Marine Research Findings of the VECTORS Project

This website provides access to the research results of the VECTORS project, which can be used to support marine management decisions, policies and governance as well as future research and investment. VECTORS was a large scale project that brought together more than 200 expert researchers from 16 different countries. It examined the significant changes taking place in European seas, their causes, and the impacts they will have on society.

Publications

All of the publications created as part of the VECTORS project are listed below (latest first).
Please use the search box below to find a publication by title, author(s), year or keyword; the most relevant results will be displayed at the top of the page.

  • Hufnagl, M., M.A. Peck, R.D.M. Nash and M. Dickey-Collas.(in press).Unravelling the Gordian knot! Key processes impacting overwintering larval survival and growth: A North Sea herring case study. Progress in Oceanography. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pocean.2014.04.029 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pocean.2014.04.029
    View abstract Unraveling the key processes affecting marine fish recruitment will ultimately require a combination of field, laboratory and modelling studies. We combined analyzes of long-term (30-year) field data on larval fish abundance, distribution and length, and biophysical model simulations of different levels of complexity to identify processes impacting the survival and growth of autumn- and winter-spawned Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) larvae. Field survey data revealed interannual changes in intensity of utilization of the five major spawning grounds (Orkney/Shetland, Buchan, Banks north, Banks south, and Downs) as well as spatio-temporal variability in the length and abundance of overwintered larvae. The mean length of larvae captured in post-winter surveys was negatively correlated to the proportion of larvae from the southern-most (Downs) winter-spawning component. Furthermore, the mean length of larvae originating from all spawning components has decreased since 1990 suggesting ecosystem-wide changes impacting larval growth potential, most likely due to changes in prey fields. A simple biophysical model assuming temperature-dependent growth and constant mortality underestimated larval growth rates suggesting that larval mortality rates steeply declined with increasing size and/or age during winter as no match with field data could be obtained. In contrast better agreement was found between observed and modelled post-winter abundance for larvae originating from four spawning components when a more complex, physiological-based foraging and growth model was employed using a suite of potential prey field and size-based mortality scenarios. Nonetheless, agreement between field and model-derived estimates was poor for larvae originating from the winter-spawned Downs component. In North Sea herring, the dominant processes impacting larval growth and survival appear to have shifted in time and space highlighting how environmental forcing, ecosystem state and other factors can form a Gordian knot of marine fish recruitment processes. We highlight gaps in process knowledge and recommend specific field, laboratory and modelling studies which, in our opinion, are most likely to unravel the dominant processes and advance predictive capacity of the environmental regulation of recruitment in autumn and winter-spawned fishes in temperate areas such as herring in the North Sea.
  • Maar, M., M.M. Larsen, D. Tørring and J.K. Petersen.(in press). Bioaccumulation of metals (Cd, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn) in suspended cultures of blue mussels exposed to different environmental conditions. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2015.10.010http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272771415301025
    View abstract Farming of suspended mussels is important for generating high protein food and animal feed or for removing nutrients in eutrophic systems. However, the harvested mussels must not be severely contaminated by pollutants posing a potential health risk for the consumers. The present study estimated the bioaccumulation of cadmium, copper, nickel, lead and zinc in suspended blue mussels (Mytilus edulis L.) in the Limfjorden, Denmark, based on observations and modelling. Modelling was used to assess the suitability of suspended blue mussels as animal feed and food products at sea water metal concentrations corresponding to Good Ecological Status (GES) in the European Union Water Framework Directive (WFD) and in future climate change scenarios (higher metal concentrations and higher temperatures). For this purpose, GES is interpreted as good chemical status for the metals using the Environmental Quality Standards (EQS) defined in the WFD priority substance daughter directives. Observations showed that suspended mussels were healthy with respect to metal pollution and generally less polluted than benthic mussels due to the smaller contact with the contaminated sediment. The model results showed that the WFD targets for Cd, Ni and Pb are not protective with respect to marine mussel production and probably should be reduced for marine waters. Climate changes may increase the metal contamination of mussels, but not to any critical level at the relatively unpolluted study sites. In conclusion, WFD targets should be revised to assure that the corresponding body burdens of metals in mussels are below the safety limits according to the EU Directives and the Norwegian classification for animal feed and food production.
