Development of Innovative tools for understanding marine biodiversity and assessing good environmental status.
The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) identifies marine biodiversity as a key descriptor for the assessment of the environmental status of marine waters. However, the relationships between pressures from human activities and climatic influences and their effects on marine biological diversity are still only partially understood. There are a number of aspects of these relationships which need to be better understood in order to fully achieve a good environmental status (GES) of marine waters, a target of the MSDF.
The project will contribute, in a harmonized way for the four regions identified in the MSFD, to: (1) improve our understanding of the impact of human activities and variations associated to climate on marine biodiversity, (2) test indicators (referred in the Commission Decision on GES) and develop new indicators for assessment at several ecological levels (species, habitat, ecosystems) and for the characterization and status classification of the marine waters, (3) develop, test and validate, on the basis of observations, innovative integrative modelling tools in order to further strengthen our understanding of ecosystem and biodiversity changes in space and time.
Furthermore the project will (1) enable the development of adaptive management (ecosystem-based management approach) strategies and management measures taking into account the role of industry and relevant stakeholders; (2) provide economic and social assessment of the consequences of management practices; (3) identify the barriers (socio-economic and legislative) that prevent progress towards GES; (4) provide a set of policy options for the relevant authorities to prioritize actions to reduce pressure from human activities and climatic influences.