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MSEAS 2024 Nathalie Niquil: Cumulative and interactive effects of human uses and climate change: a point of view based on networks

Managing for sustainable use of the Earth's marine and coastal systems.

The Marine Socio-Ecological Systems Symposium takes place this week, 3–7 June in Yokohama, Japan.
Published: 5 June 2024

​​​​​​​​​​As an introduction to Session 10 Vulnerability of marine SES to climate change and anthropogenic pressures: Adaptation as a pathway to resilience, on day 2 of MSEAS 2024,  Nathalie Niquil gave a presentation entitled, Cumulative and interactive effects of human uses and climate change: a point of view based on networks. 

Niquil, a researcher in numerical ecology at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Caen, Normandy, France,  is also involved in methodological development of modelling approaches, and works with scientists on social ecological systems modelling.

Marine ecosystems form complex networks. Consequently, predicting their evolution under the constraints of future changes is a challenge. These changes are both global and local, cumulating and interacting, influencing the resilience of ecosystems and related social-ecological systems. In particular, the development of offshore renewable energy is an urgent necessity to limit the production of greenhouse gases, but their construction brings with it changes to the ecosystem and the emergence of new social-ecological systems.   

Using mathematical modelling to synthesize the results of sea observation and complementary experiments, we can project the state of food webs in a forward-looking exercise. The cumulative effects of local and global pressures appear to be highly complex. Based on the case study of the Baie de Seine in the English Channel, Nathalie Niquil presented recent work carried out on the cumulative impact on the functioning of food webs between those linked to the artificial reef effect due to wind turbine masts and those linked to the displacement of species due to climate changes concerning temperature and salinity. These results are analyzed on the basis of ecological network analysis indices, which are also proposed as potential indicators of ecosystem health. Another view is that of an analysis of the consequences of this accumulation of impacts on ecosystem services. But to take the integration of social and ecological systems a step further, the analysis is applied to the construction of a network representing the social-ecological system. 

The growing number of offshore wind farm projects raises the question of the impact of these infrastructures on the social-ecological system in which they are to be built. Qualitative modeling and loop analysis can provide some answers. The work presented uses participatory modeling to co-construct a qualitative model of the social-ecological systems in order to assess the potential impacts of a floating offshore wind farm pilot site in southern Brittany on the French Atlantic coast. 

By potentially altering seascapes, user practices, and, more generally, the relationship between coastal societies and their environment, offshore wind power can be seen as both a threat and an opportunity for local maritime economy, notably tourism and yachting. One of the main questions raised is how coastal tourism and perceptions may evolve in the context of offshore wind energy, considering for example the emergence of offshore wind tourism. Loop analysis is used to study the characteristics of the social-ecological system created by the installation of a wind farm, assessing their effects through direct and indirect channels. Recreational boating emerged as one of the components of the social-ecological system likely to suffer from the construction of the OWF, while industrial tourism was likely to benefit. The presentation will analyze the strengths of the methodology used to obtain these results, in a marine planning framework or in a citizen science process. 

The research work behind this presentation was strongly influenced by Nathalie Niquil's participation in the first MSEAS Symposium in Brest, France in 2016. She is again looking forward to this new MSEAS symposium. The fact that this symposium is taking place in Japan, a country with a particular historical culture of relationship with the sea, will certainly, says Niquil, have a great influence on her future work.

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MSEAS 2024 runs from 3–7 June in Yokohama, Japan. ​For more information, visit the MSEAS Sympo​sium page or follow MS​EAS​.​


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​Nathalie Niquil used network analysis to understand how local and global pressures cumulate in coastal food webs and social-ecological systems. Image: © Quentin Nogues.

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Nathalie Niquil opened Session 10: Vulnerability of marine SES to climate change and anthropogenic pressures: Adaptation as a pathway to resilience with a talk​ on network analysis.​
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MSEAS 2024 Nathalie Niquil: Cumulative and interactive effects of human uses and climate change: a point of view based on networks

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