  • Muntadas, A., S. de Juan and M. Demestre.(2015). Integrating the provision of ecosystem services and trawl fisheries for the management of the marine environment. Science of the Total Environment 506-507, 594-603. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.11.042 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969714016246
    View abstract The species interaction and their biological traits (BT) determine the function of benthic communities and, hence, the delivery of ecosystem services. Therefore, disturbance of benthic communities by trawling may compromise ecosystem service delivery, including fisheries' catches. In this work, we explore 1) the impact of trawling activities on benthic functional components (after the BTA approach) and 2) how trawling impact may affect the ecosystem services delivered by benthic communities. To this aim, we assessed the provision of ecosystem services by adopting the concept of Ecosystem Service Providers (ESP), i.e. ecological units that perform ecosystem functions that will ultimately deliver ecosystem services. We studied thirteen sites subjected to different levels of fishing effort in the Mediterranean. From a range of environmental variables included in the study, we found ESPs to be mainly affected by fishing effort and grain size. Our results suggested that habitat type has significant effects on the distribution of ESPs and this natural variability influences ESP response to trawling at a specific site. In order to summarize the complex relationships between human uses, ecosystem components and the demand for ecosystem services in trawling grounds, we adapted a DPSIR (Drivers–Pressures–State Change–Impact–Response) framework to the study area, emphasizing the role of society as Drivers of change and actors demanding management Responses. This integrative framework aims to inform managers about the interactions between all the elements involved in the management of trawling grounds, highlighting the need for an integrated approach in order to ensure ecosystem service provision.
  • Maynou, F., A. Sabatés and J. Salat.(2014). Clues from the recent past to assess recruitment of Mediterranean small pelagic fishes under sea warming scenarios. Climatic Change 126(1-2), 175-188. doi:10.1007/s10584-014-1194-0 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10584-014-1194-0
    View abstract Knowledge of the effect of environmental variables on the early life history of fishes is essential to assess the effect of future environmental changes on the recruitment of commercial species. We investigate the effect of sea warming on two small pelagic fishes (Engraulis encrasicolus and Sardinella aurita) in the NW Mediterranean Sea based on the analysis of ichthyoplankton data collected in two surveys of contrasting conditions: the exceptionally warm summer of 2003, which may be indicative of conditions under future climate change scenarios, and the summer of 2004, with temperatures within the climatic average for the period 2000-2012. We use fine-resolution environmental variables measured locally and Generalized Additive Models to assess the influence of environment on these two summer-spawning small pelagic fishes. We show that sea surface temperature is the main environmental factor explaining abundance, but other factors (food availability and water currents) have additional roles tuning the effect of temperature. In the hot summer of 2003 we observed a decline of local egg production of anchovy and an increase of larval advection from the colder Gulf of Lions compared to 2004. Round sardinella spawning was higher in 2003 than in 2004 and extended over a wider area, but larvae viability was compromised by the lower availability of trophic resources. We hypothesize that future changes in environmental forcing on these two co-occurring summer spawning species will determine differential larval survival, with cascading effects on the upper trophic levels which feed on these species, including negative impacts on their fisheries.
  • Maynou, F.(2014). Coviability analysis of Western Mediterranean fisheries under MSY scenarios for 2020. ICES Journal of Marine Science: Journal du Conseil 71(7), 1563-1571. doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsu061http://icesjms.oxfordjournals.org/content/71/7/1563.abstract
    View abstract An ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF) seeks to manage fisheries sustainably, including all dimensions of fisheries: biological, social and economic aspects. The separate management of these aspects may lead to conflicting objectives. Coviability analysis helps us to rank a set of choices (alternative management measures) objectively, allows us to explore which policies will ensure strong sustainability, and formally recognizes the multi-objective nature of fisheries management. The coviability of the main Western Mediterranean Spanish fisheries was examined with a bioeconomic simulation model under alternative management strategies that implement strong fishing mortality reduction policies. Based on a joint (biological and economic) viability assessment, it has been shown that Western Mediterranean fisheries require the reduction of fishing effort to 10% of the 2010 levels. This strong conservation measure would need to be applied as soon as possible in order for European Mediterranean fisheries to be managed at MSY, as required by legally binding international agreements, which may be unrealistic. Large reductions in fishing mortality for stocks that have been subject to high exploitation rates for decades are difficult to achieve with the current paradigm of effort control in the Mediterranean. Instead, reorienting the exploitation of Mediterranean fish stocks with management measures that combine changes in exploitation patterns with seasonal or spatial area closures, should help meet the policy goals of fishing mortality levels compatible with MSY by 2020.
