moore M.N.,University of Plymouth | Moore M.N.,University of Piemonte Orientale | And 12 more authors.
Microbial Ecology | Year: 2013

The oceans and coastal seas provide mankind with many benefits including food for around a third of the global population, the air that we breathe and our climate system which enables habitation of much of the planet. However, the converse is that generation of natural events (such as hurricanes, severe storms and tsunamis) can have devastating impacts on coastal populations, while pollution of the seas by pathogens and toxic waste can cause illness and death in humans and animals. Harmful effects from biogenic toxins produced by algal blooms (HABs) and from the pathogens associated with microbial pollution are also a health hazard in seafood and from direct contact with water. The overall global burden of human disease caused by sewage pollution of coastal waters has been estimated at 4 million lost person-years annually. Finally, the impacts of all of these issues will be exacerbated by climate change. A holistic systems approach is needed. It must consider whole ecosystems, and their sustainability, such as integrated coastal zone management, is necessary to address the highly interconnected scientific challenges of increased human population pressure, pollution and over-exploitation of food (and other) resources as drivers of adverse ecological, social and economic impacts. There is also an urgent and critical requirement for effective and integrated public health solutions to be developed through the formulation of politically and environmentally meaningful policies. The research community required to address "Oceans & Human Health" in Europe is currently very fragmented, and recognition by policy makers of some of the problems, outlined in the list of challenges above, is limited. Nevertheless, relevant key policy issues for governments worldwide include the reduction of the burden of disease (including the early detection of emerging pathogens and other threats) and improving the quality of the global environment. Failure to effectively address these issues will impact adversely on efforts to alleviate poverty, sustain the availability of environmental goods and services and improve health and social and economic stability; and thus, will impinge on many policy decisions, both nationally and internationally. Knowledge exchange (KE) will be a key element of any ensuing research. KE will facilitate the integration of biological, medical, epidemiological, social and economic disciplines, as well as the emergence of synergies between seemingly unconnected areas of science and socio-economic issues, and will help to leverage knowledge transfer across the European Union (EU) and beyond. An integrated interdisciplinary systems approach is an effective way to bring together the appropriate groups of scientists, social scientists, economists, industry and other stakeholders with the policy formulators in order to address the complexities of interfacial problems in the area of environment and human health. The Marine Board of the European Science Foundation Working Group on "Oceans and Human Health" has been charged with developing a position paper on this topic with a view to identifying the scientific, social and economic challenges and making recommendations to the EU on policy-relevant research and development activities in this arena. This paper includes the background to health-related issues linked to the coastal environment and highlights the main arguments for an ecosystem-based whole systems approach. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York. Source

Vandepitte L.,Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee | Vanhoorne B.,Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee | Kraberg A.,Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research | Anisimova N.,Polar Research Institute of Marine Fisheries And Oceanography | And 56 more authors.
Hydrobiologia | Year: 2010

The general aim of setting up a central database on benthos and plankton was to integrate long-, medium- and short-term datasets on marine biodiversity. Such a database makes it possible to analyse species assemblages and their changes on spatial and temporal scales across Europe. Data collation lasted from early 2007 until August 2008, during which 67 datasets were collected covering three divergent habitats (rocky shores, soft bottoms and the pelagic environment). The database contains a total of 4,525 distinct taxa, 17,117 unique sampling locations and over 45,500 collected samples, representing almost 542,000 distribution records. The database geographically covers the North Sea (221,452 distribution records), the North-East Atlantic (98,796 distribution records) and furthermore the Baltic Sea, the Arctic and the Mediterranean. Data from 1858 to 2008 are presented in the database, with the longest time-series from the Baltic Sea soft bottom benthos. Each delivered dataset was subjected to certain quality control procedures, especially on the level of taxonomy. The standardisation procedure enables pan-European analyses without the hazard of taxonomic artefacts resulting from different determination skills. A case study on rocky shore and pelagic data in different geographical regions shows a general overestimation of biodiversity when making use of data before quality control compared to the same estimations after quality control. These results prove that the contribution of a misspelled name or the use of an obsolete synonym is comparable to the introduction of a rare species, having adverse effects on further diversity calculations. The quality checked data source is now ready to test geographical and temporal hypotheses on a large scale. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010. Source

Costello M.J.,University of Auckland | Claus S.,Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee | Dekeyzer S.,Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee | Vandepitte L.,Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee | And 3 more authors.
PeerJ | Year: 2015

This paper reviews the utility and availability of biological and ecological traits for marine species so as to prioritise the development of a world database on marine species traits. In addition, the 'status' of species for conservation, that is, whether they are introduced or invasive, of fishery or aquaculture interest, harmful, or used as an ecological indicator, were reviewed because these attributes are of particular interest to society. Whereas traits are an enduring characteristic of a species and/or population, a species status may vary geographically and over time. Criteria for selecting traits were that they could be applied to most taxa, were easily available, and their inclusion would result in new research and/or management applications. Numerical traits were favoured over categorical. Habitat was excluded as it can be derived from a selection of these traits. Ten traits were prioritized for inclusion in the most comprehensive open access database on marine species (World Register of Marine Species), namely taxonomic classification, environment, geography, depth, substratum, mobility, skeleton, diet, body size and reproduction. These traits and statuses are being added to the database and new use cases may further subdivide and expand upon them. © 2015 Costello et al. Source

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