SOCIB contributes to advance seascape ecology for sustainable development

Researchers from the Balearic Islands Coastal Observing and Forecasting System (SOCIB) have contributed to an international effort to identify research priorities to advance applied seascape ecology during, and beyond, the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030).

According to researchers, in the past decade, important progress has been made in this interdisciplinary and spatially explicit ecological science with relevance to marine management, biodiversity conservation, and restoration, however, there has been no coherent research prioritisation. Now, researchers have identified seascape change, seascape connectivity, spatial and temporal scale, ecosystem-based management, and emerging technologies and metrics, as priorities for an emerging ocean sustainability science.

Published in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series, this featured article identifies research priority questions and themes and provides a synthesis of the research challenges and the potential role of seascape ecology for each priority identified. For example, for the seascape change priority, the authors have pointed out the challenge of bridging science and practice for a better understanding of change. In order to gather this information, the researchers have used a 2-stage modified Delphi method to solicit applied research questions from academic experts in seascape ecology and then asked respondents to identify priority questions. They have also invited senior management/conservation practitioners to prioritise the same research questions.

As stated by the researchers, this prioritisation will contribute to extending and evolving the seascape ecology paradigm into a more comprehensive solution-oriented science, emerging as a transformative science capable of helping society better protect, restore, and advance sustainable living. Furthermore, the development of a more holistic transdisciplinary and multiple-scale approach in seascape ecology is consistent with addressing the UN 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to life below water, food security, energy, sustainable living, and climate change.

Reference article

Pittman, S. J., Yates, K. L., Bouchet, P. J., Alvarez-Berastegui, D., Andréfouët, S., Bell, S. S., ... & Young, M. (2021). Seascape ecology: identifying research priorities for an emerging ocean sustainability science. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 663, 1-29.