  • Minchin, D. and B. White.(2014). A rapid assessment method for an invasive mollusc in an Irish lake. Management of Biological Invasions 5(1), 63-72. doi:10.3391/mbi.2014.5.1.06http://www.reabic.net/journals/mbi/2014/1/MBI_2014_Minchin_White.pdf
    View abstract A rapid assessment method to evaluate the relative impact of zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha, was undertaken in a 11.5 km2 temperate lake within an Irish drumlin landscape. The lake was divided into three assessment units: the north lake, the south lake and a river section situated downstream of the two lake assessment units. Survey work was conducted as a single survey in September 2011. Following an evaluation of the mussel abundance and distribution range within each assessment unit, the Biological Pollution Level (BPL) was calculated. Additional environmental information was obtained from historical monitoring conducted by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency. The zebra mussel was rated as having a high abundance and distribution range in one lake assessment unit, was absent in the second lake assessment unit, and had a low abundance and distribution range for the river assessment unit. Ninety-three stations were surveyed in two and a half days illustrating a practical approach to monitoring which can meet legislative requirements.
  • Zaiko, A., D. Minchin and S. Olenin.(2014). "The day after tomorrow": anatomy of an ‘r’ strategist aquatic invasion. Aquatic Invasions 9(2), 145-155. doi:10.3391/ai.2014.9.2.03 http://www.aquaticinvasions.net/2014/AI_2014_Zaiko_etal.pdf
    View abstract Invasive alien species, following an arrival, undergo different colonization stages. The full pattern of an invasion is seldom tracked as many studies on invasive processes only take place over a few years. In this study the invasion of the zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha (Pallas, 1771), was followed for more than a ten-year period. It developed an expansion stage with peak abundance (outbreak) four to six years following arrival. Thereafter the population entered an accommodation stage at a lower level of abundance and biomass. This pattern was repeated for two separate lakes on the Shannon River in Ireland. In concert with the biomass at each invasion stage there were changes to the transparency and chlorophyll a levels of lake water. Based on the results of the current study, revision of the terminology of invasion stages is suggested. Providing some additional insight into the invasion process, it can be accorded with existing frameworks and bioinvasion impact assessment approaches. The sequence of invasion stages with corresponding direct (semi-quantitative) and indirect (qualitative) features as well as examples of empirical evidence is presented in this account.
  • Werschkun, B., S. Banerji, O.C. Basurko, M. David, F. Fuhr, S. Gollasch, T. Grummt, M. Haarich, A.N. Jha, S. Kacan, A. Kehrer, J. Linders, E. Mesbahi, D. Pughiuc, S.D. Richardson, B. Schwarz-Schulz, A. Shah, N. Theobald, U. von Gunten, S. Wieck and T. Höfer.(2014). Emerging risks from ballast water treatment: The run-up to the International Ballast Water Management Convention. Chemosphere 112, 256-266. doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2014.03.135 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0045653514005268
    View abstract Uptake and discharge of ballast water by ocean-going ships contribute to the worldwide spread of aquatic invasive species, with negative impacts on the environment, economies, and public health. The International Ballast Water Management Convention aims at a global answer. The agreed standards for ballast water discharge will require ballast water treatment. Systems based on various physical and/or chemical methods were developed for on-board installation and approved by the International Maritime Organization. Most common are combinations of high-performance filters with oxidizing chemicals or UV radiation. A well-known problem of oxidative water treatment is the formation of disinfection by-products, many of which show genotoxicity, carcinogenicity, or other long-term toxicity. In natural biota, genetic damages can affect reproductive success and ultimately impact biodiversity. The future exposure towards chemicals from ballast water treatment can only be estimated, based on land-based testing of treatment systems, mathematical models, and exposure scenarios. Systematic studies on the chemistry of oxidants in seawater are lacking, as are data about the background levels of disinfection by-products in the oceans and strategies for monitoring future developments. The international approval procedure of ballast water treatment systems compares the estimated exposure levels of individual substances with their experimental toxicity. While well established in many substance regulations, this approach is also criticised for its simplification, which may disregard critical aspects such as multiple exposures and long-term sub-lethal effects. Moreover, a truly holistic sustainability assessment would need to take into account factors beyond chemical hazards, e.g. energy consumption, air pollution or waste generation.
