Impact Factor 2.416 | CiteScore 3
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Marine Ecosystem Ecology addresses our field’s main challenges:
(i) Understanding of interaction among diversity and ecosystem processes, structure and function
(ii) Measuring ecosystem shifts, biodiversity and habitat loss
(iii) Restoring degraded systems
(iv) Moving from descriptive studies to those providing functional assessments, improving the understanding of marine ecosystems, supporting management and sustainability strategies for human activities in the ocean, including the assessment of ocean health
(v) Understanding the cause-effect pathways and the response of ecosystems to increasing cumulative human impacts and climate change, as drivers of shifts in most marine ecosystems
(vi) Supporting marine conservation actions and their efficiency under global change and shifting policies.
Additional secondary challenges include:
(i) Linking ocean health with human health
(ii) Understanding the impacts of alien and neonative species on ecosystems
(iii) Assessing urban development and subsequent loss of natural coastlines and ecosystem services
(iv) Understanding the impacts of human activities as well as climate change in the deep ocean
(v) Considering the land-ocean continuum, with major terrestrial and riverine inputs to the ocean
(vi) Reassessing and evaluating ecosystem processes under the marine ‘holobiont’ paradigm
(vii) Assessing cumulative effects to guide ecosystem-based management
(viii) Investigating emerging pollutants (e.g., plastics and additives, pharmaceuticals), artificial light at night, noise and toxin effects on coastal and marine species, habitats and ecosystems.
As governance and social priorities, we identified some major challenges:
(i) Using ecological knowledge, as well as traditional knowledge, to meet UN Sustainable Development Goals
(ii) Incorporating new methods into decision support tools for policy frameworks
(iii) Implementing climate-ready Marine Spatial Planning, including the role of MPAs in conserving the oceans
(iv) Developing transnational observation strategies, in the long-term
(v) Engaging society more effectively in ocean science, from ocean literacy, to citizen science and participation in supporting management decision making
(vi) Investigating the role of fake news and how we can use science and science communication to offset this.
Finally, some methodological priorities are:
(i) Further developing and refining molecular tools for marine applications as decision support tools
(ii) Addressing problems multidimensionally
(iii) Achieving ‘Consilience’, promoting interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary studies
(iv) Acknowledging cultural differences in conducting marine science, that can be used in big data and machine learning
(v) Modelling the future states of marine ecosystems and their services in the face of scenario and process uncertainty
(vi) Developing thresholds/targets to assess current and future ecosystems health, especially under climate change.
We welcome investigations at all levels of biodiversity including those that involve long-term monitoring to understand marine ecosystem functioning, in any of the challenges listed in this scope.
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