GULLS

Lead Research Organisation: National Oceanography Centre
Department Name: Science and Technology

Abstract

Many coastal communities rely on marine resources for livelihoods and food security. As populations increase, so does pressure on coastal resources already under stress from pollution, coastal development, and habitat degradation. Climate change and variability (including extreme events) will also impact coastal systems and the vulnerability of dependent communities, but may also bring opportunities. This project will contribute to improving community adaptation efforts by characterizing, assessing and predicting the future of coastal-marine food resources through the provision and sharing of knowledge across regional "hotspots", defined here as fast-warming marine areas and areas experiencing social tensions as a result of change. Hotspots are likely to include the priority areas for adaptation and also represent laboratories for observing change and developing adaptation options and management strategies. Comparing hotspot regions will extend existing collaborations and connect local adaptation research and outcomes to improve global learning. Focusing on adaptation options and strategies for enhancing coastal resilience at the local level will contribute to capacity building and local empowerment.

Current weaknesses in marine coastal management include limited integration of natural and social studies, poor translation of scientific understanding into adaptive management mechanisms, and few guidelines for policy development. A holistic system approach will be piloted within one hotspot region (western Indian Ocean) through an existing Alliance of experts and researchers, prior to application in other hotspot regions (India, Brazil, South Africa, Australia). Integration of natural, social and economic
studies will identify a range of options for management and policy reform. These alternatives will be delivered as briefing materials to managers and decision-makers in coastal communities and society at large. There are existing strong partnerships within and between the focal regions in this project, and strong scientific and political support for the development of effective science-based governance approaches. This project will deliver a comprehensive set of options to reduce coastal vulnerability and position vulnerable coastal communities for an improved future.

Planned Impact

This project has a number of impact, engagement and dissemination elements related to the overall project objectives and the general communication of outputs. Our general science communication objective is to ensure the outputs of the project translate into meaningful action at political/management and whole societal levels. In particular the project aims to communicate the impacts of human population growth and ocean change on coastal systems, and promote the uptake of adaptation options
identified in the project. The target audiences include the policy-makers and management agencies for both conservation and fisheries sectors and end users associated with livelihood supporting industries such as tourism; recreational, artisanal, subsistence & commercial fishing in these social and natural climate hotspots.

The specific impact, engagement and dissemination objectives are to:
1. Connect with and inform researchers and end users (including resource users, managers and policy-makers) at local, regional and international scales, about critical aspects of coastal vulnerability with regard to preserving coastal biodiversity and ecosystem services including fisheries productivity, while understanding and accommodating the needs of coastal communities. This is intended to be a two-way dialogue rather than a uni-directional transfer of "knowledge" from the "informed" (e.g. "experts" on the GULLS team) to the "un-informed" (target audiences);
2. For the regional case studies, inform and engage end users to understand and address the likely impacts and adaptation and mitigation options to reduce their vulnerability to external drivers, including environmental variability and climate change;
3. Provide information and guidance for the development of realistic adaptation, mitigation management and policy options to reduce coastal vulnerability with regard to food security and local livelihoods;
4. Compare the project findings with other related initiatives around the world (both with fellow Belmont Forum projects and others).

Within the GULLS Project, communications objectives will be achieved through regular project updates and electronic updates to connect our dispersed research team. Workshops will provide a focus for the first objective, with engagement materials to raise awareness of the threats that lead to heightened coastal vulnerability. Beyond the immediate team, project members also have experience with preparation of fact sheets and web-based materials for a range of stakeholders (Hobday, Pecl). Our key messages to be delivered in these various forms relative to the first objective are likely to be:
1. Fast warming regions will experience impacts before other regions, and so inhabitants of these regions must be on the front foot with regard to information access and discussion of possible responses;
2. The consequences of expected climate variability and change will exacerbate existing coastal threats;
3. There are likely to be both positive and negative impacts at the coasts, and so this project will identify opportunities for improvement, efficiencies, and adaptations that can improve the livelihoods for coastal populations.

A focus will also be on making information available in accessible formats which will help coastal communities to effectively engage with the issues and make informed decisions and take action in both their personal activities and by effectively engaging local governance structures and other community members in addressing the various challenges facing them.
 
Description Anthropogenic climate change is a global phenomenon. However, its impact on living marine resources and dependent communities is local and often unique. Information from global ocean models is immensely complex and includes a multitude of environmental characteristics. Long term trends of these variables are of limited value for planning local climate change adaptation unless the model output is translated into a form that meets local needs. This can only be achieved using a participatory approach that combines climate science with local data and knowledge to identify impacts on species critical to the livelihoods and wellbeing of the communities involved. This novel approach for climate modelling has been applied in GULLS.

The results of the project reinforced the critical importance of considering the cumulative impacts of individual stressors and drivers across the full socio-ecological system, both climate-related and others, when assessing vulnerability of marine-dependent communities. Such assessments and adaptation planning should not only consider the past and present but also be forward-looking and consider likely changes in the future. Participation by local experts and stakeholders is essential, enabling knowledge exchange while also contributing to local capacity-building, generating a sense of ownership, ensuring local knowledge is fully taken into account and that outputs are accepted by stakeholders as being legitimate.