  • Diamant, A., S.B.S. Rothman, M. Goren, B.S. Galil, M.B. Yokes, A. Szitenberg and D. Huchon.(2014). Biology of a new xenoma-forming gonadotropic microsporidium in the invasive blotchfin dragonet Callionymus filamentosus. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 109(1), 35-54. doi:10.3354/dao02718 http://www.int-res.com/abstracts/dao/v109/n1/p35-54/
    View abstract A gonadotropic microsporidian parasite, Obruspora papernae gen. et sp. nov. (Microsporidia: Enterocytozoonidae), is described from Callionymus filamentosus (Teleostei: Callionymidae) in the Mediterranean Sea. The host, a Red Sea invasive species which entered the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal, was first collected in the Levant Basin in 1953, whereas its parasite went unobserved until 2008. Analysis of partial small subunit ribosomal gene sequences (SSU rDNA) placed the new species within the Nucleospora, Desmozoon, and Paranucleospora clade, and as it differs from each of them, it is assigned to a new genus. The development of the parasite is described, and the biological mechanisms underlying this parasite-host system are analyzed. Prevalence of infection approached 80% in female samples throughout most of the year. Males showed no signs of infection, but parasite rDNA was detected in male internal organs. The parasite-induced xenomas progressively occupied and eventually replaced much of the ovary, in some cases producing effective castration. Despite high levels of parasite infection, current trawl fishery statistics indicate that the abundance of Mediterranean populations of the host remains high. The parasite impact on the host population dynamics is unclear. Possible effects of the new microsporidian parasite on the reproductive effort of C. filamentosus and the potential role of another parasite, the ectoparasitic copepod Lernanthropus callionymicola, as an additional host in the life cycle of O. papernae, require further investigation.
  • Galil, B.S. and R. Gevili.(2014). Zoobotryon verticillatum (Bryozoa: Ctenostomatida: Vesiculariidae), a new occurrence on the Mediterranean coast of Israel. Marine Biodiversity Records 7, e17. doi:10.1017/S1755267214000086 http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=9191646&fileId=S1755267214000086
    View abstract Zoobotryon verticillatum, a widely dispersed stoloniferous fouling bryozoan, has been recently recorded from specimens collected from the hulls of vessels berthed in an Israeli marina. Though conspicuous and distinctive, it has been rarely recorded in surveys of the bryozoan fauna along the Levant coastline conducted over the past half century. It is suggested the species is native to the Caribbean Sea, and an invasive alien elsewhere, including the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Simons, S.L., R. Döring and A. Temming.(2014). Modelling the spatio-temporal interplay between North Sea saithe (Pollachius virens) and multiple fleet segments for management evaluation. Aquatic Living Resources 27(1), 1-16. doi:10.1051/alr/2014003 http://www.alr-journal.org/articles/alr/abs/2014/01/alr140003/alr140003.html
    View abstract There is growing interest in bio-economic models as tools for understanding pathways of fishery behaviour, in order to assess the impact on natural resources. Based on ‘FishRent’, a modelling approach is presented that integrates economics of the fleet, the impact of fishing on stock development and their spatio-temporal interplay. The simulation of species seasonal movements in combination with both observed values and stochastic recruitment allowed analysing the economic response of fleet segments to changes in stock distribution and development. Optimisation of net profits determines the effort adjustment and spatial allocation of fleet segments, which in turn affects the level of catch rates. Effort tended to concentrate where fish abundance was high, but also where fishing costs were low. In simulations with the current management plan spawning stock of North Sea saithe (Pollachius virens) declined below its precautionary reference point. In response fishing far from home ports became expensive and 40% of the initial effort was shifted to areas closer to home ports, but as areas of high fish concentrations were located by the modelled fleet segments catch rates remained high. Changes in seasonal/annual stock distribution, the stock decline and costs influenced the change in fishing effort distributions leading to overestimated catch per unit of effort values that masked the decline of stock abundance.
