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The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Research project: Climate change and future marine ecosystem services and biodiversity (FUTUREMARES)

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Designing climate policy requires understanding to what extent contemporary climate change jeopardizes ecosystem functioning and services. FutureMARES proposes to develop evidence-based guidance at appropriate spatial and temporal scales for nature-based solutions across a broad range of European and other marine and transitional systems.

European Comission and Future mares logo

Marine and transitional ecosystems provide fundamental climate regulation, food provisioning and cultural services. FutureMARES provides socially and economically viable nature-based solutions (NBS) for climate change (CC) adaptation and mitigation to safeguard these ecosystems’ natural capital, biodiversity and services.

The program advances understanding of the links between species and community traits, ecological functions and ecosystem services as impacted by CC by analysing the best available data from monitoring programs and conducting targeted experiments and beyond state-of-the-art modelling. Ensemble physical-biogeochemical projections will identify CC hotspots and refugia. Shifts in the distribution and productivity of keystone, structural and endangered species and the consequences for biodiversity will be projected within different CC-NBS scenarios to reveal potential ecological benefits, feedbacks and trade-offs. Novel, social- ecological vulnerability assessments will rank the severity of CC impacts on various ecosystem services and dependent human communities. Complementary analyses at real-world demonstration sites will inform managers and policy-makers on the economic costs and tradeoffs of NBS. These physical, ecological, social and economic analyses will be integrated to develop three, climate-ready NBS: i) restoration of habitat-forming species acting as ‘climate rescuers’ buffering coastal habitats from negative CC effects, improving seawater quality, and sequestering carbon, ii) conservation actions explicitly considering the range of impacts of CC and other hazards on habitat suitability for biota to preserve the integrity of food webs (e.g. marine protected areas) and protect endangered species (e.g. charismatic megafauna), and iii) sustainable, ecosystem-based harvesting (capture and culture) of seafood. FutureMARES is co-developed with policy-makers and managers to ensure impactful and transformative cost-effective actions.

Related research groups

Marine Biology and Ecology

Funding dates: September 2020 - August 2023 

Funding provider: European Commission H2020

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