A new project will accurately assess pressures imposed on Atlantic marine ecosystems, identifying the parts most at risk from natural hazards and the consequences of human activities. Photo: P. Mariani

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MARINE RESEARCH

New project to assess pressures on Atlantic marine ecosystems

“Mission Atlantic” launched to map and assess sustainable development of the Atlantic Ocean

Story highlights

  • Project is first to develop and systematically apply Integrated Ecosystem Assessments at Atlantic basin scale
  • MISSION ATLANTIC will accurately assess pressures imposed on Atlantic marine ecosystems
  • It is funded by a €11.5M grant from the European Union's Horizon 2020

ASSESSING RISKS, PRESSURES AND UNCERTAINTIES: International ocean experts from Europe, Brazil, South Africa, Canada and the USA have joined forces to map and assess the current and future risks from climate change, natural hazards and human activities to Atlantic ecosystems.

Funded by a €11.5M grant from the European Union's Horizon 2020 programme, Mission Atlantic will be the first initiative to develop and systematically apply Integrated Ecosystem Assessments (IEAs) at Atlantic basin scale.

This unique approach can balance the need for environmental protection with secure, sustainable development, thereby ensuring a positive future for the Atlantic Ocean and its peoples.

Mission Atlantic provides a unique opportunity to advance the IEA methodology in close dialogue with stakeholders and thus contribute towards more sustainable use of Atlantic marine resources.

Susa Niiranen, centre researcher and project leader for “risk assessment and uncertainties"

Estimating the probability of undesirable events and their consequences is crucial information for stakeholders and managers, who are facing the challenges of rapid environmental and societal change.

Identifying parts at risk

Using high-resolution ocean models, artificial neural networks, risk assessment methods and advanced statistical approaches, the project will accurately assess pressures imposed on Atlantic marine ecosystems, identifying the parts most at risk from natural hazards and the consequences of human activities.

The team will combine existing data from global ocean monitoring programmes with new observations collected using advanced marine robots and acoustic sensors. These tools will be used to explore plankton and fish distribution in unknown waters, including sub-Arctic and Tropical regions in the Atlantic Ocean.

Professional development

In addition to expanding scientific knowledge of the Atlantic Ocean, Mission Atlantic will focus on improving education and professional development opportunities in countries bordering the North, South and Tropical Atlantic Ocean.

Through co-creation of management recommendations, Mission Atlantic will contribute to the commitments outlined in the Belém Statement on Atlantic Ocean Research and Innovation Cooperation between the European Union, Brazil and South Africa, and as part of the UN Decade of Ocean Science (2021-2030). The Belém statement furthers the integrated approach to research and development across the whole Atlantic Ocean and its bordering countries. 

Related info

Susa Niiranen’s research focuses on change in marine ecosystems that is driven by multiple environmental and anthropogenic stressors

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Stockholm Resilience Centre is a collaboration between Stockholm University and the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

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