MARISCO (Marine Research and Innovation for a Sustainable management of Coasts and Oceans)

Understanding consequences of human actions for coastal and ocean sustainability has become a cornerstone of environmental research and policymaking. Traditionally, this is achieved in the context of analyzing the direct and indirect impacts of anthropogenic drivers on the sustainable use of marine resources. Direct impacts are associated with changes in mean and variance of abiotic conditions (e.g., warming, acidification), whereas indirect impacts are mediated through the consequent changes in marine biodiversity. However, biodiversity change is a multidimensional process and rarely characterized by simple changes in emergent community properties such as species richness. Ecosystems have complex patterns of immigration and extinction dynamics, temporal turnover of composition, changes in the identity/proportion of dominant species, spatial homogenization and functional biodiversity changes, all of which resulting in novel interaction networks and processes. Successful strategies for marine ecosystem management and biodiversity conservation must therefore incorporate this complexity. This is all the more important because different aspects of biodiversity change can impact society and Nature's Contributions to People (NCP). As for biodversity, NCPs comprise a multitude of system properties, e.g., the size of a standing stock (biomass, harvest), the process rates affecting this stock (e.g., CO2 sequestration), the temporal stability and resilience of stocks and rates, or their predictability or invulnerability to change. Working with three partners from three continents, MARISCO will globally address the multilayered interactions between biodiversity change and NCP. MARISCO combines interdisciplinary approaches to data synthesis in globally distributed, well-monitored regions, with modelling of positive and negative feedback mechanisms between different aspects of biodiversity and NCP. 

The MARISCO project is funded by the Belmont Forum and runs from 2020 for three years.