This month saw the launch of the research project: vectors of
Change in Oceans and Seas marine Life, Impact on Economic Sectors (VECTORS).
The project is coordinated by Plymouth Marine Laboratory with funding of 12.5 million
Euros from the European Commission Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). There are
37 European partners, from 15 countries including from the UK: The University
of St Andrews, The University of Hull, University of Bangor, CEFAS and SAHFOS.
VECTORS aims to improve our understanding of how
environmental and man-made factors are impacting marine ecosystems now and how
they will do so in the future. The project will also examine how these changes
will affect the range of goods and services provided by the oceans, the ensuing
socio-economic impacts and some of the measures that could be developed to
mitigate or adapt to these changes.
Within the Vectors project, Professor David Paterson & Dr Emma Defew from the Sediment Ecology Research Group, based at the Scottish Oceans Institute, will lead Work Package 1, which aims to identify, prioritise and quantify the direct and indirect pressures for change in European/Regional Seas. They will also be involved in Work Package 3.1; working on systematic reviews that focus on the impacts of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning; applying Biological Traits Analysis to existing data sets and case studies; and performing simple field experiments involving the invasive Chinese Mitten Crab to test the impact of outbreaks/invasions/changes in distribution on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.
The VECTORS project will particularly focus on the causes
and consequences of invasive species, outbreak forming species and changes in
fish distribution and productivity. Various areas of interest will be
addressed, including concern for marine life, biodiversity, sectoral interests,
regional seas and the interests of stakeholders. The project is very
multidisciplinary, including a mixture of natural scientists, environmental
economists, policy and governance analysts and environmental law specialists.
Dr Melanie Austen, Principal Investigator for the
project and Head of Science at PML commented: “Marine life makes a substantial
contribution to the economy and society of Europe. It is essential that we
improve our understanding of how various factors are affecting our marine
ecosystems and how we can adapt to and reduce these changes as necessary in the
future. This project will combine new and existing knowledge to predict changes
in marine life, ecosystems and the marine based economies of European countries
in the light of new technology, fishing strategies and policy needs. VECTORS
will provide solutions and tools for relevant stakeholders and policymakers, to
be used both throughout the project and into the future”.
The Kick-off meeting for this project will be held 1-4 March
2011 in Faro, Portugal. For further information and to keep in touch with
developments, visit our website at http://www.marine-vectors.eu/
see here for further details
contact: Prof David Paterson