  • González-Duarte, M.M., C. Megina and S. Piraino.(2014). Looking for long-term changes in hydroid assemblages (Cnidaria, Hydrozoa) in Alboran Sea (South-Western Mediterranean): a proposal of a monitoring point for the global warming. Helgoland Marine Research 68(4), 511-521. doi:10.1007/s10152-014-0406-3 http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10152-014-0406-3
    View abstract In the last 20–30 years, the temperature of the Mediterranean Sea has increased and global warming is allowing the establishment of tropical-affinity species into more temperate zones. Sessile communities are particularly useful as a baseline for ecological monitoring; however, a lack of historical data series exists for sessile marine organisms without commercial interest. Hydroids are ubiquitous components of the benthic sessile fauna on rocky shores and have been used as bio-indicators of environmental conditions. In this study on the benthic hydroid assemblages of the Chafarinas Islands (Alboran Sea, South-Western Mediterranean), we characterized the hydroid assemblages, identified the bathymetric gradients, and compared them with a previous study carried out in 1991. Hydroid assemblages showed a significant difference both between year and among depths. Furthermore, eight species not present in 1991 were found, including two possible new species and the tropical and subtropical species Sertularia marginata. Due to its strategic position at the entrance of the Mediterranean and the existence of previous data on hydroid assemblages, the Chafarinas Islands are proposed as a possible monitoring point for entrance of Atlantic tropical species into the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Penk, M. and D. Minchin.(2014). Seasonal migration of a glacial relict mysid (Crustacea) into the littoral zone and its co-occurrence with an introduced competitor in Lough Derg (Ireland). Hydrobiologia 726(1), 1-11. doi:10.1007/s10750-013-1744-x http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10750-013-1744-x
    View abstract Temporal migrations by aquatic organisms have important implications for fundamental ecosystem processes and community interactions. Mysid crustaceans, key planktivores and fish prey in aquatic food webs, frequently undertake diurnal vertical migrations, but there are limited reports of horizontal movements. Using seasonal and diurnal field surveys in Lough Derg on the Shannon River (Ireland), we tested the hypotheses that (i) the euryhaline mysid Mysis salemaai expands seasonally its horizontal distribution and that (ii) the diurnal pattern of vertical migration within the shallows overlaps with the introduced mysid Hemimysis anomala. M. salemaai, previously considered an exclusively offshore species, changed its horizontal distribution significantly with seasons, being restricted to ≥8 m in summer and extending to all depths in winter. During winter, the distribution of M. salemaai overlapped with H. anomala in shallows and there was a highly significant overlap in their diurnal emergence in the open water, indicating a strong temporal synchrony of planktonic foraging. The seasonal range expansion of M. salemaai is likely to have important implications for horizontal redistribution of nutrients. Interactions with the sympatric H. anomala are likely, adding to existing physico-chemical pressures on the glacial relict M. salemaai and potentially contributing to its further extirpations.
  • Jones, M.C., S.R. Dye, J.K. Pinnegar, R. Warren and W.W.L. Cheung. (in press). Using scenarios to project the changing profitability of fisheries under climate change. Fish and Fisheries. doi:10.1111/faf.12081 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/faf.12081/abstract;jsessionid=6CD8AD582471EE42BA33D482E936E497.f04t03
    View abstract Over-exploitation and economic underperformance are widespread in the world's fisheries. Global climate change is further affecting the distribution of marine species, raising concern for the persistence of biodiversity and presenting additional challenges to fisheries management. However, few studies have attempted to extend bioclimatic projections to assess the socio-economic impacts of climate-induced range shifts. This study investigates the potential implications of changes in relative environmental suitability and fisheries catch potential on UK fisheries by linking species distribution modelling with cost-benefit analyses. We develop scenarios and apply a multimodel approach to explore the economic sensitivity of UK fisheries and key sources of uncertainty in the modelling procedure. We projected changes in maximum potential catch of key species and the resulting responses in terms of net present value (NPV) over a 45-year period under scenarios of change in fuel price, discount rate and government subsidies. Results suggest that total maximum potential catch will decrease within the UK EEZ by 2050, resulting in a median decrease in NPV of 10%. This value decreases further when trends of fuel price change are extrapolated into the future, becoming negative when capacity-enhancing subsidies are removed. Despite the variation in predictions from alternative models and data input, the direction of change in NPV is robust. This study highlights key factors influencing future profitability of UK fisheries and the importance of enhancing adaptive capacity in UK fisheries.
