Towards the Sustainable Development of the Atlantic Ocean: Mapping and Assessing the present and future status of Atlantic marine ecosystems under the influence of climate change and exploitation
MISSION ATLANTIC develops and systematically applies Atlantic Integrated Ecosystem Assessments (IEAs). IEAs enable identification of ecosystem components most at risk from natural hazards and the consequences of human activities. The project employs all available information on those sources, the pressures they impose and the ecosystem components are affected, to identify the most important risk factors influencing sustainable development.IEAs are developed at basin and regional scales, using a nested approach with key case study (CS) areas including sub-Arctic and Tropical regions in the Atlantic Ocean. To support IEAs we map, model and assess Atlantic Ocean ecosystems including resilience and responses to cumulative pressures. Regional indicators are provided for both pelagic and benthic components, using existing and new data from monitoring programs, including information from new glider technology.Coupled end-to-end physical-biological models are developed and validated at the basin scale to simulate ecosystem dynamics, defining new biogeographical regions and resolving connectivity between CSs. Ecosystem state indicators are then evaluated under four future climate projections of the models, to identify future risks of crossing identified tipping points into undesirable ecosystem states. In support of the Bélem Statement, the project brings together scientists, managers and stakeholders from Brazil, S.Africa and the EU as well as US & Canada. Regional stakeholder platforms are established to support the IEAs and the interactions between researchers, industries, policy makers and authorities across the Atlantic. The platforms are delivered via partners with recognized experience in “science to governance” interfacing. Training and professional development opportunities across the Atlantic are provided via mobility, PhD and MsC programmes building around IEA theory and using an adaptive e-learning platform and examples to ensure program legacy.