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Project

MedSeA : Mediterranean Sea acidification in a changing climate

Description:

Increases of atmospheric CO2 and associated decreases in seawater pH and carbonate ion concentration this century and beyond are likely to have wide impacts on marine ecosystems including those of the Mediterranean Sea. As a consequence of this process, ocean acidification could threaten the health of the Mediterranean, adding to other anthropogenic pressures, including those from climate change. Yet in comparison to other areas of the world ocean, there has been no concerted effort to study Mediterranean acidification, which is fundamental to the social and economic conditions of more than 400 million people living along its coastlines and another 175 million who visit the region each year. The MedSeA project addresses ecological and economic impacts from the combined influences of anthropogenic acidification and warming, while accounting for the unique characteristics of this key region. MedSeA will forecast chemical, climatic, ecological-biological, and socio-economical changes of the Mediterranean driven by increases in CO2 and other greenhouse gases, while focusing on the combined impacts of acidification and warming on marine shell and skeletal building, productivity, and food webs. We will use an interdisciplinary approach involving biologists, earth scientists, and economists, through observations, experiments, and modelling. These experts will provide science-based projections of Mediterranean acidification under the influence of climate change as well as associated economic impacts. Projections will be based on new observations of chemical conditions as well as new observational and experimental data on the responses of key organisms and ecosystems to acidification, which will be fed into existing ocean models that have been improved to account for the Mediterranean ́s fine-scale features. These scientific advances will allow us to provide the best advice to policy makers who must develop regional strategies for adaptation and mitigation. MedSeA project objectives are: 1. Identify where the impacts of acidification on Mediterranean waters will be more significant, taking into account the sequence of causes and effects, from ocean chemistry through marine biology to socio-economic costs. 2. Generate new observational and experimental data on Mediterranean organism and ecosystem responses to acidification and fed into existing fine-scale models of the Mediterranean Sea that are modified to better represent key processes, and then used to project future changes. The MedSeA focuses on a selected set of key ecosystem and socio-economic variables that are likely to be affected by both acidification and warming, studying the combination of both effects through ship-based observations, laboratory and mesocosm experiments, physical-biogeochemical-ecosystem modelling, and economical analyses. 3. Provide best estimates and related uncertainties of future changes in Mediterranean Sea pH, CaCO3 saturation states, and other biogeochemical-ecosystem variables, assessing the changes in habitat suitability of relevant ecological and economically-important species.

Project information

Lead
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ES)
Partners

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ES), Université de Perpignan (FR), Bar Ilan University (IL), Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (GR), Centro Euro-Mediterraneo per i Cambiamenti Climatici (IT), Laboratoire d’Océanographie Villefranche (FR), Plymouth Marine Laboratory (UK), Instituto Mediterráneo de Estudios Avanzados (ES), University of Plymouth (UK), Alfred Wegener Institute, Bremerhaven (DE), Consorzio Nazionale Interuniversitario per le Scienze del Mare (IT), Institut National de Recherche Halieutique (MA),National Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries (ET), University of Sfax (TN), Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale (IT), Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l`Environnement (FR)

Source of funding
FP 7

Reference information

Websites:

Keywords

Mediterranean, acidification, economic effects, marine ecosystems, scenarios

Duration

02/2011-01/2014

Climate impacts

Extreme Temperatures

Elements

Observations and Scenarios, Vulnerability Assessment, Adaptation Measures and Actions

Sectors

Biodiversity, Coastal areas, Marine and Fisheries

Geographic characterization

Europe

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