Research for Sustainable Marine Eco-systems and Biodiversity in a Climate Changed World
FutureMARES is an EU-funded research project examining the relations between climate change, marine biodiversity and ecosystem services. Our activities are designed around three Nature-based Solutions (NBS). Effective Restoration (NBS1) Effective Conservation (NBS2) and Sustainable Harvesting of Marine Resources (NBS3. This project receives funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreemant No 869300
Targeted habitats include seagrasses, salt marshes, mangroves, kelp forests, coral reefs and shellfish reefs, which form natural coastal protection and thereby help to adapt to increased storminess, seal level rise and flood risks resulting from climate change. Expansion of marine vegetated habitats also mitigate climate change by developing carbon sinks, like afforestation.
These targeted habitats also support biodiversity (including commercially important species) by forming key nursery areas, and providing natural refuges and feeding grounds. They also improve seawater quality and clarity, and sustain tourism and cultural activities.
The focus of NBS2 is on effective conservation strategies explicitly considering the range of impacts of climate change 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 biogeo-physical conditions are stable or changing slowly over multiple spatial and temporal scales (i.e. from site-specific marine protected areas to conservation strategies for highly-migratory charismatic megafauna).
NBS3 centers on sustainable harvesting of seafood from fisheries and aquaculture that is flexible, adaptive and managed on a whole ecosystem basis. Addressing the ongoing impacts of climate change requires an ecosystem-based management and a multi-species approach that can adapt to shifts in species' productivity, distribution and interactions. High-level EU policy advisors have highlighted culture and capture at lower trophic levels as critical for sustainable seafood production (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.
Project website: futuremares.eu