Climate Change and Future Marine Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity
Climate change has negative impacts on marine ecosystems, biodiversity and ecosystem services. Which adaptation strategies to climate change using nature based solutions are possible, to reduce the negative impacts on marine ecosystems?
Climate change (CC) has increasing negative impacts on marine ecosystems. Species adapted to warmer waters move north in the southern North Sea, while species adapted to colder waters need to move north. Marine ecosystems buffer changes differently so the conservation of certain ecosystem may assist to reduce negative impacts of climate change.
The overarching goal of FutureMARES is to provide socially and economically viable actions, strategies and Nature-based Solution (NBS) for CC adaptation and mitigation to safeguard future biodiversity, and ecosystem functions, maximising natural capital and its delivery of services from marine and transitional ecosystems.
Our objectives in FutureMARES are especially economic analyses of implementation strategies and cost-benefit-analyses for measures to restore ecosystems.
FutureMARES will improve our understanding of the inter-relations between CC impacts, and how NBS can increase the adaptation and mitigation potential of marine and transitional systems, and strongly contribute to upcoming national-, EU- and global-level reports, policies and interventions.
The following provides a background of eight important methods applied by FutureMARES to achieve its ambitious goals:
The project will especially look at three types of Nature-based Solutions (NBS) to mitigate and adapt to Climate Change in e.g. European waters and other marine and transitional waters.
NBS1: Effective Restoration Strategies of habitat-forming species that can act as ‘climate rescuers’. Targeted habitats include seagrasses, salt marshes, mangroves, kelp forests, coral reefs and shellfish reefs, which can buffer species from negative effects of warming and ocean acidification. These habitats are also key nursery areas supporting biodiversity (including commercially important species), provide natural refuges and feeding grounds, improve seawater quality, reduce coastal erosion and flood risk, function as carbon sinks (regulating climate), and sustain tourism and cultural activities.
NBS2: Effective Conservation Strategies explicitly considering the range of impacts of CC and other hazards on habitat suitability for flora and fauna. Strategies explored include preserving the integrity of food webs and sustaining population connectivity across networks of climate refugia (where biogeophysical conditions are stable or changing slowly22 over multiple spatial and temporal scales (i.e. from site-specific marine protected areas to conservation strategies for highly-migratory charismatic megafauna).
NBS3: Sustainable Harvesting of seafood from fisheries and aquaculture that is flexible, adaptive and managed on a whole ecosystem basis. Ongoing impacts of CC require an ecosystem-based management and multispecies approach23that can adapt to shifts in species’ productivity, distribution and interactions24. High-level EU policy advisors have highlighted culture and capture at lower trophic levels as critical for sustainable seafood production25 (linking with NBS1). Strategies must also account for potential trade-offs among multiple users, economic sectors and the ecosystem services such as cultural heritage for effective Blue Growth linking with spatial planning in NBS2. Therefore, the three NBSs do not act in isolation but rather exert synergetic positive effects.
The main research question for the Thünen-Institute will be the sustainable harvesting of living marine resources in the North Sea taking restoration and conservation strategies into account (e.g. select best suitable habitats to improve preservation of habitats and stocks under climate change impacts).
9.2020 - 8.2024
Project status: ongoing