  • Walker, A.N. and H.-P. Weikard. (in press). Farsightedness, changing stock location and the stability of international fisheries agreements. Environmental and Resource Economics. doi:10.1007/s10640-014-9853-1 http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10640-014-9853-1
    View abstract Changes in stock location may affect the stability of international fisheries agreements. This paper offers a theoretical analysis of the stability of regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs) in a non-cooperative, coalition formation game based on the classic Gordon–Schaefer model. We employ a new stability concept which modifies Farsighted Stability (Chwe, J Econ Theory 63:299–325, 1994). We call this concept farsighted downwards stability (FDS). We also employ the internal stability (IS) concept for comparison. Analytical results regarding FDS for symmetric players without changing stock location show stable Grand Coalitions for n≤4   player games and the possibility for partial cooperation. Sensitivity analysis deals with changing stock location and cost asymmetry. Stability decreases in n  , increases when costs are asymmetric and increases when FDS is employed. Farsighted conjectures on behalf of RFMO members can thus help to maintain cooperation as stock location changes. However, FDS is more sensitive to changes in stock location than IS.
  • Warwick, R.M. and P.J. Somerfield. (in press). Assessing the conservation status of marine habitats: thoughts from a sandflat on the Isles of Scilly. Journal of Sea Research. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1385110114001361
    View abstract Statutory monitoring of the fauna of the "mudflats and sandflats not covered by seawater at low tide" biotope complex on St Martin's Flats, a part of the Isles of Scilly Complex Special Area of Conservation, was undertaken in 2000, 2004 and 2009. The targets set by Natural England for "characteristic biotopes" were that "composite species, abundance and diversity should not deviate significantly froman established baseline, subject to natural change". The three specified biotopes could not be distinguished, and instead three assemblages were subjectively defined based on sediment surface features. There were statistically significant natural changes in diversity and species composition between years, especially in the association initially characterised by the razor-clam Ensis, and possible reasons for this are discussed. It is suggested that setting fixed local limits on natural variability is almost always impractical. Two possible approaches to distinguishing between natural and anthropogenic changes are suggested; a change in ecological condition as indicated by AMBI scores, and a significant change in average taxonomic distinctness (Δ+) compared with expectation. The determination of species biomasses as well as abundances might also open more possibilities for assessment. The practice of setting objectives for a marine Special Area of Conservation (SAC) feature that include the range and number of biotopes cannot be supported, in view of the difficulty in ascribing assemblages to recognised biotopes. A more realistic definition of species assemblages might best be gained from examination of the species that consistently make a substantial contribution to the Bray-Curtis similarity among samples collected from specific sites.
  • Queirós, A.M., J. Bruggeman, N. Stephens, Y. Artioli, M. Butenschön, J.C. Blackford, S. Widdicombe, J.I. Allen and P.J. Somerfield. (in press). Placing biodiversity in ecosystem models without getting loast in translation. Journal of Sea Research. doi:10.1016/j.seares.2014.10.004 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.seares.2014.10.004
    View abstract A key challenge to progressing our understanding of biodiversity's role in the sustenance of ecosystem function is the extrapolation of the results of two decades of dedicated empirical research to regional, global and future landscapes. Ecosystem models provide a platform for this progression, potentially offering a holistic view of ecosystems where, guided by the mechanistic understanding of processes and their connection to the environment and biota, large-scale questions can be investigated. While the benefits of depicting biodiversity in such models are widely recognized, its application is limited by difficulties in the transfer of knowledge from small process oriented ecology into macro-scale modelling. Here, we build on previous work, breaking down key challenges of that knowledge transfer into a tangible framework, highlighting successful strategies that both modelling and ecology communities have developed to better interact with one another. We use a benthic and a pelagic case-study to illustrate how aspects of the links between biodiversity and ecosystem process have been depicted in marine ecosystem models (ERSEM and MIRO), from data, to conceptualisation and model development. We hope that this framework may help future interactions between biodiversity researchers and model developers by highlighting concrete solutions to common problems, and in this way contribute to the advance of the mechanistic understanding of the role of biodiversity in marine (and terrestrial) ecosystems.
