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Launch of Vectors Project

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

see here for further details
contact: Prof David Paterson

item 327
[07-02-2011 to 28-02-2011]

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