Tag Archives: marine ecosystems

Advancing Global Ecological Modeling Capabilities to Simulate Future Trajectories of Change in Marine Ecosystem

M. Coll, J. Steenbeek, M. G. Pennion, J. Buszowski, K. Kashner, H. K. Lotze, Y. Rousseau, D. P. Tittensor, C. Walters, R. Watson, V. Christensen, (2020). Frontiers in Marine Science 7, 567877.

marine ecosystems, climate change, fishing, future trajectories, projections,

10.3389/fmars.2020.567877, http://www.ecomarres.com/downloads/globalocean2.pdf

Considerable effort is being deployed to predict the impacts of climate change and anthropogenic activities on the ocean’s biophysical environment, biodiversity, and natural resources to better understand how marine ecosystems and provided services to humans are likely to change and explore alternative pathways and options. We present an updated version of EcoOcean (v2), a spatial-temporal ecosystem modeling complex of the global ocean that spans food-web dynamics from primary producers to top predators. Advancements include an enhanced ability to reproduce spatial-temporal ecosystem dynamics by linking species productivity, distributions, and trophic interactions to the impacts of climate change and worldwide fisheries. The updated modeling platform is used to simulate past and future scenarios of change, where we quantify the impacts of alternative configurations of the ecological model, responses to climate-change scenarios, and the additional impacts of fishing. Climate-change scenarios are obtained from two Earth-System Models (ESMs, GFDL-ESM2M, and IPSL-CMA5-LR) and two contrasting emission pathways (RCPs 2.6 and 8.5) for historical (1950–2005) and future (2006–2100) periods. Standardized ecological indicators and biomasses of selected species groups are used to compare simulations. Results show how future ecological trajectories are sensitive to alternative configurations of EcoOcean, and yield moderate differences when looking at ecological indicators and larger differences for biomasses of species groups. Ecological trajectories are also sensitive to environmental drivers from alternative ESM outputs and RCPs, and show spatial variability and more severe changes when IPSL and RCP 8.5 are used. Under a non-fishing configuration, larger organisms show decreasing trends, while smaller organisms show mixed or increasing results. Fishing intensifies the negative effects predicted by climate change, again stronger under IPSL and RCP 8.5, which results in stronger biomass declines for species already losing under climate change, or dampened positive impacts for those increasing. Several species groups that win under climate change become losers under combined impacts, while only a few (small benthopelagic fish and cephalopods) species are projected to show positive biomass changes under cumulative impacts. EcoOcean v2 can contribute to the quantification of cumulative impact assessments of multiple stressors and of plausible ocean-based solutions to prevent, mitigate and adapt to global change.

Prioritization of the Sustainable Development Goals Drives Opportunities and Risks for a Blue Future

K. L. Nash, J. L. Blythe, C. Cvitanovic, E. A. Fulton, B. S. Halpern, E. J. Milner-Gulland, P. F. E. Addison, G. T. Pecl, R. A. Watson, J. L. Blanchard, (2020). One Earth ONE-EARTH-D-19-00108, 1-13.

Sustainable Development Goals; marine ecosystems; environmental change; human well-being; trade-offs, synergies; blue economy; blue futures

10.1016/j.oneear.2020.01.008, http://www.ecomarres.com/downloads/earth.pdf

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were designed to recognize the fundamental role the biosphere plays in our sustainable future. However, decision-making bodies, from local to international levels, have assigned lowest priority towards Goal 14 (Life Below Water). Here, we analyze policy reports and indicators to explore risks associated with low attainment of Goal 14 for other targets. We show that limited progress towards Goal 14 is likely to affect long-term attainment of social and economic targets. This is particularly the case for countries highly dependent on fisheries or for those developing a blue economy, due to the reliance of the social and economic goals on a healthy ocean in these contexts. To help ensure sustainability is not compromised by environmental degradation we suggest an extension to existing indicator assessments. This approach would provide greater transparency and specificity to decision-makers as they direct actions to attain SDGs.