At a time when the world is anticipating unprecedented increases in human population growth and demands, the ability of natural ecosystems to deliver ecosystem services is being challenged by the largest climate-driven global redistribution of species since the Last Glacial Maximum. We demonstrate the serious consequences of this species redistribution for economic development, livelihoods, food security, human health, and culture, and we document feedbacks on climate itself. As with other impacts of climate change, species range shifts will leave "winners" and "losers" in their wake, radically reshaping the pattern of human well-being between regions and different sectors and potentially leading to substantial conflict. The pervasive impacts of changes in species distribution transcend single systems or dimensions, with feedbacks and linkages between multiple interacting scales and through whole ecosystems, inclusive of humans. We argue that the negative effects of climate change cannot be adequately anticipated or prepared for unless species responses are explicitly included in decision-making and global strategic frameworks.
Exploitation Route Of direct relevance to climate change adaptation policy
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Environment

 
Description The project contributes to capacity development and empowering fishing communities and other fisheries-dependent stakeholders. A standardized vulnerability assessment framework has been developed that will be used to integrate results from natural, social and economic studies in order to identify needs and options for strengthening management and existing policies. Structured comparisons between the hot-spots will assist global efforts for adaptation and strengthening resilience in marine and coastal social-ecological systems. The project contributed to the venerability assessment of the coastal communities in Madagascar to the climate change impacts. The results will be used in the Climate Change Adaptation Plans in Madagascar.
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment
Impact Types Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description Citation in agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
Impact United Nations member states are negotiating a new International Legally Binding Instrument on the conservation and sustainable management of marine biodiversity in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ). These waters do not exist in isolation: marine ecosystems are interconnected by ocean currents and the movement of migratory species. What happens in ABNJ can therefore cause impacts in territorial waters. Many Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) depend heavily on marine resources, but the benefits from conservation and management measures in ABNJ will not be evenly distributed. By highlighting which regions of ABNJ are most connected to coastal LDCs and other developing coastal states via ocean currents, the project helped the parties ensure that area-based management regimes in ABNJ protect these countries' interests and rights. We have run a side event at the UNCLOS negotiations in March 2019, based on the project publication (Popova et al., 2019) and the policy briefs (as listed in research fish with the key word ABNJ) The approach brought concrete results: the latest draft of the negotiating text was updated to recognise that the treaty must protect the many millions of people who depend on the high seas.
URL https://www.un.org/bbnj/sites/www.un.org.bbnj/files/draft_text_a.conf_.232.2019.6_advanced_unedited_...
 
Description Informing climate change adaptation efforts in Madagascar and elsewhere in the Western Indian Ocean and other regions where similar marine-dependent communities are also affected by rapid warming of adjacent seas.
Geographic Reach Africa 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
URL http://gullsweb.noc.ac.uk/
 
Description Madagascar: Connectivity between Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction and the coastal zones (Country Profile)
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
Impact UN member states negotiating a legally binding instrument governing ABNJ must include provisions to ensure that all future management regimes are informed by their potential impacts on territorial waters - particularly in Least Developed Countries. Vigorous and seasonally reversing circulation of the WIO make East African coastal countries highly vulnerable to negative impacts of the fishing and extraction activities in the ABNJ The coastline of Madagascar is one of most ABNJ-connected coastlines in the world indicating enhanced socio-economic vulnerability to the activities in the ABNJ. The project provided a detailed policy brief describing vulnerability of the coastal zone of Madagascar to the activities in ABNJ and advocated explicit inclusion of the downstream connectivity to the treaty. The approach brought concrete results: the latest draft of the negotiating text was updated to recognise that the treaty must protect the many millions of people who depend on the high seas. The advice aims to ensure that: The criteria for establishing Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and other area-based management tools in ABNJ must include the potential socioeconomic benefits for vulnerable coastal communities, as well as the ecological or biological significance of the area in question. Governments must ensure that management systems in ABNJ are adaptive and dynamic, and share the technology, data capacity and investment needed to rapidly respond to shifts in species distribution or ocean circulation caused by climate change. Uncertainty around future climate change and impacts on connectivity necessitate a precautionary approach to ABNJ governance.
URL https://www.solstice-wio.org/outputs/policy-briefs
 
Description Sustainable Oceans, Livelihoods and food Security Through Increased Capacity in Ecosystem research in the Western Indian Ocean (SOLSTICE-WIO)
Amount £6,800,000 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/P021050/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2017 
End 12/2021
 
