About this Research Topic
This is the second issue of the Research Topic: Managing Deep-sea and Open Ocean Ecosystems at Ocean Basin Scale
The original article collection can be found here: Managing Deep-sea Ecosystems at Ocean Basin Scale - Volume 1
Drawing upon work by the ATLAS (2016-20) and iAtlantic (2019-23) projects this second volume Research Topic explores recent findings and themes emerging as the marine research and management communities embrace assessments of ecosystem time series, connectivity, biogeography and function at ocean basin scale. Research and policy development at this scale has been driven by the realization that multiple interacting stressors created by climate change and anthropogenic impacts are rapidly altering marine ecosystems at the same time as governments seek to promote increased economic output from the marine environment. This broad context sets the considerable challenge and opportunity for marine science, industry, management and policy to shape the frameworks through which this sustainable economic ‘Blue Growth’ can be achieved.
Studies built upon new discoveries from poorly-understood deep ocean ecosystems (e.g. coral, sponge, vent & chemosynthetic fauna) are highlighting the opportunities for the scientific community to create a new evidence base for long-term management. For example, advances in deep-sea exploration technology, oceanographic data availability, modeling resolution and a better understanding of larval biology and dispersal are fostering more interdisciplinary partnerships between physicists and biologists to model ecosystem connectivity. These connectivity analyses can now be ground-truthed by population genetic approaches built on datasets developed from next-generation sequencing technologies (e.g. RADseq, RADTag, 2bRAD) fostering new understanding of marine ecosystem connectivity.
Alongside community ecology and rigorous taxonomic assessments, the improved understanding of ecosystem connectivity sets the stage for an enhancement in our ability to define biogeographic patterns at regional and full ocean basin scales. In turn, a more robust understanding of connectivity and biogeography can support a new generation of predictive models better tuned to reflect the present-day occurrence of key species and make inferences about their future distributions as ocean conditions and human uses change. Such understanding is now making it possible for socio-economic assessments of ecosystem value to be conducted at larger and larger scales.
This Research Topic brings together key advances and approaches relevant to ocean basin-scale research and management with emphasis in the Atlantic Ocean but spreading throughout all ocean basins. It emphasizes the importance of baseline mapping and discovery science using novel technologies, autonomous survey platforms and machine-learning approaches to data analysis. Papers that cross disciplinary boundaries to embrace both natural science, social and economic research approaches and consider the importance of human and technical capacity development are particularly welcomed.
The ocean policy and management landscapes are evolving rapidly at all scales from national, regional to international. Robust and adaptable policies are needed in response to emerging pressures of global climate change and human use of the open ocean and deep seabed from established sectors including fisheries and hydrocarbons to emerging sectors including blue biotechnology and deep-sea mining. This Research Topic will also seek contributions that explore the present and near-future industrial and policy landscape at ocean basin scale. For example, how may existing frameworks of offshore Marine Protected Areas designated through national or regional legislation interact with assessments made through the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organisation (i.e. Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems) and Convention on Biological Diversity (i.e. Ecologically or Biologically Significant Areas)? How might the present United Nations deliberations on a new legally-binding instrument to manage biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction evolve and shape offshore management in the future?
Keywords: Atlantic Ocean, Ecosystem Function, Biodiversity, Ecosystem Valuation, Human Impacts and Other Stressors, Marine Ecosystem Management, Maritime Spatial Planning
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.