  • Reis, S., G. Morris, L.E. Fleming, S. Beck, T. Taylor, M. White, M.H. Depledge, S. Steinle, C.E. Sabel, H. Cowie, F. Hurley, J.M. Dick, R.I. Smith and M. Austen. (In press). Integrating health and environmental impact analysis. Public Health, 1-7. doi:10.1016/j.puhe.2013.07.006 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.puhe.2013.07.006
    View abstract Scientific investigations have progressively refined our understanding of the influence of the environment on human health, and the many adverse impacts that human activities exert on the environment, from the local to the planetary level. Nonetheless, throughout the modern public health era, health has been pursued as though our lives and lifestyles are disconnected from ecosystems and their component organisms. The inadequacy of the societal and public health response to obesity, health inequities, and especially global environmental and climate change now calls for an ecological approach which addresses human activity in all its social, economic and cultural complexity. The new approach must be integral to, and interactive, with the natural environment. We see the continuing failure to truly integrate human health and environmental impact analysis as deeply damaging, and we propose a new conceptual model, the ecosystems-enriched Drivers, Pressures, State, Exposure, Effects, Actions or 'eDPSEEA' model, to address this shortcoming. The model recognizes convergence between the concept of ecosystems services which provides a human health and well-being slant to the value of ecosystems while equally emphasizing the health of the environment, and the growing calls for 'ecological public health' as a response to global environmental concerns now suffusing the discourse in public health. More revolution than evolution, ecological public health will demand new perspectives regarding the interconnections among society, the economy, the environment and our health and well-being. Success must be built on collaborations between the disparate scientific communities of the environmental sciences and public health as well as interactions with social scientists, economists and the legal profession. It will require outreach to political and other stakeholders including a currently largely disengaged general public. The need for an effective and robust science-policy interface has never been more pressing. Conceptual models can facilitate this by providing theoretical frameworks and supporting stakeholder engagement process simplifications for inherently complex situations involving environment and human health and well-being. They can be tools to think with, to engage, to communicate and to help navigate in a sea of complexity. We believe models such as eDPSEEA can help frame many of the issues which have become the challenges of the new public health era and can provide the essential platforms necessary for progress.
  • Fernandes, J.A., L. Santos, T. Vance, D. Smith, J. Bishop, F. Viard, A.M. Queirós, G. Merino, E. Buisman and M. Austen. (in press). Modelling the cost to European shipping of ballast-water treatment and biofouling by non-indigenous species. Environmental Science and Technology. 
    View abstract
  • Elliott, M., A. Borja, A. McQuatters-Gollop, K. Mazik, S. Birchenough, J.H. Andersen, S. Painting and M.A. Peck. (in press). Force majeure: Will climate change affect our ability to attain Good Environmental Status for marine biodiversity? Marine pollution bulletin. doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2015.03.015http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X15001472
    View abstract The EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) requires that Good Environmental Status (GEnS), is achieved for European seas by 2020. These may deviate from GEnS, its 11 Descriptors, targets and baselines, due to endogenic managed pressures (from activities within an area) and externally due to exogenic unmanaged pressures (e.g. climate change). Conceptual models detail the likely or perceived changes expected on marine biodiversity and GEnS Descriptors in the light of climate change. We emphasise that marine management has to accommodate ‘shifting baselines’ caused by climate change particularly during GEnS monitoring, assessment and management and ‘unbounded boundaries’ given the migration and dispersal of highly-mobile species. We suggest climate change may prevent GEnS being met, but Member States may rebut legal challenges by claiming that this is outside its control, force majeure or due to ‘natural causes’ (Article 14 of the MSFD). The analysis is relevant to management of other global seas.
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