Navigation Links
Meeting the eye-witnesses of ocean change

Members of the German research network BIOACID (Biological Impacts of Ocean Acidification) are developing a model that links ecosystem changes triggered by ocean acidification and climate change with their economic and societal consequences. Workshops and interviews with stakeholders from the Norwegian fishing industry and tourism sector, the government and environmental organisations help them to identify key aspects for their assessment.

During the past ten years, scientists have learned a lot about the effects of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems. It has become obvious that with rising carbon dioxide emissions from human activities, oceans absorb larger amounts of this greenhouse gas and become more acidic. The increase of acidity, rising water temperatures and other stressors may alter marine ecosystems dramatically with consequences for economy and society.

Do stakeholders of the economic sectors which depend on the sea already observe signs of ocean change? Which are their most urgent questions towards science? Within the framework of the German research network BIOACID (Biological Impacts of Ocean Acidification), scientists from the University of Bremen investigated stakeholders' state of knowledge and identified focal points for further research. Between March and November 2013, they held workshops and interviewed more than 30 Norwegian fishers, representatives from fishing associations, aquaculture, tourism, environmental organisations and governmental agencies. They aim to develop a model that yields insights into the overall impacts of ocean change for ecosystems and the services they provide to human societies.

"Taking a systems view can help to analyse socio-economic impacts of ocean acidification and find ways to mitigate them and adapt to them", Dr. Stefan Gling-Reisemann, researcher at the Sustainability Research Center (artec) at the University of Bremen explains. "This is why we connect stakeholders and scientists and adapt further research to the demands of society." Norway was chosen because the fishing industry, a branch that is likely to be hit first by effects of climate change, plays a very important economic role there. Also, tourism is strongly connected to coastal regions and fjords. The analysis of this region, for which earth system models predict early impacts of ocean acidification and warming, can serve as an example for other social-ecological systems.

Obvious effects of climate change are already perceived by the stakeholders in the northward range shifts of cod and mackerel stocks and the immigration of sardines into Norwegian waters. Fishers also noticed variations of timing and location of spawning. "It was impressive to see how much knowledge fishers have about ecological links and changes", Stefan Koenigstein, marine biologist in the research project points out. "Based on their experience, fishers wondered if future changes in the ecosystem will be abrupt or if there will be time to adapt. These are exactly the questions that the scientists in the field are concerned with. People who are actually affected by the changes in their livelihoods can contribute a lot with their first-hand experience and should be taken along in the research process."

To prepare properly for future conditions, fishing associations asked for an assessment that incorporates dynamics of different life stages and the availability of food for commercial species. "Because of the complexity of marine food webs, questions were posed on how interactions between species would change, what would happen if key species were impacted and what chain reactions might happen", Koenigstein summarizes.

Changes in fish stocks would also have dramatic socio-economic impacts, the scientists conclude from their interviews. The number of fishers has steadily been reduced to keep up the fisheries' productivity this step might be taken again to cope with shrinking or moving stocks. In Northern Norway, where fishery is a coastal activity, most boats are too small to follow stocks if they move from coastal waters to the open sea. "Especially in remote regions, alternatives to earn a living are very limited", Koenigstein explains. "Also, fishing is important for the coastal Sami culture that is still vivid in the far North of the country, but in many fjords, fish stocks have disappeared. To these people, losing this aspect of their lives means losing part of their identity."

With its coastline, islands and fjords, with game fishing as an important recreational activity both for locals and guests and with busy whale watching companies, Norway benefits strongly from the sea in its tourism sector. A decrease of biodiversity was regarded as major threat.

After their survey, the scientists took a lot of homework back to their offices. "Our analysis yielded much insight on the connections and interactions between the ecosystem, economy and society", Dr. Gling-Reisemann concludes. The researchers are now busy incorporating as many as possible of the elements identified through this study into their model, which aims to explain mechanisms and uncertainties, identify critical parameters and explore possible futures and adaptation strategies. "In any case, we have already learned a lot from the people that are in contact with the oceans every day."


Contact: Maike Nicolai
Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR)

Related biology news :

1. Bed bugs, stink bugs headline Entomology Meeting in Hartford, Conn.
2. MARC travel award announced for the 2012 ASCI/AAP Joint Meeting
3. GSA North-Central Section Meeting: Change through Time
4. Registration open for the Ecological Society of Americas 2012 Annual Meeting in Portland, Ore.
5. 2012 ARVO Award recipients honored at annual meeting
6. Second Middle East & Africa Osteoporosis Meeting to take place in Jordan
7. DOE Plasma Science Center Annual Meeting at Princeton Plasma Lab
8. 6th Annual Canadian Neuroscience Meeting, Vancouver, May 20-23, 2012
9. European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology 28th Annual Meeting -- Istanbul
10. Major osteoporosis meeting opens in São Paulo
11. John Theurer Cancer Center presents significant blood cancer research at 2012 ASCO Annual Meeting
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/3/2016)... , June 3, 2016 ... Management) von Nepal ... und Lieferung hochsicherer geprägter Kennzeichen, einschließlich Personalisierung, ... führend in der Produktion und Implementierung von ... der Ausschreibung im Januar teilgenommen, aber Decatur ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... June 2, 2016 Perimeter Surveillance ... Unmanned Systems, Physical Infrastructure, Support & Other Service  ... visiongain offers comprehensive analysis of the global ... will generate revenues of $17.98 billion in 2016. ... Inc, a leader in software and hardware technologies for ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... 2016  VoiceIt is excited to announce its ... By working together, VoiceIt and VoicePass will ... VoicePass take slightly different approaches to voice biometrics, ... and usability. ... partnership. "This marketing and technology partnership ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has announced the ... biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" or ... of a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors for ... as WDR5 represent an exciting class of therapies, ... medicine for cancer patients. Substantial advances have been ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is ... treatments and faster cures for prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 ... countries. Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking ... Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. ... Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... LONDON , June 23, 2016 ... & Hematology Review, 2016;12(1):22-8 ... Review , the peer-reviewed journal from touchONCOLOGY, ... the escalating cost of cancer care is placing ... a result of expensive biologic therapies. With the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: