Plymouth Marine Laboratory launches new study on how environmental and man made factors impact marine ecosystems

February 2nd, 2011 by Plymouth Marine Laboratory

Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) has launched the research project: Vectors of Change in Oceans and Seas Marine Life, Impact on Economic Sectors (VECTORS).

The project is coordinated by PML with funding of 12.5 million Euros from the European Commission Seventh Framework Programme

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VECTORS aims to improve our understanding of how environmental and man made factors are impacting marine ecosystems now and how they will do so in the future. The project will also examine how these changes will affect the range of goods and services provided by the oceans, the ensuing socio-economic impacts and some of the measures that could be developed to mitigate or adapt to these changes.

The multidisciplinary VECTORS project will particularly focus on the causes and consequences of invasive species, species that cause outbreaks, changes in fish distribution and productivity.

The project will focus on various areas, including concern for marine life, biodiversity, the study of regional seas and the interests of stakeholders.

VECTORS will also address specific issues relating to the various sectors involved, including public health, tourism, transport, fisheries and aquaculture and ocean and off-shore wind energy devices.

The project will include a mixture of natural scientists, environmental economists, policy and governance analysts and environmental law specialists.

Dr. Melanie Austen, Principal Investigator for the project and Head of Science at PML commented: “Marine life makes a substantial contribution to the economy and society of Europe. It is essential that we improve our understanding of how various factors are affecting our marine ecosystems and how we can adapt to and reduce these changes as necessary in the future.

This project will combine new and existing knowledge to predict changes in marine life, ecosystems and the marine based economies of European countries in the light of new technology, fishing strategies and policy needs.

VECTORS will provide solutions and tools for stakeholders and policymakers, to be used both throughout the project and into the future”.

There are 37 European partners, from 15 countries, including in the UK: the Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science (SAHFOS), Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), the University of Hull, the University of St. Andrews and the University of Bangor.

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