Planning for a changing ocean: implications of moving marine ecosystem services for ocean planning and policy

Dr Catarina Frazão-Santos1,2, Dr Tundi Agardy3, Dr Larry Crowder4, Dr Manuel Barange5, Dr Charles Ehler6,10, Dr Michael Orbach7, Dr Francisco Andrade1, Dr Helena Calado8, Dr Hans Otto-Pörtner9, Dr Rui Rosa1

1MARE-Marine and Environmental Sciences Center, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal, 2NOVA School of Business and Economics, NOVA University of Lisbon, Carcavelos, Portugal, 3Sound Seas, Bethesda, USA, 4Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University, Pacific Grove, USA, 5Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome, Italy, 6Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, UNESCO, Paris, France, 7Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Durham, USA, 8University of the Azores, Ponta Delgada, Portugal, 9Alfred Wegener Institute, Bremerhaven, Germany, 10Ocean Visions Consulting, Paris, France


As marine species and habitats move due to climate-induced changes in ocean conditions, so will the marine ecosystem services they provide. As a consequence, ocean uses that rely on those services will undergo spatial and temporal change, as well as decrease or increase in intensity, being affected from local to global scales with considerable regional variations. This changes will lead to new potential use-use conflicts, new conflicts between uses and the environment (i.e. cumulative environmental pressures), and new issues regarding legal rights and obligations (e.g. use permits, investments). Marine spatial planning (MSP) is a public process that deals with managing these conflicts, while making the necessary trade-offs to foster a sustainable use of the oceans. Because of its potential to promote sustainability in ocean management and governance, MSP has spread globally over the past three decades being a topic of increasing importance in the scientific and policy realms, currently under development in about 70 countries (45% of all coastal states). As MSP will be affected by the overarching and evolving challenge of global climate change, MSP must properly recognise and adapt to its effects. Although challenging, planning for a changing ocean will allow for better preparedness, improved response capacity and, ultimately, a reduced vulnerability of marine socio-ecological systems. However, to ensure this, awareness of moving marine ecosystems (and ecosystem services) needs to be properly incorporated into MSP standard practice. Here we will examine and discuss this very important topic, while addressing the challenges involved in it and proposing ways forward.


Catarina Frazão Santos is an Auxiliary Research Scientist at the University of Lisbon (MARE) and at NOVA School of Business and Economics, in Portugal. She received her MSc in Ecology and Environmental Sciences, and her PhD in Marine Sciences from the University of Lisbon. Her research addresses ocean planning, policy and management, with a special focus on achieving sustainable use of the oceans in face of a changing climate. She has published in Nature Geoscience, Marine Policy, and other international journals, and received early career awards to support her research from ICES, the Luso-American Development Foundation, and the Portuguese National Science Foundation. Since 2015, she has been supporting the European Commission’s Research Executive Agency on the evaluation of proposals submitted to H2020 Programme, playing roles of Evaluator and Rapporteur (2015-2017) and Vice-Chairperson (2017-2018). She is the leader of a recently funded, three-year R&D project addressing vulnerability and adaptation of ocean planning to global climate change. Her internationalisation network is currently widespread over several countries (USA, Italy, France, Germany) and growing.

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