Partners of MARISCO project

MARISCO involves a highly interdisciplinary team by joining expertise from three universities on three different continents representing three continental shelves (North-American, European, and African). The project engages stakeholders by informing each work package (WP) through a continuous integration process.

Lead partner, the Helmholtz Institute for Functional Marine Biodiversity at the U. Oldenburg contributes expertise in biodiversity analyses (Helmut Hillebrand) and global marine governance (Kimberley Peters). U. California Santa Barbara contributes expertise in human impacts on marine ecosystems, Marine Spatial Planning, and co-develops assessments and measures of ocean health (Ben Halpern). The Nelson Mandela University adds expertise in spatial planning (Amanda Lombard) and natural science knowledge on shallow ecosystem dynamics (Janine Adams). It further contributes with socio-cultural and economic perspectives (Bernadette Snow and Rose Boswell). Jointly MARISCO has access to regional and global data allowing the spatiotemporal analysis of multiple aspects of biodiversity and NCP data at high resolution, predicting location-specific vulnerability across groups of species and aspects of NCP.

Helmholtz Institute for Functional Marine Biodiversity at the University of Oldenburg (HIFMB)

Understanding the diversity of life and the complex interactions with the environment remains one of the great challenges to science and society alike. In our struggle to mitigate the consequences of global change, the need to close the knowledge gaps in the global causes and consequences of biodiversity variation has been recognized at high political level such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) or in national biodiversity strategies.

However, for marine ecosystems we still lack a general understanding of the response of biodiversity to climate change and anthropogenic impacts on the environment, of the consequences of this response for marine ecosystem functions and services, and of the conservation and management strategies alleviating these consequences. To meet these challenges at a level of international excellence and thereby transform marine biodiversity research in Germany, the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) and Oldenburg University (UOL) established in May 2017 the Helmholtz Institute for Functional Marine Biodiversity at the University of Oldenburg (HIFMB).

The National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at the University of California, Santa Barbara

The National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) was founded 25 years ago as the first synthesis center in the world. We convene teams of experts from around the world and host resident scientists with the aim to accelerate discoveries that enhance our understanding of the world and benefit people and nature.

Main contributions: model future changes in the cumulative impact of human activities on the oceans, accounting for climate change, increasing human population and commerce, changing land use and runoff, increasing ocean uses, and more.

Work Packages: We will lead WP2 (scenario planning) and engage with and inform many of the others.

Key tasks: 

  • Identify and access existing forecast models (e.g., climate, human population distribution)
  • Scope other potential components to forecast (e.g., fisheries, commercial shipping, land-based pollution)
  • Establish data management  and analysis framework

Institute for Coastal and Marine Research (CMR) at the Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

The CMR has a long history of ocean and coastal marine research and engagement at the Nelson Mandela University. It comprises a multi-disciplinary collection of staff and postgraduate students across all seven faculties within the University, additionally including research associates, collaborators from external research entities, and local and international collaborators.

Members form several research groups and units that span a variety of coastal and marine taxa, consider ecological/physical processes, and tackle management issues. Among our members are four South African Research Chair Initiative (SARChI) holders in Shallow Water Ecosystems, Law of the Sea and Development in Africa, Marine Spatial Planning, Identities and Social Cohesion in Africa, and the UK-SA Bilateral Research Chair in Ocean Science and Marine Food Security.

The core activities of the members are fundamental and applied research, research-based training of postgraduate students in masters and doctoral programmes, and consulting. Most of the work undertaken follows one (or more) of three of the Institute's research themes: Global Change; Living Resources and Food Security; and Biodiversity, Conservation and Management. Many of these activities are supported by the Research Diving Unit, that facilitates underwater research and provides training for commercial divers.