Description Marine Hotspots 
Organisation Coastal Oceans Research and Development in the Indian Ocean
Country Kenya 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution GLORIA consolidated scientific and traditional understanding of change to ecosystems and their services, through the development and sharing of techniques, knowledge and successful approaches between Madagascar and other marine hotspot regions.
Collaborator Contribution The Global Marine Hotspots Network provides a platform where information, lessons and outcomes can be shared from regions that are warming the fastest or regions where change is rapidly occurring. Temperature has a major influence on marine ecosystems, however the Network recognises that temperature is only one driver of change and encourages contributions from other researchers or any institutions where impacts are being studied or adaptation options being developed or implemented. The network promote and facilitate trans-disciplinary approaches that engage all stakeholders and researchers (across disciplines including physical, biological and humanities) to maximise the potential for research to translate into appropriate policy and sustainable and cost-effective on-ground adaptation.
Impact This is a multidisciplinary collaboration involving representatives of academia and marine resource relevant stakeholders in the following areas: oceanography, ecology, modelling, marine biology,management of marine resources, conservation, policy.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Marine Hotspots 
Organisation Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
Department CSIRO Energy
Country Australia 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution GLORIA consolidated scientific and traditional understanding of change to ecosystems and their services, through the development and sharing of techniques, knowledge and successful approaches between Madagascar and other marine hotspot regions.
Collaborator Contribution The Global Marine Hotspots Network provides a platform where information, lessons and outcomes can be shared from regions that are warming the fastest or regions where change is rapidly occurring. Temperature has a major influence on marine ecosystems, however the Network recognises that temperature is only one driver of change and encourages contributions from other researchers or any institutions where impacts are being studied or adaptation options being developed or implemented. The network promote and facilitate trans-disciplinary approaches that engage all stakeholders and researchers (across disciplines including physical, biological and humanities) to maximise the potential for research to translate into appropriate policy and sustainable and cost-effective on-ground adaptation.
Impact This is a multidisciplinary collaboration involving representatives of academia and marine resource relevant stakeholders in the following areas: oceanography, ecology, modelling, marine biology,management of marine resources, conservation, policy.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Marine Hotspots 
Organisation Rhodes University
Country South Africa 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution GLORIA consolidated scientific and traditional understanding of change to ecosystems and their services, through the development and sharing of techniques, knowledge and successful approaches between Madagascar and other marine hotspot regions.
Collaborator Contribution The Global Marine Hotspots Network provides a platform where information, lessons and outcomes can be shared from regions that are warming the fastest or regions where change is rapidly occurring. Temperature has a major influence on marine ecosystems, however the Network recognises that temperature is only one driver of change and encourages contributions from other researchers or any institutions where impacts are being studied or adaptation options being developed or implemented. The network promote and facilitate trans-disciplinary approaches that engage all stakeholders and researchers (across disciplines including physical, biological and humanities) to maximise the potential for research to translate into appropriate policy and sustainable and cost-effective on-ground adaptation.
Impact This is a multidisciplinary collaboration involving representatives of academia and marine resource relevant stakeholders in the following areas: oceanography, ecology, modelling, marine biology,management of marine resources, conservation, policy.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Marine Hotspots 
Organisation Universidade de São Paulo
Country Brazil 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution GLORIA consolidated scientific and traditional understanding of change to ecosystems and their services, through the development and sharing of techniques, knowledge and successful approaches between Madagascar and other marine hotspot regions.
Collaborator Contribution The Global Marine Hotspots Network provides a platform where information, lessons and outcomes can be shared from regions that are warming the fastest or regions where change is rapidly occurring. Temperature has a major influence on marine ecosystems, however the Network recognises that temperature is only one driver of change and encourages contributions from other researchers or any institutions where impacts are being studied or adaptation options being developed or implemented. The network promote and facilitate trans-disciplinary approaches that engage all stakeholders and researchers (across disciplines including physical, biological and humanities) to maximise the potential for research to translate into appropriate policy and sustainable and cost-effective on-ground adaptation.
Impact This is a multidisciplinary collaboration involving representatives of academia and marine resource relevant stakeholders in the following areas: oceanography, ecology, modelling, marine biology,management of marine resources, conservation, policy.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Marine Hotspots 
Organisation University of Tasmania
Country Australia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution GLORIA consolidated scientific and traditional understanding of change to ecosystems and their services, through the development and sharing of techniques, knowledge and successful approaches between Madagascar and other marine hotspot regions.
Collaborator Contribution The Global Marine Hotspots Network provides a platform where information, lessons and outcomes can be shared from regions that are warming the fastest or regions where change is rapidly occurring. Temperature has a major influence on marine ecosystems, however the Network recognises that temperature is only one driver of change and encourages contributions from other researchers or any institutions where impacts are being studied or adaptation options being developed or implemented. The network promote and facilitate trans-disciplinary approaches that engage all stakeholders and researchers (across disciplines including physical, biological and humanities) to maximise the potential for research to translate into appropriate policy and sustainable and cost-effective on-ground adaptation.
Impact This is a multidisciplinary collaboration involving representatives of academia and marine resource relevant stakeholders in the following areas: oceanography, ecology, modelling, marine biology,management of marine resources, conservation, policy.
Start Year 2016
 
Description GLORIA workshop held in Madagascar, 14-16 June 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Central to GLORIA research is a workshop held in Madagascar, 14-16 June 2016, where experts from the marine and climate sciences worked with Malagasy stakeholders to share information, explore adaptive solutions and develop recommendations for future action to minimize climate change impacts on marine-dependent, low-income communities.

Results from the workshop informed climate change adaptation efforts in Madagascar and elsewhere in the Western Indian Ocean and other regions where similar marine-dependent communities are also affected by rapid warming of adjacent seas.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://gullsweb.noc.ac.uk/