Moving forward from analytical and theoretical EAF to an efficient and applied management of marine living resources based in the ecosystem knowledge is the main challenge of marine and fisheries ecologists in the 21st century. This needs an intensive effort of integrating knowledge from different ecosystems and approaches to link the ecosystem knowledge to the assessment procedures. The degree of success of such integrative procedures is inherently linked to capability to identify the more sensitive species and/or ecological processes to be managed within the ecosystem dynamics, and thus assessing their potential responses to exogenous forcing.
There are important challenges to deal with EAF in both the Mediterranean and Atlantic areas, and different ways of approaching the challenges in both regions. But since they are partially in European Seas we should have an integrated view on what the drivers and functions shaping ecosystems in both seas are, and what is common or specific from each region. This working group aims at generating comparative knowledge of processes and knowledge in both regions to inform EAF. It also aims to strengthen the scientific basis for regional and integrated ecosystem approach through a comparative platform of research.
A comparative approach of marine ecosystems is essential to learn how Mediterranean and Atlantic ecosystems are structured, how they function, and which are the more sensitive species or ecological processes to be managed within the ecosystem dynamics. This working group will investigate common processes and scientific challenges to contribute to the comparative knowledge of both systems within the context of regional European Seas.
Immediate objectives of the group will be to:
provide a comparative synthesis of current understanding, data and tools available to move towards an ecosystem-based approach in the study areas,
identify key sensitive ecological processes to climate variability and fishing impact,
analyse the role of climate and fishing drivers to explain the potential commonalities and differences in structural and functional ecosystem properties using results from both available indicators and models,
identify how knowledge gained in work from different seas can provide feedback among regional systems to improve the scientific support for an integrated assessment.