Nordic Seas   Nordic Seas  

Both climate change and human activities can have a variety of major implications for marine ecosystems and subsequently for individual species.

The North Atlantic region is rich in natural resources and contains a number of diverse habitats.
Marine resources are utilized a.o. by the sectors of fisheries & aquaculture, tourism, maritime transport, renewable energy and oil and gas exploitation. Increasing human activities (offshore and onshore) and climate change impacts put considerable pressures on the marine environment in the North Atlantic and the surrounding shelves.
The Mediterranean Sea is characterised as a miniature ocean (Lejeusne et al., 2010) and although generally considered as oligotrophic, it is highly heterogeneous in terms of hydrography, bathymetry and productivity. Moreover, it is a climate transition area and potentially very sensitive to changes in atmospheric forcing (Alcamo et al., 2007).

The combined effects of climate induced habitat changes and changes in ecosystem dynamics would alter fish migration pattern or larval drift routes (Drinkwater et al., 2009, Daewel et al., 2011) and hence, impact the risk to be exposed to direct anthropogenic stressors like fisheries, oil spills or other pollutants. Climatic changes would moreover also alter eutrophication risks and impact on productivity and structuring of the marine ecosystem. All these factors influence the potential habitat of a species and could impact survival and growth rates (e.g. Friedland and Todd, 2012). Recent studies (Rijnsdorp et al., 2009; Petitgas et al., 2012) have shown that climate change has major impacts on species distribution and hence, the fish population of an ecosystem including the potential risk for non-indigenous species to enter an ecosystem. A better understanding on the relationship between these two variables – climate change and invasive species – is crucial because they are among the most critical pressures to biodiversity.

All these potential impacts of climate change and increased human activities on marine ecosystems show the need of a better understanding of the functioning of these ecosystems and their spatial-temporal variations to address currently existing challenges in 3-d ecosystem models.