This session will explore the themes emerging as both the marine scientific and management communities embrace assessments of ecosystem connectivity, biogeography, and function at broader geographical scales. Research and policy development at ocean basin scale has been driven by the realization that climatic change and human impacts are rapidly altering marine ecosystems at the same time as governments seek to promote increased economic output from the marine environment. This broad context sets a considerable challenge and opportunity for marine science, industry, management and policy to shape the frameworks through which Blue Growth can be achieved.
This session will bring together key advances relevant to ocean basin-scale research and management. Studies built upon new discoveries from poorly-understood ecosystems (e.g. coral, sponge, vent and chemosynthetic fauna) now highlight opportunities for science to create a new evidence base for management. For example, advances in oceanographic data availability, modelling resolution and understanding of larval biology and dispersal are fostering more partnerships between physicists and biologists to model connectivity. These connectivity analyses can now be ground-truthed by population genetic approaches built on datasets developed from next generation sequencing technologies (e.g. RADseq, RADTag, 2bRAD), opening the window to a new understanding of connectivity.
Alongside community ecology and taxonomic assessments, the improved understanding of connectivity sets the stage to better define biogeographic patterns at regional and full ocean basin scales. Better understanding connectivity and biogeography lays the foundation for a new generation of predictive models better tuned to reflect the presence of key species and make inferences about their future distributions under changing conditions. Such understanding is now making it possible for socio-economic assessments of ecosystem value to be conducted at larger and larger scales. This session invites contributions that explore the interface between ecology and economics, and how these approaches can scale to the management challenges at ocean basin scale.
Finally, the policy and management landscape is currently evolving rapidly, with policies needed in response to climate change and use of the ocean from established and emerging sectors. This session will also seek contributions that explore the industrial and policy landscape at ocean basin scale. For example, how may existing frameworks of offshore marine protected areas of national or European legislation interact with assessments made of vulnerable marine ecosystems and Ecologically or Biologically Significant Areas? How might the present United Nations deliberations on a new instrument to manage biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction evolve and shape offshore management in the future?
This session seeks to capture the drive to grow the scale of marine research and management activities to ocean basin scale. It is broad, but will focus on contributions that reflect upon the challenge and opportunity of basin-scale issues. It will benefit from transatlantic projects in these areas and will seek to enhance co-operation with research in other ocean basins.
Priority areas: advanced genetic methods, climate change: forecasting changes and impacts, connectivity, dispersal and movement of organisms, dynamic habitat modelling, emerging human pressures and their interactions, sensitivity and role of seabed ecosystems, and tools to support integrated advice